Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Do you ever find yourself reacting to events in your life in a way that, in retrospect, seems more intense than was warranted? Do you find yourself unable to gather thoughts or speak a response, seemingly frozen? Do you go out of your way to avoid particular people, places, or circumstances? These may be the result of psychological trauma.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is diagnosed when an individual experiences or witnesses one or more traumatic events and continues to experience intense, disturbing thoughts and feelings after the event has ended. Examples of single event traumas include sexual or physical assault, a motor vehicle accident, or a natural disaster. Multiple event traumas occur for example, in homes where children are neglected or emotionally abused. Diagnosis is based on symptoms that last for six months or longer and cause disruption in daily functioning. Some characteristic symptoms include:
- Persistent re-experiencing of the traumatic event such as distressing dreams, physiological reactivity, psychological distress, distressing recollections, etc.
- Persistent avoidance of stimuli associated with the trauma
- Numbing of general responsiveness
- Persistent symptoms of increased arousal such as difficulty sleeping, irritability, difficulty concentrating, hypervigilance, exaggerated startle response, etc.
Different forms of PTSD and trauma therapy have been established as successful treatments with long term, sustained effects. The emphasis for PTSD therapy is on skills development and trauma reprocessing methods. Skills development treatments are tailored to each client’s needs and requires phases of conceptualization of the trauma, training of coping skills, and modeling of responses. PTSD and trauma therapy include reprocessing methods which focus on particular meanings of the event and the interpretations and beliefs held by the client. One example of of a PTSD therapy offered at Sojourn is EMDR.
EMDR Therapy for Trauma and PTSD
Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is a multi-phase PTSD and trauma therapy that utilizes lateral eye movements or tactile stimuli to facilitate cognitive reprocessing of trauma. It combines components of exposure, skills development, and cognitive therapy.