Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) affects 3.6 percent of the U.S. adult population (more than eight million Americans) according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Post-traumatic stress can develop as a result of bad childhood experiences, a tragic family death, military service, and more. Counseling is often a recommended form of treatment for post-traumatic stress.
How a counselor can help with post-traumatic stress
There are different types of therapy for treating post-traumatic stress. The counselor can personalize each patient’s treatment plan according to what is best for their needs and preferences. Some of the more commonly utilized types of counseling are cognitive behavioral therapy, cognitive processing therapy, prolonged exposure therapy, and stress inoculation therapy.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
Cognitive behavioral therapy, also called CBT, focuses on the individual’s thoughts and feelings about the traumatic event. The goal is to change the way the traumatic event is viewed by the patient and help them cope with the experience in a healthier manner. CBT is a long-term treatment process. Treatment plans typically last between 12 and 16 weeks, although many patients receive ongoing counseling that can last for years.
Cognitive processing therapy (CPT)
Cognitive processing therapy (CPT) is a form of CBT that is often effective in treating post-traumatic stress. It focuses more on the way the patient processes the traumatic experience, including how it affects the way they view themselves, others, and the world in general. The goal with CPT is to address undesirable feelings and thoughts that are directly related to the trauma and to improve the way they view themselves as well as their worldview.
Prolonged exposure therapy (PE)
Prolonged exposure therapy (PE) is also a form of CBT that focuses on trauma-related memories and seeks to gradually improve the feelings that surround those memories. PE is often effective for patients who have avoided dealing with the trauma for an extended amount of time by promptly dismissing memories and going to extensive measures to avoid any potential triggers.
Stress inoculation therapy (SIT)
Stress inoculation therapy (SIT), which is also a type of CBT, focuses on coping mechanisms to help patients with post-traumatic stress deal with stressful memories, feelings, thoughts, and actions about the traumatic experience. This may include teaching coping skills such as breathing techniques, muscle relaxation, and more.
Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR)
Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is not recommended quite as often as the aforementioned forms of counseling. However, it can help some individuals who are dealing with post-traumatic stress. This method of counseling involves bilateral stimulation to address the emotions that arise from the traumatic memories.
Schedule a counseling session for post-traumatic stress
If you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms of post-traumatic stress, then we encourage you to call us or send us a message today to schedule a consultation. We take pride in helping our patients find the relief they need through counseling services and other forms of post-traumatic stress treatment.