Are you finding yourself reliving past experiences? Or feeling flooded daily with powerful emotions where you don’t know the source?
You may be experiencing symptoms of post traumatic stress. PTSD can happen to anyone and can pop up even years after a distressing event or experience. Some common symptoms include but are not limited to:
Thoughts and images associated with the event/experience that come in flashes and are intrusive and distressing.
Recurrent distressing dreams in which the focus or affect (feeling) is related to the events.
Avoidance of people/places/things that remind you of the experience/event.
physiological reactions to reminders of the traumatic events
Aggressive behaviors or episodes of rage or lashing out.
Feelings of hopelessness, numbness, detachment from reality or periods
Feeling jumpy or overly responsive to environmental stimuli (people, places, things) (sounds, images, smells)
Persistent and exaggerated negative beliefs or expectations about oneself, others, or the world (e.g., “I am bad)
persistent fear, horror, anger, guilt, or shame
These are just a few of the many symptoms that an individual can experience after encountering a traumatic event.
What can I do?
Luckily there are many options for treatment of PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder). Here at Bloom we specialize in EMDR (Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) and CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) for both children and adults.
EMDR or Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing
Emdr is a psychotherapy treatment that allows people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that are the result of disturbing life experiences (Shapiro, 1989a & 1989 b).
Repeated studies show that by using EMDR therapy, individuals can experience the benefits of psychotherapy that once took years to make an impact. It is widely assumed that severe emotional pain requires a long time to heal. EMDR therapy shows that the mind can in fact heal from psychological trauma much as the body recovers from physical trauma. When you cut your hand, your body works to close the wound. If a foreign object or repeated injury irritates the wound, it festers and causes pain. Once the block is removed, healing resumes. EMDR therapy demonstrates that a similar sequence of events occurs with mental processes. The brain’s information processing system naturally moves toward mental health. If the system is blocked or imbalanced by the impact of a disturbing event, the emotional wound festers and can cause intense suffering. Once the block is removed, healing resumes. Using the detailed protocols and procedures learned in EMDR therapy training sessions, clinicians help clients activate their natural healing processes (EMDR institute 2019).
During EMDR therapy the client attends to emotionally activating material in brief sequential doses while also focusing on an external stimulus. Therapist directed lateral eye movements are the most commonly used external stimulus but a variety of other stimuli including hand-tapping, buzzers and audio stimulation are often incorporated (Shapiro, 1991).
After successful treatment with EMDR therapy, distress is relieved, negative beliefs (or images/feelings surrounded traumatic event) are reformulated, and physiological arousal/negative symptoms are reduced.
For more information on EMDR and to see if you may be a good candidate for treatment, please contact 913-547-5487 or visit https://www.emdr.com/what-is-emdr/.
CBT or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy focuses on the relationship among thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, and notes how changes in any one area can improve functioning in the other areas. For example, altering a person’s unhelpful thinking can lead to healthier behaviors and improved emotion regulation and view of self and others. CBT targets current problems and symptoms and is typically delivered over 12-16 sessions in either individual or group format.
Using CBT to treat PTSD
Clinicians use a variety of techniques to assist patients in reducing symptoms and improving daily life. Therapists employing CBT may encourage patients to re-evaluate their thinking patterns and assumptions in order to identify unhelpful patterns (often termed “distortions”) in thoughts, such as overgeneralizing bad outcomes, negative thinking that diminishes positive thinking, and always expecting catastrophic outcomes, to more balanced and effective thinking patterns. These are intended to help the person enhance understanding of traumatic experiences, as well as their understanding of themselves and their ability to cope.
Exposure to the trauma narrative, as well as reminders of the trauma or emotions associated with the trauma, are often used to help the patient reduce avoidance and painful associations with the trauma. This exposure is done in a controlled way, and planned by the provider and patient so the patient chooses what they do. The goal is to return a sense of control and self confidence to the individual, and reduce escape and avoidance behaviors.
Managing stress, learning coping skills and planning for potential crises can also be important pieces of CBT treatment.
(information attained from https://www.apa.org/ptsd-guideline/treatments/cognitive-behavioral-therapy)
For more information on CBT and whether it might be a good fit for you or someone you love, please contact us at