"There are wounds that never show on the body that are deeper and more hurtful than anything that bleeds." ― Laurell K. Hamilton
In life, we often experience situations that are less than ideal and can sometimes have more of an impact on our mental health and our day-to-day functioning than we would have ever intended. Are you experiencing Sleepless nights, anxiety, fears, flashbacks, and irrational thoughts that keep you in a constant state of panic? If so, you are not alone!
In this blog, we will be covering how to cope with and heal from trauma and traumatic events in a healthy and effective manner.
First, let's talk about Trauma. What is Trauma?
Trauma, according to the American Psychological Association (APA), is defined as "Any disturbing experience that results in significant fear, helplessness, association, confusion, or other disruptive feelings, intense enough to have a long-lasting negative effect on a person's attitudes, behavior, and other aspects of functioning."
Why is talking about Trauma and getting help so important? Talking about Trauma is so important because Trauma impacts everyone. Trauma occurs regardless of a person's upbringing, socioeconomic status, sex, race, ethnicity or sexual orientation. According to the National Center for Mental Wellbeing, approximately 223.4 million people in their lives will experience Trauma at some point in their lives. That equates to a whopping 70% of the population of individuals. It was also reported by the Nations Center for Mental Wellbeing that approximately 33% of young individuals will be exposed to traumatic events and also post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
What is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, according to the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM 5), is defined as being adults, adolescents, and children under the age of 6 years old that have exposure to actual or threatened death, serious injury, or sexual violence. This can also include directly experiencing the traumatic event, as well as witnessing another person experiencing a traumatic event. PTSD can also include learning that a traumatic event occurred to another family member or close person.
People with PTSD often include symptoms such as Intrusive thoughts, emotional detachment, insomnia, frequent nightmares, flashbacks, fear, severe anxiety, Miss trust, agitation, irritability, social isolation, self-destructive behavior, and Loss of interest or pleasure in activities, as well as guilt and loneliness. According to the National Center for PTSD, approximately 6% of the US population will experience or Be diagnosed with PTSD at some point in their lifetime. A diagnosis of PTSD does not have to be lifelong. It has also been reported that 70% of people who are diagnosed with PTSD can recover on their own without any professional assistance and no longer meet the criteria for PTSD.
In comparison, the other 30% of people have been reported to be unable to cope with PTSD symptoms alone without professional assistance. Professional assistance for PTSD can include therapies such as Prolonged exposure therapy (PE), Eye-movement Desensitization and Reprocessing(EMDR), and Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT). These three therapy models are proven to be the most effective forms of therapy by the US Department of Veterans Affairs.
So What is CPT?
Let's talk about the Cognitive Processing Model. According to CPTforPTSD.com, Cognitive Processing Therapy is a treatment that focuses on thoughts and feelings, similar to cognitive behavioral therapy. Cognitive Processing Therapy was developed in 1980 and is proven to be effective in reducing PTSD symptoms related to traumatic events due to being evidence-based and developed through extensive research. Due to its effectiveness, CPT has also been endorsed by the US Department of Veterans Affairs and Defense, as well as the International Society of Traumatic Stress Studies, as one of the best practices for treating PTSD.
The goals of CPT include
Improving the client's' understanding of their PTSD
Reducing flashbacks and emotional distress related to memories
Reducing negative feelings associated with Trauma
Decreasing unhealthy coping skills for managing symptoms of PTSD
Decreasing symptoms of depression
Improving the client's' overall quality of life
What to expect in CPT?
During CPT treatment, clients will learn psychoeducation about Trauma and their reactions to their traumatic events. Clients will also be able to successfully identify healthy challenges on helpful thought processes. Clients will also learn about topics including trust, safety, power, and control, esteem, and intimacy. In order to complete CPT treatment and challenge negative beliefs, clients are asked to complete homework assignments tailored toward improving their overall quality of life. CPT is commonly completed in 12 sessions but can be longer case-dependent.
All in all, experiencing Trauma is very common, but it doesn't have to be something that you struggle with for the rest of your life. Symptoms of PTSD can be treated through evidence-based, effective treatment models such as CPT. Getting the help we need can be scary, but taking the leap is necessary.
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