Types of Effective Therapy for Healing PTSD

Mar 12, 2010 No Comments by

For those with chronic PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), traumatic experiences do not end when life-threatening situations are resolved. Because of the severe trauma to the brain and body, sufferers of PTSD find that traumatic memories disrupt their daily lives on an ongoing basis. Those suffering from PTSD tend to experience health risks, immense levels of psychological stress and intense fear for years. For those who have developed drug and alcohol addictions in an attempt to cope with the symptoms of PTSD, the road to healing can at first feel long and overwhelming. However, with compassionate, professional therapy techniques available in holistically oriented, private drug and alcohol rehab facilities, trauma victims can obtain several types of effective therapy for healing PTSD and chemical dependency alike.

Types of Effective Therapy for Healing PTSD

Here are the five main types of therapy that have been shown effective for healing PTSD symptoms. Depending on the nature and duration of your trauma, you can select a method of therapy that best postures you for healing and an ensuing life of success and peace.

  • Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR)
    In EMDR, therapists repeat bilateral stimuli—such as audio tones, tapping, vibrating hand-held devices, or light pulses—in order to stimulate various areas of the brain for memory processing. Meanwhile, therapists work with the client to focus on images or negative self-beliefs that contribute to the trauma’s impact. As the external (painless) stimulation coincides with the therapeutic work, the intensity of the trauma drastically reduces. EMDR has shown incredibly high success rates of healing symptoms of PTSD in trauma survivors.
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
    Like EMDR, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) boasts extremely high success rates in reducing or eliminating symptoms of PTSD. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy works through behavioral conditioning, with positive reinforcement for favored outcomes, and exposure therapy for trigger elimination. However, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy also attempts to correct negative self beliefs in trauma survivors. Rather than talking through the problem, therapy tends to attempt to identify problematic patterns of thought or behavior, and modify them through behavioral therapy. This has been shown to be extremely effective in healing of PTSD symptoms.
  • Hypnotherapy
    Sometimes, hypnotherapy can be an effective treatment option for PTSD—especially when memories have been partially or fully buried due to extreme emotional trauma. A hypnotherapist can access the subconscious, allowing repressed or buried memories to surface in a safe environment. This can be helpful for those who have experienced such high trauma that they cannot fully recall the events involved, though they display persistent symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
  • Cognitive Therapy (“Talk Therapy”)
    Cognitive therapy, also known as “talk therapy,” involves psychological insight through conversation with a qualified therapist. Though cognitive therapy is generally a longer route to healing of PTSD, it can be an effective way to both cope with existing symptoms, and understand trauma in the context of your life and self-view.
  • Art Therapy
    Sometimes, certain traumatic experiences are truly unspeakable. When survivors displaying PTSD symptoms find they have trouble verbalizing feelings about their experiences, art therapy can be a wonderful, creative and nonthreatening way to express thoughts about trauma. Healing exercises can also be part of the therapeutic art process, and many art therapists will spend time discussing trauma themes with patients that surface through the course of creative exercises.
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