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The Effects of PTSD

Post traumatic stress disorder is when an individual has experienced, witnessed, been informed of, and/or had exposure to extreme details of the traumatic (also known as highly emotional) event. This includes, but is not limited to, intrusive involuntarily symptoms following the event, avoidance of stimuli, negative alterations in cognition’s following incident, and marked increase in arousal and/or reactivity.

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All of these symptoms need to last longer than one month, cause clinical distress disrupting multiple areas of life functioning, and does not happen as a result of medical diagnoses or ingested substances including alcohol and drugs.

Treatment Process

How to Work through PTSD and Improve

When working with clients with PTSD, it is important as a therapist to avoid re-traumatization, so it’s important to get to know as much as they can about the client prior to processing these past events. Sometimes this may take some quite a bit of time, but securing their space with therapist in sessions can really ease their minds and build a connection with positive experiences early on in the sessions with their level of security. As a therapist, it’s important to become aware of their background, past trauma(s), level of tolerance or dissociative symptom, and gauge appropriateness or readiness for processing the trauma.

Multiple assessments are done prior to sessions to discover if the client needs more time to learn skill building techniques prior to reprocessing the event. While keeping in mind, that with EMDR clients can also minimize the likelihood of re-traumatization, because processing happens through putting focus on negative belief(s), taking the process at client’s pace, and avoiding scenery information that can leave the client vulnerable to relieving the event all over again.

Although this process can sound scary, many client’s report that they experience a wave of emotion(s) and a sense of relief or weight lifted off their shoulders. Because who wants to carry around the arousing memories of something that seems to cause complications in so many areas of their life? No one usually does.

With time, connection with therapist, exploration, securing your space, becoming aware of triggers, and working on the skills, clients can see improvements much faster than in traditional therapy. This doesn’t mean that EMDR therapy for PTSD doesn’t come with it’s challenges, but paired with the right therapist (who a person can build a professional relationship with) that individual can work towards a more healthy way of living.