TREATMENT MODALITIES

Types of Treatment for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

 

PU4P strongly urges you to seek evidence-based treatment if you or a loved one is experiencing PTSD. Evidence-based treatment means that the therapist is using techniques that are proven to reduce PTSD symptoms when done properly.

Research shows that after a disaster the brain and the body changes. These changes, resulting from traumatic stress, can obstruct with coping and recovery attempts. The “triune Brain Model” is a fairly easy way to understand the human response to traumatic stress. 3 main areas become affected after traumatic events: Brain stem (fight-flight-freeze-faint response), Limbic system (emotional control center), and the neocortex (executive functioning center). 

After experiencing trauma people will likely have a hyperactive response to stimuli (will feel as potential dangers). They may struggle with a range of emotional responses between being hyper-arousal (highly anxious, angry, out of control, overwhelmed) to hypo-arousal (feeling zoned out, numb, or frozen). 

Many times, after traumatic events people struggle with putting events in order, creating a full story with beginning, middle and end, or even able to speak. It is clear that mass trauma leaves a physiological footprint that will likely last for a while. With time, if not treated people may develop more long term effects such as depression, isolation, mood dysregulation and more (Webber & Mascari, 2018, pp. 45-59).

Regardless of the type of therapy you choose, your relationship with your therapist is the most important factor in therapeutic success.

Checklist:

  • Therapist is licensed to practice in your state

  • Therapist is experienced in providing trauma resolution treatment

  • Therapist is using an evidence-based form of treatment

  • Therapist is a good fit for your preferences and personality

 

Examples Of A Few Evidence-Based Treatments

The following descriptions are from www.apa.org (The American Psychological Association)

  • Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT)

    • Cognitive processing therapy is a specific type of cognitive behavioral therapy that helps patients learn how to modify and challenge unhelpful beliefs related to the trauma.

    • Look for clinicians who are listed as a CPT Provider or Quality-Rated CPT Provider.

  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

    • A structured therapy that encourages the patient to briefly focus on the trauma memory while simultaneously experiencing bilateral stimulation (typically eye movements), which is associated with a reduction in the vividness and emotion associated with the trauma memories.

    • Look for clinicians who are EMDR Trained or EMDR Certified.

  • Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT)

    • Cognitive behavioral therapy focuses on the relationships among thoughts, feelings and behaviors; targets current problems and symptoms; and focuses on changing patterns of behaviors, thoughts and feelings that lead to difficulties in functioning.

    • Look for clinicians who are TF-CBT Certified.

 

For more information about treatment for PTSD:
American Psychological Association
National Child Traumatic Stress Network

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