Confronting Trauma to Overcome PTSD

Post-Traumatic Stress disorder is a wound that is not seen by the naked eye. An affliction that many  people suffer from, some who know what ails them and some who do not. Post traumatic stress disorder is a disorder that is developed after being a part of or witnessing very stressful, traumatic, or damaging events. For some, it takes just one event, while for others it can be an accumulation of stressful events over the course of their life.

Everyone experiences these types of events at some point or another but for some people the anxiety or stress following a traumatic incident doesn’t subside. They can begin to feel symptoms that overwhelm them or begin to affect their day to day functioning.

Researchers are beginning to look at prolonged exposure therapy, which is a treatment based on protocol. Protocol therapies involve the provider and the client working together in a scripted and structured process to help the patient overcome the trauma they’ve faced.

The goal of this therapy is to expose the patient to thoughts, memories, or images that trigger the stress from their trauma while being under the guidance of the professional to help them work through those feelings. Doing so over the course of 8 to 12 sessions is supposed to help the person deal with the unpleasant feelings that come up so that they are no longer disabling.

Eventually, after having several sessions of exposure in the presence of the provider, the provider might give the patient a “homework” assignment where they get a little exposure without the provider to test the waters. Gradually, these assignments will increase until patient finds that they are able to handle their trauma and stress without losing control or feeling overwhelmed or experiencing other PTSD symptoms.

The idea is to build up tolerance to the sensations, memories, and experiences that were so traumatizing to them initially.

If you have PTSD, we’d love to hear your thoughts on this technique.

N.D. “PTSD Treatment Confronts the Trauma Behind the Disorder”. Military Health. (website). 2017
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