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Experiencing or witnessing traumatic events such as sexual, physical and psychological abuse, natural disasters, accidents and war can cause highly distressing psychological reactions. The fear and helplessness that is felt at the time of the trauma can continue to be felt long after the trauma has ended. When trauma is prolonged and repeated many will develop post traumatic stress disorder.
If you believe you are suffering from Post Traumatic Stress contact Talking Therapy for further advice or consultation.
Those experiencing post traumatic symptoms have often been treated by health professionals for a variety of individual issues, without either party realizing these issues are part of an overriding syndrome of reaction to trauma. For example, over time a survivor may go to a G.P. for help with sleep problems, depression, panic attacks, headaches etc.
Repetitive and prolonged trauma in childhood causes developmental changes and delays, and complex problems with almost every aspect of functioning. As adults, survivors are often faced with dealing with behaviours and ways of being in the world that they created as children in order to survive.Some of these behaviours may be: isolating oneself, avoiding emotional closeness to others, putting other people’s needs and desires first, anything that leads to numbing of feelings, and many more. These adaptations have been necessary in childhood, however, they often cause problems in adult life.
Survivors dealing with the symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder are at risk of developing other mental health issues including depression, suicidality, anxiety disorders, alcohol and drug problems, eating disorders and others. Over time they are seen repeatedly in mental health settings, including emergency services.
Survivors of abuse in childhood develop “problems with relationships and identity” and “are particularly vulnerable to repeated harm, both self-inflicted and at the hands of others” (Herman 1992)
Treatment requires strengthening of the self within a safe environment, enabling the trauma to be explored and integrated. A period of reconnection with everyday life follows. The therapeutic relationship is a key part of the recovery process. It takes time to develop into one of sufficient trust to enable safe processing of the trauma. (See article on this site “Understanding Attachment”)
The distinctive features of psychodynamic psychotherapy, and in particular the Conversational Model, fit well with the stages of trauma work and the resolution of post traumatic stress symptoms. (See article on this site “Benefits of Psychodynamic Psychotherapy”)
The Conversational Model is a trauma integration model that uses language as a major tool to locate, explore and transform trauma. This model is designed to be shaped to the needs and particular post traumatic stress symptoms of each client.