Grief Counseling Program Blog on Trauma and Restoring Intimacy

Sexuality and intimacy are crucial aspects of human life.  It allows two to bond and share the deepest feelings with a wholesome sexual experience.  An experience that is pure and filled with love as opposed as corrupt and full of hate.  During trauma, individuals can lose intimacy and a healthy understanding of love and sex.  This can create obstacles to fully reacclimating into society because one is not able to form a new bond or attachment with another human being.  The act of intimacy and the act of sex in themselves can also become triggers and reminders of past abuse and push the person away from these normal and healthy bonds.

One who has experienced trauma must eventually face intimacy, trust and friendship and if desired, a more deeper friendship in the contract of a sexual relationship.  Unfortunately, trauma makes this difficult and can prevent the person from an important fountain of healing that can bring the person closer to becoming one again.  In this article, we will look at a few issues of intimacy and sexuality that someone who has faced trauma will deal with and how that someone can learn to trust and love again.

In intimacy, one opens oneself to another.  This can mean many things to a survivor of sexual trauma or betrayal.  One feels the loss of a control.  In isolation, one feels one has the power to control what occurs and the fear of opening oneself, puts oneself partly at the power of another.  It is exactly this power that a trauma survivor fears.  In addition, trauma survivors fear abandonment.  If one opens up, then one risks the chance of being hurt and betrayed again.  Hence many experience abandonment issues.   Intimacy also opens up the chance of rejection.  Trauma survivors fear the thought of being rejected for who they are and may very well reject someone before they can be rejected.

It is important with intimacy to accept fears.  This is the hardest part, but only until one dismisses the fears, can one again learn to have a trusting relationship.   The fear may be in the other person, or in one’s own tendencies but one cannot have the healing powers of intimacy without trust and letting fears go.  One also needs to reject ideas and notions that can block intimacy with others.  Many who have been traumatized universally label everyone.  All men/women are bad is a common over generalization.  The perpetrator was not good but not all people are bad.  This central concept can take time to finally become a reality again. Other false narratives include assuming no one has every experienced what one has experienced, or that one cannot ever burden another with one’s issues.  In addition, others feel unloved and if anyone ever knew what occurred, then that person would no longer be lovable.  Flaws are seen as more prominent and as a sign of weakness, when in reality everyone has flaws.

It can be difficult after trauma to again show intimacy and open oneself up. Please also review AIHCP’s Grief Counseling Program

 

Learning how to discuss the past and discuss the future are critical communication skills.  Individuals who fear intimacy need to be better able to express to another and share how to handle issues and conflicts.  Without releasing the fear, false notions and opening up communication, then a person suffering from trauma will not be able to open again and find the value and healing within a friendship or a deeper relationship.

One of the biggest blocks to a deeper relationship is again seeing sexuality as wholesome and natural.  Sex in its very nature promotes union, trust, and love but the trauma has distorted the true value of intimacy and sexuality.  Following an assault, sex itself can become a trigger to a PSTD response.  A certain touch can remind one of the trauma and turn something of love into something of abuse.  The person has a hard time viewing sex as holy and the person as sacred.  The rape or assault has stripped sexuality and intimacy of its dignity and the person has difficult times again experiencing these feelings and senses in a positive way.

Sex can also be seen as a way to control others, or it may be a device to fix what went wrong before.  Unhealthy expressions and sexual behavior can result in different directions from fear of sex to promiscuity later in life.  It is hence important to remove these past negative images.  One image that is especially unhealthy is seeing all sexual behavior and correlating it with a sense of disgust.  It is important to learn skills to neutralize this feeling of disgust and help re-evaluate these past negative experiences with positive experiences.

In rebuilding oneself for intimacy and sexual relations, the traumatized need to overcome many hurdles of trust and intimacy but certain steps can help to start the healing process.  Disgust and association with trauma can be overcame with patience and time and understanding from one’s new partner.

It is hence important to again see certain parts of the body as holy and good.  They cannot be seen or associated as evil in themselves.  The action must be separated from the part of the body itself.  Second, one needs to learn neutralize disgust.  Ideas that the body is an object to be used must be dismissed and replaced with ideals that the body is a temple and a gift.  This not only deals with the other person, but also how one views oneself.  One can further separate the feeling of disgust with sex itself and shame.   The shame with trauma needs to be separated from the act itself.  By learning to separate negative feelings and events from the body and act itself, one can better open up to others.  One can then create a new narrative where the event with a different person is not hateful or abusive but instead filled with love and respect.

Unfortunately, while rebuilding each other, partners should be conscious of others past.  Certain boundaries may initially needed and a slow crawl until mutual comfort is met.  Flashbacks can occur and it is important to recreate intimacy and the sexual experience together to form new wholesome memories.  This requires patience, counseling as well as awareness.

Healthy sexuality is the ultimate key.  While intimacy does not necessarily involve sexuality, nor the necessity of entering into a sexual relationship, one must still restore a sense of the sacred to the sexual act.  Sex is not about control, secretive, shameful, wrong, abusive, dis-connective, controlling, superficial, or selfish but instead is a spiritual, emotional and physical act that binds.  It builds self esteem and gives proper pleasures associated with that.  It is celebrated and gives deeper meaning to life.  It does not abuse, but promotes a feeling of unity and safety.  It honors and loves and builds two instead of breaking down another. Finally, it does not reject, but it also accepts the imperfect and celebrates the two.

For some, sex is more than naturally just beautiful but also sacred from a religious view.  Sex in this regard binds two as one before God and calls forward a vocation that goes beyond the symbolic act of sex, but carries itself in all matters of life itself.  Spiritually, the destruction of sex to anything less is not of God and is a misuse of this divine gift to not only bring forth new life but also unify two into one.

Restoring intimacy with a victim of abuse can take time and patience but it can again reveal the goodness of intimacy and love

 

One can restore intimacy, and if desired, a healthy sexuality after assault, but naturally, the traumatized must learn to reprogram one’s mind to not only not fear but to open up and let go past narratives that prevent the leap of love and faith.  The traumatized must also learn differentiate the corruption of the perpetrator from the holiness and goodness of the action itself and how it can be experienced with a good person.

It is a most disgusting sin to harm another through sex because it injures the person not only physically but also emotionally.  It affects one’s ability to feel intimacy again and feel trust.  It is more than a theft of virginity or physical freedom, but is a theft of self, but fortunately, through healing, counseling and prayer, one can again heal.

Please also review AIHCP’s Crisis Intervention Certification, Stress Management Consulting Program as well as AIHCP’s Grief Counseling Certification Program.  The programs are online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification in these disciplines.

 

 

Source: “The Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Sourcebook: A Guide to Healing, Recovery and Growth” by Glenn R Schiraldi, PhD

 

 

Stress Management Consulting Blog on Happiness, Meaning and Self Esteem

During recover from severe trauma, the person must be able to reconnect the dreadful event with his or her life story.  The injured person must understand the event as a chapter that has meaning to one’s life and connect it to the present and how to cultivate the future.

As one progresses in their treatment of processing the traumatic memories, one will need to create future chapters that are not defined by the evil of the trauma, but are defined by growth from it.  The present and future need to find happiness, meaning and self esteem in order to self sustain any recovery and help the person integrate back into society.

Individuals suffering from trauma and PTSD have a difficult time finding happiness, meaning and self esteem in their lives. Please also review AIHCP’s Stress Management Consulting Program and Grief Counseling Program

 

Happiness can be subjective in regards to what makes one smile, but at the most inner most level, it is universal.  Happiness when misplaced in material things can never lead to true happiness, but values and beliefs and love and family can all have more long lasting meaning to sustaining happiness and leading one to it.   One who has suffered severe trauma may have difficulty defining oneself or finding love and connection with the world, so it is important to understand how again to be happy.  Obviously placing one’s faith in the most elements of happiness is critical.  Far too many who even suffer no trauma, still choose false idols of happiness.  They place their love in things over people, self over family, and in ideas that die with time instead of live eternally.

Some common traits of those who experience some relevance of true happiness can be found in those who possess a healthy self esteem and peace of mind.  These individuals cultivate virtue and love within themselves and with others.  They have healthier experiences with social interactions and bonds that form from these interactions.  Most hold a belief in something greater than than themselves.  Most find this in faith and religion, but any type of objective code that binds one beyond oneself, gives a person purpose and meaning.

Happy individuals usually also possess a mastery of their life.  They have believable goals, moderate ambitions, and mastery of their schedule and how things are accomplished.  They are not in chaos but order.  Furthermore, they possess an optimistic outlook on life that is not always defined by success but by self and self worth.   Unfortunately, like a thief in the night, grief and loss can occur.  Even the happiest person can be robbed of everything, even beyond family, virtue and love.  Grief is the price of love in this temporal world.  With that truly happy individuals will deal with pain and sorrow and trauma but they will ultimately have the meaning and self esteem to guide themselves through the journey of grief and adapt and adjust to the loss.

Happy individuals are not always happy or content but they are not constantly dragged down with hate, blame, bitterness and helplessness.  They may deal with trauma but eventually again find the light at the end of the tunnel.  Some may require help but ultimately, their spirit may be hurt, but never killed.

Individuals who experience trauma or PTSD may not be able to find happiness in their life.  They may not have the skills or the trauma was so great, it paralyzed their spirit.  As those who experienced trauma reawaken, they need to work towards re-involvement into society and hobbies.  They need to form and organize a plan.  They need to stop worrying as much and become more optimistic and find value in life itself.

This centers around having meaning.  Without meaning, something is useless.  So it is imperative for those recovering from trauma to again find meaning to life.  What meaning or direction can they decipher from the horrific event they witnessed or were apart of?  How can this event give them meaning forward?  How can the person move forward from it and do new things?  Victor Frankyl during his days in the Nazi concentration camp found meaning in survival and a deeper sense of justice that would one day come.  He found meaning in the smaller things that reflected goodness that existed among the evil.

A deep core to meaning usually involves having a commitment to something higher than oneself.  Whether it be a philosophy, or a faith, one can anchor oneself despite any waves of the ocean of life.  No matter what occurs, even it temporarily numbs, one is able to find course due to meaning.  This moral compass can find true north in the most terrific storms.  Many individuals are stripped of meaning at a young age because of trauma.  They are unable to again find meaning.

It is important then to create self esteem.  This may be difficult for someone who has been stripped of all dignity, but through therapy and work on self, one again can start to find value in oneself and separate oneself from the trauma.  In finding self esteem, one can find meaning and happiness again.

Self esteem looks at value in self.  It correlates with the numerous qualities that happy people experience.  At its core, one sees intrinsic value in self, unconditional worth, the experience of love and growth in life.

Self esteem is realistic in self.  It is based in truth, even in imperfections.   It is appreciative of one’s good qualities and ignites positivity in oneself.  It does not create a false arrogance or deception but sees all as equally beautiful in different ways.

Furthermore, self esteem is able to separate the value of one’s core from externals.  Bad things that happen or mistakes are not the core of one’s soul.  One may have had bad things accidentally occur, but that does not make oneself a bad person.  Instead of “BECAUSE” of that, I am “THEREFORE ” this or that, the mind sees that  “EVEN THOUGH” this occurred, “NEVERTHELESS” I am still me.  The EVEN THOUGH/NEVERTHELESS logic separates someone from the incident.  It does not make the person a product of the incident.  This slight change of words creates an entirely different person.

Trauma victims need to cultivate self esteem. Please also review AIHCP’s Stress Management Consulting Program

 

Individuals with good self esteem are able to see their core self absent of bad events.  They are able to truthfully see the bad and good, but not define oneself by any bad, but only work on the good.  They are able to put this optimistic energy into change.

Again, when things go astray, they do not see these things as permanent but temporary.  They do not define lack of success as themselves.  They do not look to be better or less than anyone and they are more likely to see someone different due to position not necessarily more or less innate worth.

Trauma can destroy self worth.  It can make one feel horrible one self and equate oneself to the trauma.  One cannot differentiate between core and accidentals.  One hence is always feeling less and inadequate.  This can lead to competition with others, or fear of being in the open due to fear of failure.  It can cause mistrust and bitterness and envy.  It can force one to deny any meaning in life but trauma and the product of that trauma.

Happiness, meaning and self esteem are key to functioning individuals.  Trauma can take it temporarily or permanently for some.  It is important to anchor oneself to something more than the event.  To anchor oneself even to something more than this world can ever take.  We live in a valley of tears and bad things happen to good people, but there is good too and light that can be found.  Those who are able to find meaning and self esteem and value in something greater are better able to navigate and cope with trauma during life.

Counselors can help others learn these skills and cultivate these values.

Please also review AIHCP’s Grief Counseling Program, as well as AIHCP’s Stress Management Consulting Program and Crisis Intervention Program.  The programs are online and self paced and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification in Stress Management Consulting, Grief Counseling or Crisis Counseling.

 

SOURCE

The Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Sourcebook: A Guide to Healing, Recovery and Growth by Glenn R. Schiraldi, PhD

Stress Management Certification Blog on Guilt and Trauma

Guilt is a necessary emotion.  When anchored with a good conscience, it provokes truth and justice when wrong is committed.  It prevents future wrong doing in some cases and helps guide the person to proper moral outcome.   It is hence sometimes good to feel guilt.  If one lacks guilt in appropriate circumstances, it is a sign of a deeper and more sinister moral flaw.   Sociopaths are incapable of guilt and can commit the most grievous offenses without any sense of emotional wrong doing.

Victims can carry disproportionate grief. Please also review AIHCP’s Stress Management Consulting Certification

 

For the more tender hearted and as well as those who experience trauma, guilt can sometimes become excessive and over play its reach.  It can become a pathological agent that prevents proper healing.  When guilt is not properly processed and understood according to reality, it can then continue to haunt a person and prevent emotional healing.   Guilt must be processed.  If due to trauma it becomes part of dissociative material, then it can linger.  It needs to find resolution, where appropriate sorrow is displayed and a chance for change and growth occur.  When guilt is stunted, either not accepted or over felt, then it can keep a person stuck in the past.

With trauma, guilt is usually not proportionate and a variety of distortions exist.  These distortions continue to exist when individuals keep trauma to themselves and do not face it.  This is why dialogue is so critical to healing.  It allows the wound to bleed and also the opportunity to discuss falsehoods regarding the traumatic event hence allowing integration of the memory.

Most distortions create an imbalance of guilt.  Either the person blames oneself 100 percent or finds no blame at all.  Associated with this are usually feelings that one does not deserve to live or survivor guilt.  In addition, many individuals feel the guilt is critical to show they still care and that they must punish themselves and repeat the pain.  Multiple reasons incur this guilt.  Many believe they are guilty because they were afraid, or found relief.  Others find guilt in having to kill, making a mistake, finding enjoyment in the event, wanting to die, or expressing extreme hatred.  Others find guilt in their actions in not being able to save others, not taking precautions, freezing under pressure, not stopping the abuse, or not saying “I love you” one last time.

Many things can haunt a person who experienced trauma.  Depending on the trauma and event, they can differ, but they all carry a haunting voice that judges what one felt, did not feel, did, or did not do.  Distortions to the event can amplify the sorrow the person experiences.

Dialogue is obvious the first step in unlocking guilt.  Various cognitive therapies look to identify guilt and then properly ascertain legitimacy of it.  This involves discussing with a therapist the event itself and verbalizing the details.  The patient then must attribute the level of what they think was their fault in a numerical percentage.  Following this, the therapist challenges the events and asks probing questions of who else may be at fault.   The guilt is then re-assessed and a recalculation occurs in which proportionate percentages of guilt are discovered to be less.  This process can be repeated weekly to illustrate to the victim and patient that the guilt attributed is far from fair.

Also, the therapist can help the victim distinguish between the emotion of concern versus guilt, as well as shame and guilt.  Many equate these emotions with guilt.  The sexual victim may equate shame with guilt.  In doing so, one can then start to attack the various distortions of guilt.

It is also important to help the patient understand their decision under pressure.  Normal decision making under peaceful situations are quite different than decisions under duress.  Fight or flight mechanisms can erupt and many lose rationality.  So it is good to point out that one does not think the same way under trauma as if not.  A therapist can also help the patient look at the choices that were available, the time constraints, all the information at the time and the intent of the outcome.

Another important way to help one see the past is to have the person play the role of two.  As if an advisor or friend, to respond to one’s own criticism.  By separating oneself from the event, and counseling one as if a friend, one can then begin to see the overall picture.  So many therapists recommend patients play a two role therapy of talking and then responding as two different individuals.

It is important to properly process guilt in trauma. Please also review AIHCP’s Stress Management Consulting Program

 

In addition, various rituals can help.  Spiritual visualization of healing, as well as finding forgiveness through a higher power.

Through this, one is better able to properly rank their guilt and true proportionate role in the traumatic event.  The person can then understand the situation, move on from it and process it.  Through this, the victim can be better prepared for the future and understand the role he or she played.

Of course, various therapies help individuals with PTSD and trauma better recollect the situation and process any negative emotions.  EFT, Rewind Techniques, TIR and EMOR are all way therapists can better help an individual relate to the emotions and events of a particular trauma.  They can also help the person cognitively restructure the event appropriately to reality.  Removing inappropriate guilt is obviously an important step.

Please also review AIHCP’s Grief Counseling Program, as well as Stress Management Program and Crisis Intervention Program.  All programs are helpful in teaching professionals to guide others through trauma.   The programs are online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification.

 

Sources:

“The Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Sourcebook: A Guide to Healing, Recovery and Growth” by Glenn Schiraldi, PhD

 

Stress Management Consulting Program Blog on Cognitive Restructuring and the 13 Distortions with PTSD

Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome or PTSD is the inability of the human mind to process traumatic memory.  It remains fragmented and left to haunt the person through various triggers and arousals that return to the person to the original trauma.  Emotions remain raw and the individual is trapped in the past and it repeats itself.

The first step to recovery is to confront the trauma and begin the long and sometimes painful process of properly storing the memory and integrating it, good and bad, into one’s life narrative.  The process to dismiss the past, face it and integrate it can be difficult.  The trauma is very difficult to face but for those who take the initial steps to confront and learn new coping methods to deal with PTSD, the rewards are a return of one’s very own existence and life.

Trying to recover from PTSD can be delayed over distortions about the event. Licensed counselors through Cognitive Restructuring can help individuals find the truth to move forward. Please also review AIHCP’s Crisis Intervention Program

 

Treatment is key.  Professional counselors can help individuals through a series of treatments.  One type of treatment is Cognitive Restructuring.  Cognitive Restructuring helps the individual integrate dissociated memories with associated ones in the long term memory.  Part of the process is to remove unproductive ideas and ideals that limit the mind to restructure and keep arousal high.   Functional thoughts can help remove higher arousal, while dysfunctional thoughts prevent the individual from healthy integration.  It is not the activation to think about the trauma that causes the consequence of arousal but more the dysfunctional thinking that causes more arousal.

Automatic thoughts that enter into oneself about the event can be good or distorted.  There are 13 types of distortions to thought that can make overcoming PTSD very difficult.  These distortions need corrected so that the brain can properly integrate the traumatic event.  This blog will review the 13 types of distortions.

  1. Flaw Fixation.  This distortion forces the individual to only focus on the bad.  It is a camera lens that only sees one aspect of the full event.  It is a narrowing of all the facts of the story.  The individual only recalls the failures of the particular day, or only in the present sees bad in everything.
  2. Dismissing the Positive.  Very similar to the Flaw Fixation but this does not focus on flaws of the individual but any positivity in life itself.  Only negative is viewed in day to day life and if the event was during a particular period of time, all the other good things of that time period are dismissed based on the one bad event.
  3. Assuming.  Individuals assume certain things about an event.  In Mind Reading, they assume others think negative about them and how the individual acted or what the individual experienced.  Also within arousal, Jumping to Conclusions is common.  The individual assumes any trigger is an actual threat.  Finally, Fortune Telling, predicts negative outcomes only with any future events.  Everything is predicted in a negative light in lieu of the past traumatic event.
  4. Catastrophizing.  Individuals make any events based off the past trauma to be worst than they what they truly are.
  5. All or None.  In this, the individual rates himself only as good or bad.  Furthermore, other people are seen only as good or bad.  There is no gradation or grey area in this type of reframing
  6. Shoulds.  In this, the individual relives what he or she should have done or did not do.  This does not take into account the objective reality of what occurred and places everything on the individual.
  7. Making Feelings a Fact.  Feelings are important to listen to but sometimes they can distort and make things appear different than reality.
  8. Over Generalization.  Individuals assume everything is bad or “ALL” people are out to get them.  It comes from a lack of security but closes individuals to healing.
  9. Abusive Labeling.  The individual sees oneself as damaged.  The person does not differentiate the evil and bad between the action committed and oneself.
  10. Personalizing.  The individual asserts to much blame for the traumatic event that the person is guilty of or not guilty at all
  11. Blaming.  The individual blames the event for destroying one’s life more than the event did.  It is the opposite extreme of personalizing.
  12. Unfavorable Comparisons.  When one compares to how others would react instead of oneself.   This can lead to anxiety and regret.  Instead of focusing on the event and how one dealt with it.
  13. Regrets.  This is similar to “shoulds”.  Instead one looks at all the circumstances and holds one guilty to the event instead of healing from it

 

These type of distortions can create a mixture of emotional reactions that prevent the person from seeing the trauma correctly.  One either sees the event incorrectly, others, or oneself.  This does not allow one properly process it with the truth of the matter and hence integrate it into one’s life.  It is important to understand an event and process it.    Distortions prevent this hence in counseling and reframing of the event, it is important to discuss these issues and identify a patient who may possess a distortion.  Of course the only way to know if a distortion exists is for the individual to open up about the event and confront it.

Confronting and properly processing trauma is critical with PTSD. Please also review AIHCP’s Stress Management Consulting Program

 

If you would like to learn more about AIHCP’s Stress Management Consulting Program or AIHCP’s Crisis Intervention Program, then please review the programs and see if they meet your academic and professional goals.  The programs are online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification in these two disciplines.

Source: The Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Sourcebook: A Guide to Healing, Recovery and Growth by Glenn R. Schiraldi, PhD

Crisis Intervention Counseling Certification Blog on Mental Crisis

Mental health crisis can occur at any moment especially when tragedy or traumatic loss occurs.  The crisis counselor is equipped with training to help individuals face the present crisis or deal with the suicidal ideas.  Many crisis counselors are licensed counselors but many also work under the umbrella of an mental health organization at crisis centers.  First responders are also sometimes trained in crisis intervention strategies.

What constitutes a mental crisis? Please also review AIHCP’s Crisis Intervention Specialist Program and see if it meets your goals

 

The article, “What Is a Mental Health Crisis?” by Matthew Boland looks closer at the nature of a mental health crisis and how professionals help individuals deal with the crisis.  He states,

“Others define a mental health emergency as a life threatening situation in which someone is a danger to themselves or others, while a crisis is non-life-threatening, but the person is still severely distressed. Some others say an emergency is someone attempting suicide, while a crisis is someone thinking about or planning suicide. Whether you call it a “mental health emergency,” “crisis,” or “mental breakdown,” people having these experiences need immediate support.”

To read the entire article, please click here

Please also review AIHCP’s Crisis Intervention Counseling Certification and see if it meets your academic and professional goals.  The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking training in Crisis Intervention.

Stress Management Consulting Certification Blog on PTSD

Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome is a severe reaction to a stressor so intense that it imprints upon the mind and brain its terrifying nature.  The long lasting effects can result in intense anxiety as well as for some dissociation disorder.  The effects can last months after or continue to haunt the person throughout life.   In previous eras, it was referred to as Shell Shock as experienced by WWI soldiers but while many soldiers experience PTSD, it can happen to any group of person.

Traumas can be related to war but also to any type of traumatic event than can happen in civilian life as well.  Among the type of traumas imposed upon the person include intentional traumas caused by other humans which are the hardest to overcome, as well as human caused accidents and acts of nature, which are usually easier to recover.  It is more difficult to overcome intentional acts of humans because these acts of trauma are most associated with evil itself.   War, abuse, rape, incest, torture, criminal assault, hostage, bombings, terrorism, suicide, kidnapping, riots, participating in violence, and death threats are a few examples of these severe types of trauma.

Human caused traumas not associated with evil intent still can cause trauma but they are not as mentally crushing to the individual.  These types of traumas include industrial accidents, fires, explosions, motor vehicle or plane crashes, nuclear disasters or collapses of buildings.   Less traumatic but still impactful or acts of nature, which include any type of storm or geological event, or sudden deaths not associated with evil intent.

Trauma so severe can cause anxiety and dissociation. Please also review AIHCP’s Stress Management Program

 

Many individuals suffer greatly in this world and the above stressors and trauma inducing events are well above one’s average bad day but are life altering events in many cases.  This can cause severe trauma and not allow the mind to properly process the event.  The exposure to this stressor leads to an intense fear or horror to the event itself.   In assessing PTSD, the events must be re-experienced via intrusive recollections, dreams, and hallucinations that can be activated due to similar cues.   The individual in turn will attempt to avoid numerous things to escape these intrusive reminders.   The individual will try to block thoughts, feelings, places,  and activities to avoid it.  They will disassociate in events and people and try to detach themselves.

In essence, the PTSD interrupts life in all aspects.  Individuals will have trouble sleeping, become irritable easily, not be able to concentrate, become hypervigilant, and have exaggerated responses to some stimuli.  This type of behavior can last acutely for one month, chronically for six months or more and can even be delayed, well after the event and re-emerge months later.

Those who suffer from PTSD face two major symptoms, high levels of anxiety and dissociation.

Severe anxiety leaves the person in constant distress even if the stressor is no longer present.  It can manifest physically upon the person through fatigue, tension, nausea, digestive track inflammation, hyperventilation, suffocating feelings, and a wide array of panic attacks.  Emotionally it can cause irritation, fear, exaggeration of emotions and loss of confidence.  Mentally, anxiety can cause confusion, lack of concentration, poor memory and inability to make decisions.  Spiritually, one may encounter hopelessness and despair.  Many look to avoid stressors that naturally cause these feelings and the person will become more reclusive.

In regards to dissociation, most healthy individuals possess an associated consciousness that engages in life, but when a trauma so terrible occurs, the mind does not process the terrible event in long term memory and it is trapped in short term memory.  Without proper processing, the trauma continues to haunt the person.  It is hence natural, during a horrible event to dissociate from it.  When something is so horrible to comprehend, the body for its own protection will tune out.  Unfortunately, the unprocessed and walled off trauma is highly unstable and very accessible.  It is also very emotional and non verbal and hence impressionable via our senses.  The trauma is very fragmented and associated with multiple triggers due to this.  The senses of sight, sound, smell, taste, touch, pressure and pain can all awaken these fragmented traumas and cause recollections.  The trauma can also be re-awakened by significant dates or seasons or events, as well as tied to strong emotions, thoughts and behaviors.   Sometimes the arousal is due to a combination of senses.

Dissociation looks to defend the individual from the horrific nature of the event itself.  During a horrible event, the person may depersonalize from the event itself, as if separating from oneself and watching.  Another form of this is derealization where the person real believe the event was not real but a dream.  Some individuals actually lose parts of the memory itself.  Amnesia and forgetting the event looks to help the person forget the horrific nature of it all together, while some may enter into a fugue where an individual has no memory whatsoever of how one got from one place to another during the episode.

The worst type of trauma is the type caused intentionally by other people. Please also review AIHCP’s Stress Management Consulting Program

 

The most severe form of dissociation is Dissociative Identity Disorder when a person actually creates multiple identities to deal with the trauma itself.  Also known as Multiple Personality Disorder, one creates other personalities with stronger characteristics to protect the host from the trauma itself.

Associated with dissociation and anxiety are a variety of associated features that can become attached to PTSD.  Many individuals who suffer from PTSD also exhibit a variety of these features in their behavior.

When severe trauma occurs, many have a death imprint that forever changes their outlook on life.   This leads to repeating within the mind how they wish they behaved or acted.  In this, they may feel extreme shame or guilt, or survivor guilt.  Others will develop a severe anxiety with any topic of death itself.   With severe trauma, others may also experience shattered world views.  One may doubt his or her faith or question how one exists.  Such an existential crisis is very common.

There are also a variety of mood disturbances that one may encounter fights with depression and also addiction. Impulsive behaviors can also occur  where individuals try to make sudden changes to escape the pain as well as over compensations in other roads of life.   Some will also try to relive their trauma and re-enact them in contrast to others The mind also can negatively affect the body and there are a multitude of physical ailments that occur from chronic pains to fatigue and exhaustion.

To escape the mental pain, many will turn to other forms of pleasure.  In addition to addiction, some become overtly sexual to find value, while others may turn to self mutilation.   These cries for help are attempts to express pain that cannot be visualized or seen.   In other cases, this type of behavior looks to cover mental pain with physical pain.

Ironically, it can paradoxically relieve pain and help individuals become addicted to self harm.  Others remark it helps them feel alive or makes them feel empowered and in control.  Others reiterate it can be used to make themselves less attractive to prevent further abuse or imitate what was seen or experienced.

Unfortunately, without guidance and help, these symptoms and unhealthy coping mechanisms will continue with individuals with PTSD unless helped.  They need to face the trauma and understand it.  Guidance is required to help process the horrible memory to the long term processing centers of the brain.

If you would like to learn more about AIHCP’s Stress Management Certification, then please review and see if it meets your academic and professional goals.  The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification in Stress Management.  AIHCP also offers programs in Crisis Intervention as well.  Remember, that even if certified, one still need to be a licensed professional in the mental health fields to work with individuals suffering from PTSD.

Related Text

The Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Sourcebook: A Guide to Healing, Recovery and Growth by Glenn R Schiraldi, Ph.D

 

 

Crisis Intervention Counseling AIHCP Video

Helping individuals in extreme numbing trauma and restoring them to a pre crisis state of mind is important.  Individuals who suffer catastrophic loss can find themselves in a dark chaos.  In other areas, those who are in suicidal ideation may need crisis intervention to help them find hope.  Crisis Intervention is key in helping individuals overcome extreme despair.  Crisis Intervention Counselors work as licensed counselors or also in crisis centers, or even as first responders.

Please review AIHCP’s video on Crisis Intervention Counseling

Crisis Intervention Program Article on Suicide Prevention

A failed suicide attempt is a second chance at life.  Finding the help one needs to prevent a second attempt is critical.  Counselors, Crisis advisors and pastoral care givers can help give the guidance needed to these individuals.  Family support can also play a key role in preventing a second attempt.  It is important for those without a support system to call for help.  The article below has some resources which can help.

No matter the crisis, suicide is not the answer. Please also review AIHCP’s Crisis Intervention Program and see if it meets your professional goals

 

The article, “How to Get Help After Attempting Suicide, From Someone Who’s Been There” by Kimberly Zapata looks closer at how to help those who have attempted suicide not try it a second time.  She states,

“An estimated 1.38 million people attempt and survive suicide each year, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). Surviving an attempt, however, certainly doesn’t mean the struggle is over. What happens in the hours, days, and weeks that follow is crucial. Suicide attempt survivors need love, empathy, compassion, care, and support. And yet it can be tough for them to find that support. While there are countless resources available for suicide loss survivors, a quick internet search for help for suicide attempt survivors yields few results.”

To read the entire article, please click here

It is critically important to also help those who suffer from attempted suicide.  It is important to help them and give them the knowledge and support they need to prevent a second attempt.

Please also review AIHCP’s Crisis Intervention Program and see if it matches your academic and professional goals.  The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification as a Crisis Intervention Specialists.  Crisis Intervention Specialists are pivotal in helping individuals in crisis moments find peace and reason despite the insanity surrounding them.  Some counselors are certified in this field, but the certification is also open to others who are not licensed counselors but work in crisis centers, as well as EMT and those on scene of traumatic events.

 

Crisis Counseling Intervention Certification Article on Crisis Training and Police

Mental health crisis requires a special brand of response from the state.  Using law enforcement when violence is not an issue can quickly escalate the situation.  In the news, the United States sees many unneeded deaths and escalated situations due to poor training by the police in crisis intervention.

Crisis intervention is key in policing. Please also review AIHCP’s Crisis Intervention Counseling Certification

 

The article, “What’s Next: Improving Mental Health Crisis Response” by Nicole Merlene looks into how law enforcement can become better trained to face these unique situations.  The article states,

“There is limited co-response with both a clinician and responding police officer. While it is impressive that ¾ of Arlington’s police force is “Crisis Intervention Trained” (CIT), police acknowledged during this process that their presence with flashing lights and uniforms immediately escalates a crisis situation even with the best trained officers.”

To read the entire article, please click here

Please also review AIHCP’s Crisis Intervention Counseling Certification and see if it matches your academic and professional goals.  The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification in Crisis Counseling.

 

Crisis Intervention Program Article on Mental Crisis Response Teams

With numerous clashes with police and individuals with mental illness, society is calling for great accountability from law enforcement in how the mentally ill are handled during arrests.  A few options include better psychological training for officers as well as crisis intervention courses.  Another option is also including certain calls to be answered by trained staff in social work or other mental illness training.

Better mental crisis training is important for first responders and police. Please also review AIHCP’s Crisis Intervention Program

 

The article, “Here’s What Happens When Social Workers, Not Police, Respond To Mental Health Crises” by Christina Jedra looks at the importance of evolving how law enforcement deals with mental health crisis calls.  She states,

“A growing number of American cities are embracing another way: sending mental health first responders instead of police.  The teams are made up of unarmed crisis workers, such as social workers and health care personnel, who advocates say are better equipped than police to handle cases that don’t involve violence or crime. ”

To read the entire article, please click here

With many unneeded deaths, a more balanced response is needed from law enforcement when dealing with mental crisis calls.  Better training in Crisis Intervention and mental illness are a start but special responders may also be needed for non violent calls to prevent escalation and possible death of others.

Please also review AIHCP’s Crisis Intervention Program and see if it matches your academic and professional goals.  The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification in Crisis Intervention Counsleing.