The Role of Counseling for PTSD Treatment
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that can occur after an individual has experienced or witnessed a life-threatening event. The most common causes of PTSD are military combat, terrorism, serious accidents, natural disasters, and violent personal assaults. That said, any situation that leaves you feeling frightened, helpless, or vulnerable can actually trigger this condition.
The National Center for PTSD reports that PTSD affects roughly 6% of the population. Furthermore, women are more likely than men to develop it after an extreme stressor like sexual assault. PTSD can manifest as intense feelings of anxiety, paranoia, depression, and more.
Counseling can be an essential component of the PTSD treatment process. While there are a number of experts in this field who can help, psychologists usually provide the mental health care necessary. More specifically, a guide to clinical psychologists by Maryville University outlines how they are capable of providing in-depth mental health care for patients who suffer from PTSD. Some conduct research to understand conditions like PTSD better and improve counseling principles and techniques. Others are trained to diagnose and create custom PTSD therapy plans. In any case, finding a counselor such as a marriage family therapist, behavioral therapist, or cognitive therapist with experience with your specific type of trauma is critical. With the right help, here are a few benefits that expert counseling can have for PTSD:
1. It helps manage specific symptoms
Counseling involves talking about your trauma with someone trained in trauma-focused therapy. A counselor can help you understand what happened to you, how it affected your life, and how you can manage it now. Because it dives into the root causes of PTSD, it is one of the most effective tools to help manage symptoms.
Among the specific symptoms of PTSD include vivid flashbacks, intrusive thoughts, nightmares, and physical distress. Counselors can help patients develop strategies to manage these symptoms. For example, a counselor might teach patients how to use breathing exercises or relaxation techniques when experiencing an upsetting flashback or nightmare. They can also teach their clients how to identify and change negative thinking patterns that stem from traumatic experiences.
2. It utilizes evidence-based techniques
It can be challenging to heal from PTSD on your own, and seeking professional help can be vital in regaining control of your life. Trauma-trained counselors use evidence-based techniques such as cognitive therapy, exposure therapy, and cognitive processing therapy to change your thinking patterns and lessen the feelings of fear and anger rooted in traumatic experiences.
In fact, these techniques are continuously being improved and evaluated to ensure their effectiveness in PTSD treatment. A recent assessment conducted by Ontario Health found that internet-delivered cognitive behavioral therapy is a cost-effective way to reduce the severity of PTSD symptoms, especially when dealing with long waitlists for in-person care. With counseling, patients are sure to receive science-backed treatment that can unravel the complexity of their experiences.
3. It restores your self-esteem
A study by the European Journal of Psycho traumatology found that trauma can profoundly affect a person’s sense of self. Compiled clinical accounts witness increased emotions such as feeling empty inside or not knowing the self anymore. To this end, counseling is an excellent way to help rebuild that sense of identity and restore self-worth.
Counseling can also help individuals with PTSD to reintegrate their lives after they have been impacted by trauma. Counseling helps them find ways to heal and move forward in their lives. The counselor helps clients identify what they want to change or improve, then works with them to develop a plan to make those changes happen.
PTSD is a serious mental illness that can have devastating effects on those suffering from it. Counseling is a powerful tool in the fight against PTSD. As a necessary part of the recovery process, counseling can help patients understand and manage their emotions, learn how to avoid triggers, and give them the tools to cope with challenges.
Article was specially written for https://serenitytraumacenter.com/ by Anna Garner