Counselling for PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

If you're thinking about counselling for PTSD, it can be really hard to know where to start. So I really hope the information here on my pages will help to point you in the right direction.

In case you've landed here first, do hop over to Part 1 to get an understanding of the ways professional treatments for PTSD can really help you with your recovery. I'll still be here when you come back.

Picture quote: We cannot start over, but we can begin now and make a new ending. Zig Ziglar

Dealing with 'emotional trauma'

Some people feel emotionally traumatised. Perhaps you do, for example because of...

  • the death of someone close to you
  • the disclosure of an affair
  • a loved-one's suicide attempt
  • a Birth Trauma
  • a medical treatment
  • an accident
  • any other life-changing event

Your counsellor should engage you in deciding what would be most helpful for you at this time. The healing process runs along much the same track as for any other psychological trauma. Therefore, immediately after a life-changing event an initial focus on calming you down and helping you to relax and sleep would be most beneficial.

A sudden relationship crisis can feel terribly traumatic. If you're in the midst of such a crisis, then I recommend you start with my page Save Your Marriage.  

If your partner has just left you or is about to leave you, I'd also like to help you to find out right now what you should and shouldn't be doing about that, so do have a look at The Magic of Making Up.

The human givens approach

I personally use the 'human givens approach' to therapy.  It includes a non-intrusive technique for trauma and phobias.

However, I do also use the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) and Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR), which are not part of the human givens approach.

I have good results with all three approaches. I use whichever method is most acceptable to my client and I switch if and when necessary. This is always with my client's understanding, acceptance and agreement.

The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommends trauma-focused Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and EMDR for the treatment of trauma. (The video further down the page has more info on this.)

Energy psychology/medicine such as EFT is not so much recognised in 'conventional' arenas. I've used it successfully during telephone counselling, though on the whole I wouldn't choose to use telephone counselling with someone who has suffered severe trauma.

Trauma focused technique with imaginary exposure

With this technique the counsellor/therapist will help you to relax deeply, before you access the trauma on a imaginary screen - several times over (but so fast you barely notice the detail).

This allows your memory to be 'recoded'. You're exposed to the trauma whilst your body and mind are as relaxed as possible and therefore the memory changes - it no longer has the same impact.

(I understand completely that you may be thinking there's no hope that you'd be able to relax. However, you may just be surprised ...)

There's a specific protocol and your therapist should be well-trained in the method. The therapist aims to keep you as calm as possible throughout the treatment. The method and procedures ensure that any discomfort, fear or any heightened state of emotional arousal is kept as short and as manageable as possible.

A version of this technique was first described by Milton Erickson. Over the years a number of adaptations have been made to this method, initially by Richard Bandler (originator of NLP).

More recently it's been refined by Joe Griffin and Ivan Tyrell of the Human Givens College. It's now much more acceptable for clients, particularly for those who would rather not talk about the traumatic event.

Read Part 3 for an explanation of what you can expect with this kind of therapy. You can also find a great video giving more information about trauma focused treatment for people who are Recovering from PTSD.

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

Other helpful links

EMDR Network

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Elly Prior

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It's me - Elly Prior, I'm the Founder and Author of this site. I'm a 'real' person! I'm hoping to make a positive difference, small or large, to every person who visits my site.

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