Stress Management Video on PTSD Part III

PTSD is unprocessed trauma due to a horrific event.  Learning to finally face that trauma and move forward is an important step.  Learning to process and again learn to trust and have productive relationships are important.  Please also review AIHCP’s Stress Management Program and see if it meets your academic and professional goals.

 

 

Please review the video below

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

 

 

Anger Management Certification Blog on Unresolved Anger and Forgiveness

In any type of trauma, there is anger.  Anger can continue to feed the trauma and keep it alive longer.  Anger can also weaken the individual overtime through depression, fatigue and anxiety.  Keeping strong emotional anger is unhealthy and it is important to learn how to properly release anger.  This does not mean one does not have a right to be angry over the offense and trauma, but i does mean one must escape the anger before it becomes toxic.

Anger keeps trauma highly charged and weakens the self.  It leads to sarcasm and bitterness in life, as well as resentment and possibly revenge.  Revenge leads to further destruction and a cycle of violence and continued trauma.  Furthermore, anger that prevents forgiveness stunts social growth. It prevents trust, increases hatred and forces oneself to close off to others.  Hence it is important more so for one’s health to resolve anger and forgive than for the lack of worthiness of the offender to receive it.

Unresolved anger can lead to health issues. It is far better to release anger for oneself. Please also review AIHCP’s Anger Management Certification

 

Many feel forgiveness is impossible.  Perhaps they view the offense as unforgivable.  Rape, molestation and murder are sometimes very hard things to forgive.  These things represent the worst within human society.  Other things may be easier to forgive, but regardless of the degree, if one associates an action as unforgivable, then it becomes an anchor around one’s neck.  Others feel they must protect themselves and must remain bitter and remain closed.  Those who were physically abused, may feel their anger empowers them and protects them from ever being hurt again by never letting someone get close to them.   Others feel they may betray themselves or their loved one, if they forgive the perpetrator.   These are all blocks to resolving unhealthy anger and moving forward in life.

Anger is an emotion that may very well be important to the event.  It is in fact a true emotion in trauma. It is OK to be angry.  It is OK to feel the anger, but eventually, the anger can become toxic.  It is important to start to experience the anger and understand it, but in a way that allows one to remain in touch with its importance but not its ill effects.  It needs to be analyzed free from the toxic charge of initial rage, so one can understand its rationale and comprehend where it is aimed.

In doing so, many times, things need to be said, when those things cannot be said, then it is important to be able to find other ways to release.  This is especially true when justice is not given to a particular case that prevents closure.  Justice is an excellent way to help heal unresolved anger but in so many cases, justice at least in this world is not given.  It is hence critical to be able to resolve anger sometimes without justice.

Some therapists suggest Gestalt Chairs, when one plays the role of both oneself and perpetrator.  This allows the necessary discussion as one plays both roles.  Being able to vocally express anger, confrontation and forgiveness is key.  Furthermore, those with a belief of the afterlife, can find some closure knowing nothing goes unpunished before God.  Ultimately, facing anger, the situation and forgiving, frees oneself from the perpetrator.

Forgiveness, however, does not mean minimizing the event, or condoning it, or forgetting it, or trusting the same person again.  It does not dismiss the event, but it frees oneself from the emotional tie of the perpetrator.  Even if one does not ask, it can free oneself.  Forgiveness does not mean the individual still must pay a debt in this life or the next but it does allow one to move forward.

It is important in some cases to ask for forgiveness, but in other cases, this may not be an option, but the key is to decide to finally heal.  Being able to resolve anger and give forgiveness may have to be done in constructive ways to release.  Gestalt chairs or belief in God may be the best ways to forgive and understand.  One needs to try to forgive the best way they can for their own healing.  Sometimes, this can be accomplished through rituals such as confession, or other forms of expression.

In can sometimes be difficult to give forgiveness. Please also review AIHCP’s Anger Management Certification

 

Trauma is difficult to overcome.  Some trauma is more severe and some cases of anger are harder to overcome.  It is not an issue of denying the evil that occurred but it is an issue of healing and finding peace for oneself. Holding on to anger does not punish the perpetrator but it punishes the self and allows the perpetrator to continue to hurt the victim.  It is hence important to learn ways to live and forgive before one’s life is totally destroyed.

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

 

Source

“The Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Sourcebook” by Glenn R. Schiraldi, PhD

 

Stress Management Consulting Blog on Dream Management in PTSD

Dreams are the subconscious mind actively sorting out things while the conscious mind sleeps.  Dreams cover a wide variety of issues that the person deals with on a daily basis and helps resolve those issues.  From a religious standpoint, some contend dreams can also be of a supernatural origin, but even within this theology, these would be rare circumstances.  Science and psychology see dreams only as an internal response to external events while one sleeps.

Nightmares can have many symbolic monsters to interpret. Please also review AIHCP’s Stress Management Training

 

How one dreams and the symbols within those dreams can be confusing.  Some dreams are less important in processing, while other dreams can become more persistent in regards to unresolved issues.  The more trauma and intense, the more intense the pushback within the dream.  In this intensity, sometimes dreams can take a darker path and become nightmares.  Those who experience PTSD usually also experience intense nightmares regarding the event and at more common rate that the regular population.  The more recent the event, the more detailed, while the more processed the trauma, the more symbolic the dream may become.

Unprocessed and walled off trauma that is dissociated manifests in dreams.  Sometimes, these dreams will create a different outcome or they will push a certain theme.  Various symbols in the dream can haunt a person.  Monsters, shadows,  danger, being chased, being punished, re-threatened, trapped, abused or other physical injuries can occur in these types of intense nightmares.  Most nightmares occur in the rapid eye movement of sleep which is later in the night.  They are created through the anxiety and fear associated with the trauma.

Until trauma is faced, these dreams will continue to haunt someone.  It is hence very important to try to understand what the mind is trying to tell someone regarding the trauma.   Counselors suggest confiding to others about one’s dreams.  Relate the setting, what happened, how one felt and the various symbols within the dream.    It is important to ask how one felt, if one felt helpless or felt fear or shame to better understand what the mind is trying to communicate.  Analyze the dream and attempt to see what one’s mind is trying to sort out.  Does it relate to the past trauma?  Does it relate to how one acted?  Does it relate to how one feels about the event?  Various symbols within dreams usually have deeper meanings.  The monsters themselves have meaning if one looks to analyze the dream.

For example, monsters or being chased or attacked, usually indicates one is running away from something in life itself or is afraid to face something.  This is why it is common in PTSD.  Individuals are terrified to face or confront the “monster”.  It is important to understand who the monster is before oneself in the dream

Injuries, or wounds in a dream indicate a feeling of weakness or powerlessness in one’s life.  This again is common for victims who feel they have lost all power in their lives due to the attacker.

Falling is closely associated with those who feel they have no control in their lives.    They do not feel like they are in command within their personal or work life.

Being trapped is another common symbol that expresses the need to escape from a bad situation.

Whatever the type of dream and its symbol, it is important to access what it means to you

Some counselors suggest in addition to confiding to another about the dream to imagine the dream at its most intense moment and relate, “It is just a dream”.  Understand that it has no power over oneself.  It is good to remind oneself before bed in this regard.

Those suffering PTSD experience more nightmares. Please also review AIHCP’s Stress Management Program and see if it meets your academic and professional goals

 

Also consider confronting the monsters in one’s dream.  While awake, ask what do these monsters want?  You can also confront the dream by creating an alter ending.  Write or draw and discuss  the new ending and see if it has any result.  Dreams change as one better copes.  Coping and facing trauma will indirectly affect one’s subconscious mind and help one process dissociated material that may be haunting one while one sleeps.

Before sleep, also practice deeper breathing and meditation, as well as Progressive Deep Muscle Relaxation strategies.

Dreams are what dominate one’s mind during sleep.  When one is experiencing PTSD, the trauma will find a way to be expressed and sometimes dreams are the only outlet until one chooses to cope and deal with the issue itself.  Learning to cope with PTSD, especially through dream management is critical to overcoming PTSD and helping the subconscious mind properly store the memory.

If you would like to learn more about Stress Management Training, then please review AIHCP’s Stress Management Consulting 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 Stress Management.

 

 

Some sources

“What Do Our Nightmares Mean?” Please click here

“10 Horrible but Common Nightmares and Their Meanings”  Please click here

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

Stress Management Consulting Program Blog on Hyperarousal and PTSD

PTSD has numerous triggers.  Hyperarousal is the brains reactions to those triggers.  Individuals respond to scent, sounds, memories, visuals or even touch that tap into the dissociated mental material of trauma.  This can send the person into a flash back or even into a violent rage.  It is very dangerous for them as well as for others.  It is important to identify triggers and learn how to cope with hyperarousal and manage it.  Once the trauma is properly processed, these issues become less of an issue and eventually healing begins.

Individuals suffering from PTSD exhibit hyperarousal. Please also review AIHCP’s Stress Management Consulting Program

 

The article, “What Is Hyperarousal in PTSD?” by Christopher Bergland takes a closer look at hyperarousal within PTSD.  He states,

“Hyperarousal keeps the body and mind constantly “on guard,” which makes it hard to go about daily life. Chronically heightened states of arousal are perpetuated by the fight-or-flight branch of the autonomic nervous system. This article discusses the causes, symptoms, and treatment for hyperarousal that occurs with PTSD.”

To read the entire article, please click here

Please also review AIHCP’s Stress Management Consulting Program 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 Consulting.

 

Grief Counseling Program Video on War and Traumatic Grief

With war comes a type of traumatic loss than many experience.  Whether soldier or civilian, the pain and loss is very traumatic.  The losses can vary from loved ones to home to identity itself.  They can long term consequences of depression, prolonged grief and PTSD.  The losses are so severe that they can implant a death imprint on the very person.

Please also review AIHCP’s Grief Counseling Program 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 Grief Counseling.

 

 

Please review the video below

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

Stress Management Consulting Program Video on PTSD

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is trauma that is not processed.  It is due to trauma that is so severe that it leaves an imprint that the brain at the moment is not able to process into long term memory.  As a result, it is unfragmented and haunts the person as if it never ends and continues to occur.

Please also review AIHCP’s Stress Management Consulting Program and see if it meets your academic and professional goals

 

Please review the video below

Stress Management Consulting Program Blog on Helping Ease PTSD

PTSD or Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome is a serious condition where trauma is never processed.  In previous blogs, we have discussed its causes and symptoms.  In all cases, the memory is fragmented and unable to process due to its extreme nature.  When it is unable to become processed, it continues to haunt the individual through flashbacks, dreams, arousals, disassocation and emotional instability which leads to a variety of personal issues

Once known as Shell Shock from WWI, the horrid event is so traumatic, that those who experience PTSD are unable to come to grips with the magnitude of the event or loss.  This leads to multiple symptoms.  It is important to help treat people and guide them who experience PTSD from war, crime, or traumatic loss beyond one’s control.  Healing and treatment are a long road but there are first steps that can be taken as well as strategies to help manage symptoms.  These strategies can help someone cope till the fragmented memories are properly stored and allow the person to function without the adverse effects of PTSD.

Learning to cope with the symptoms of PTSD can lead ultimately to healing. Please also review AIHCP’s Stress Management Consulting Program

 

Healing begins when the person starts to apply skills to manage the ongoing symptoms and traumatic memory is slowly integrated.  Integration takes time and requires special therapies with a licensed specialist who can help someone process, assimilate and reframe the trauma.  In addition to utilizing skills to manage symptoms, the individual must confront the feelings and harmful coping behaviors such as drugs.   Others need to be willing to give up the secondary gains of their condition.  Some may earn government pay, others may feel the sympathy and pity of others would be lost if they sought help.  One needs to be able to give up these additional gains to become healthy and on one’s own.

One needs to also establish safe boundaries.  Only in a spot correlated with safety can someone with PTSD begin healing.  Someone who was raped may have a difficult time finding a safe boundary.  Establishing this is key as one faces the trauma.

Ultimately what is preventing treatment?  Is there a fear that treatment is a sign of weakness, especially if a soldier?  Is there a fear of discovery of the source of the pain?  Some may fear opening up to a therapist or anyone.   Others fear they may also lose the good memories with the bad.  Ultimately, a therapist can help guide the PTSD patient through the maze of feelings.

In addition, once an individual has learned to manage basic arousals, flashbacks or potentially dangerous outbursts, one may consider a support group.  Support groups have multiple benefits for PTSD victims.  The group and its autonomy grants a sense of control that one and one therapy sometime lacks.  It aids against alienation, provides security and a mutual acceptance beyond any preconceived stigma.  There secrets can be revealed, progress made and coping ideas shared.  Friendships can also blossom from the mutual pain and stories.

Many strategies during the healing process can be done alone and do not require professional treatment.   Professional treatment in aiding integration are still extremely important but learning to manage basic arousal, flashbacks and trauma are key in learning to retake one’s life.

Affect Management looks at controlling one’s own emotions by personally facing them.  In it, one names the feeling and recognizes and feels them without judgement.  The feelings are to be felt but also understood.  They are not to be deemed good or bad but experienced.  The feelings are to be seen as normal, but also in analysis constructive to understanding.  Feelings make sense if we hear them and try to better understand what they are trying to tell us.   Control of feelings is key as well.  Anger Management and its many useful strategies are key in understanding why one is angry and how to better utilize it in a constructive way.  Many individuals with PTSD are angry over what happened.  They may seek revenge, or they may feel misunderstood or jealous of others who are not victimized.  Anger at the world, the perpetrator or anything is very common.  This anger needs managed but it also needs to be allowed to vent in a healthy way and be heard in a constructive way.

When certain triggers cause arousal it is also important to learn to cope with these issues.  Breathing Retaining is a way to control one’s breath and avoid hyperventilating which is common during arousal and extreme anxiety caused by PTSD.   Other forms of relaxation and meditation can also be useful to manage arousal symptoms.  Progressive Muscle Relaxation is an excellent tool in gradually relaxing all muscles through contracting and relaxing muscles from head to toe.  Autogenic Training is also a mind body connection similar to self hypnosis that looks to calm the mind.  Another successful tool is eye movement.  Eye movement works by visualizing the trauma and not allowing to exceed an anxiety ranking about the SUD scale of 5 which is irritating but bearable.  After this is reached, one focuses on two objects and switches back and forth, moving the eyes slowly.  For many, 2/3rds to be precise, feel some type of relaxation after this procedure is experienced multiple times.

PTSD is trauma not processed. Please also review AIHCP’s Stress Management Consulting Program

 

In regards to flashbacks, many also utilize eye movement, but grounding is an equally effective method.  Grounding involves one touching something in the present, whether the arm of a chair or the soft touch of a carpet on one’s feet.  Stomping one’s feet, or even naming things in one’s surrounding can help one ground oneself in the present.  Another way to combat flashbacks is through safe place imagery.  Safe place imagery is a pre-arranged place one can go.  It first requires one to select an image that confirms safety and focusing on it and the feelings.  One should then find this safe place in their mind.  Another mental option is split screen, which one mentally portrays within one’s mind.  In it, one screen is the past and the other screen is the present.  Realizing that the past is the past can sometimes let one focus on the present screen.  Finally, a feeling dial imagery can also help some.  In it, one imagines a radio or numerical dial in which they visualize lowering from ten to one in regards to how they feel.

These are just coping strategies and it will take a far more deeper treatment plan to eventually help one with PTSD but these coping strategies open the door and help the person begin the long process to complete integration of trauma material into the long term memory.  They are useful in allowing the person to enter into society, face fears and find the healthy outcome they wish.

Ultimately, healing and treatment will  lead to less intrusive thoughts, flashbacks, dreams and distressful associations.  It will help individuals remember without detachment.  It will help one to recall feelings without arousal and detachment.  It will aid with anxiety, sexual discomfort and depression, as well with isolation from the company of others.  Ultimately, treatment will help one integrate the loss, reframe it and move forward into the future.  In future blogs we will review common treatments for PTSD

Please also review AIHCP’s Stress Management Program 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.

Related source: The Post Traumatic Stress Disorder SourceBook by Glenn Schiraldi, PhD

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