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Counselling for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Counselling for PTSD
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, commonly known as PTSD, is a psychological disorder associated with a serious traumatic event e.g. car crash, personal assaults such as rape or abuse, life threatening experiences. PTSD occurs when the mind is unable to process the thoughts, images and feelings relating to a traumatic event in a normal way so that thoughts and feelings associated with it continue to intrude into a person’s awareness long after the traumatic event is over, thereby affecting your mental health.
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Who Can Counselling for PTSD Help?
Are you re-experiencing the trauma in your dreams? Are you having recurrent images and thoughts about the trauma (e.g. flashbacks)? Do you have a general sense of numbness and a feeling of lack of involvement with the real world? Do you feel guilty about having survived (especially if others have not)? Is your sleep disturbed? Are you startled easily? Do you avoid reminders of the traumatic event? Are you experiencing anxiety and/or depression since the trauma?
If you have answered ‘yes’ to one of more of these questions you may benefit from our counselling services for PTSD.
Children may also exhibit physical symptoms including stomach aches and headaches.
Symptoms usually occur within the first month of the traumatic event but in 15% of cases symptoms appear for months or even years later.
A Recent Testimonial
Rebecca - East Dulwich“I cannot comment positively enough on the psychologist I saw at The British CBT & Counselling Service. She provided a structured yet flexible framework for discussing my issues, was insightful and at times necessarily firm and challenging which was exactly the sort of counsellor I had hoped to be paired with.”
What Does Therapy for PTSD Involve?
You will begin your treatment by meeting with one of our Therapists for an initial assessment where they will ask you about the type of trauma that you have suffered. The amount of detail that you go into at this point is completely up to you and you will not be asked to share information that you do not feel comfortable sharing. Your Therapist will also ask you about the impact that the trauma has had on you emotionally, your relationships and your commitments and responsibilities as well as some more general questions about your life, health, background and what you would like to achieve through your counselling.
Next your Therapist will give you a brief outline of the treatment programme that they believe will best meet your specific requirements so that you know what to expect and feel comfortable with what is to come. Effective Treatments could include a course of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) or Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR).
You will then learn about how our minds deal with traumatic events and why sometimes memories are stored in a way that means they continue to intrude without warning into our day to day experiences. This understanding will put you in the strongest position from which to treat your Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Your Therapist will then help you to identify the thoughts and behaviours that are exacerbating the anxiety and/or depression that surrounds the trauma you suffered and work with you to create and replace these with alternatives that allow you to heal and move forward.
Next you will experience a process called reliving where you will, with the support of your Therapist re-store your memories of the traumatic event in a way that allow you to have the same amount of control over them as you do other less distressing memories. This is a challenging part of the counselling programme but you will be fully prepared and supported and you will not enter into it until both you and your Therapist are convinced that you are ready to do so.
Finally, your Therapist will help you to identify the factors that have made you vulnerable to developing PTSD in the first place so that you can protect yourself against them and prevent the occurrence of similar difficulties.
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All of our Therapists offer counselling for PTSD, click here to view the team.
Counselling for PTSD for Children
Counselling for PTSD for children will be adapted from the above to match the individual child’s development age and needs. To maximise the effectiveness of the treatment parents will be encouraged to work alongside the Psychologist and will be offered all the information and support to enable them to do this.
Risk Factors for PTSD
Factors which place someone at risk of developing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder include:
- Increased duration of the traumatic event
- Increased number of traumatic events
- A pre-existing psychological condition that involves, for example, low self esteem or depression, which predisposes the individual to conclude that they deserved to experience the trauma or were responsible for it
- A pre-existing psychological condition for example anxiety, which predisposes the individual to believe that the world is unsafe, that they are vulnerable and lack the capacity to manage challenging situations
- Lack of social support following the traumatic event
How Common is PTSD?
30% of people who have experienced a traumatic event will go on to suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
PTSD is more common in children, adolescence and women.
More Reading on this Subject
Should you wish to find out more about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder then please check out our blog articles here.