Like most mental health conditions, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is complex in nature and, therefore, does not have one specific cure. Despite the multitude of events, triggers, and symptoms associated with PTSD, there are some ways counseling can be an effective treatment method. Everyone processes trauma differently, but there are some common ways counseling can help those with PTSD cope with their trauma and go on to live full, healthy lives. Here are three widely-used methods:
After a traumatic experience, the brain may make negative thought associations that affect the way a person is able to view the situation and exacerbate symptoms of PTSD. Often times, these associations are inaccurate and disjointed, leading to a skewed memory of the traumatic event. Identifying and unraveling these negative thought patterns with a counselor is a form of cognitive behavioral therapy, which can help individuals view their situation more clearly, i.e. cognitive restructuring, and respond to it more effectively.
As part of self-preservation, a person with PTSD may avoid situations that remind them of their trauma or scenarios that they feel could cause that trauma to happen again. Although this type of behavior is a natural response to PTSD, depending on how extreme the avoidance is, it can be quite an unhealthy coping mechanism. Exposure therapy can help a person overcome their PTSD by confronting trauma triggers in a safe, controlled environment with the support of a counselor. This gradual form of treatment can help desensitize a person to their trauma triggers over time.
Managing Specific Symptoms
Each person has their own individual way of processing traumatic stress, but there are a number of common symptoms among those dealing with PTSD. A benefit of counseling is the ability to receive a personalized treatment plan that can address those symptoms and help individuals develop new cognitive behaviors and strategies that help them cope in healthier ways that reduce the effects of their trauma.
Though trauma can have a profound impact on a person, supportive services and guidance from licensed therapists can help them along their healing process and ultimately improve their quality of life.
For more information about supportive counseling services at Hoyleton Youth and Family Services, call (618) 688 – 4727.