You might at first think that any therapist or psychologist can heal Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). And on the one hand, it’s true. Most, if not all, therapists have a good understanding of trauma and will know how to provide some form of PTSD treatment. However, there are a couple of new psychological treatments that address trauma specifically, and a therapist needs to be trained and certified in them in order to administer them.
For this reason, if you are someone who is struggling with PTSD (perhaps someone back from a war, someone who has witnessed violence, or someone who was in a recent car accident) you may be searching for the right PTSD treatment. This article will discuss a treatment known as Somatic Trauma Therapy that has been proven to be effective for treating trauma and facilitating healing.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that develops as a result of experiencing trauma. A person needs to be demonstrating symptoms for at least three months in order to be diagnosed. The reason for this is that some trauma can heal on its own. However, when a person is still facing flashbacks, anxiety, numbness, amnesia of the trauma, tension, chronic substance use, and other symptoms after three months, then the trauma hasn’t released its grip. Many people are familiar with PTSD when seen in soldiers who were in combat. Historically, PTSD was known in soldiers as shell shock. However, it’s clear that PTSD is an illness that anyone can develop after an experience that threatens one’s life.
PTSD treatment might be needed after experiencing any one of the following:
- death of a loved one
- witnessing a crime
- death or suicide of a close friend
- domestic violence
- natural disaster
- witnessing violence
- chronic bullying
- repeated abandonment
- physical or sexual abuse
As mentioned above, one particular PTSD treatment is Somatic Experiencing. Essentially, the therapy works by helping a person restore the autonomic nervous system. Typically, the autonomic nervous system has an inherent capacity to restore itself and keep itself balanced. However, when trauma occurs this ability is impaired. Instead, one’s autonomic nervous system might be hyper-vigilant (a person is stuck in the fight response) or it might be overly passive and dismissive of signs of danger (a person is stuck in the freeze response). This kind of PTSD treatment aims to help heal the autonomic nervous system by facilitating the release of energy tend to remain in the body after a traumatic event. A Somatic Experiencing professional helps a person move out of their state of either fight or freeze.
Interestingly, in a similar way, a person might also be able to facilitate this release through exercise. According to HelpGuide.org, research reveals that with concentrated focus on your body and how it feels as you exercise, there’s a possibility that you can help your nervous system become “unstuck”.
Yet, if you notice that you are really struggling with PTSD symptoms, including using drugs and alcohol as a means to cope, contact a mental health professional. Look for a professional trained in Somatic Experiencing Therapy, if you want to fully and completely move on with your life.
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