CBT for PTSD
(Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)
PTSD and CBT
The DSM5 criteria for PTSD are the following:
A. The client must have witnessed or experienced a serious threat to their life or physical well-being.
B. The client must re-experience the event in some way: dreams, invasive thoughts or hallucinations.
C. The client must persistently avoid stimuli associated with the trauma or experience a numbing of general responsiveness.
D. The client must experience persistent symptoms of increased arousal.
E. Symptoms must have lasted at least a month.
Individuals who suffer from PTSD have experienced a traumatic event which has gone beyond their range of normal experience. Examples of this are: –
- car accidents
- natural catastrophes
- physical attacks (rape, murder, shooting, stabbing)
- death of a loved one (even a pet).
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Characteristics of PTSD
Clients have recurrent intrusive thoughts, and dreams concerning the event, and may also experience ‘flashback’ episodes where either a portion or the whole of the traumatic event will be re-experienced.
Avoidance of events which resemble aspects of the original event is quite typical in PTSD. This may manifest itself in an inability to remember a part or the whole of the trauma.
There is also an emotional numbing and the avoidance of intense emotional experience.
CBT Treatment for PTSD
The two areas usually associated with PTSD are intrusive thoughts/imagery and avoidance of situations which trigger the reaction to previous traumas. CBT for PTSD is designed to desensitise the person to the traumatic event. CBT techniques are used to reprocess the feared event and improve their strategies to decrease the sense of threat. Positive results can occur within two to three weeks.
Clients also can reprocess the trauma by writing a detailed account of what has already transpired. After several detailed reprocessing events the intensity of the trauma starts to diminish.
The next stage is to restructure negative thoughts associated with the event using standard CBT. This is done to help clients to accurately perceive the trauma seeing the whole picture without cognitive distortions. This involves identifying the specific cognitions which illicit the reactivation of the trauma to decrease the degree of threat.
CBT is recognised as an effective treatment intervention for PTSD and is the preferred choice for both clinical and NHS practices.
Virtual Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
Convenient, private and secure
Online Therapy is available to anyone, anywhere in the world at home or in the office using a tablet, mobile phone or laptop / computer and a good internet connection.
This service would appeal to client's for a variety of reasons.
- Clients location would make it difficult / impossible to access Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy.
- Clients time-pressure, work deadlines, and work-based travel make it difficult to commit for the normal counselling time-scale.
- Clients family commitments make it easier to have treatment on-line at home.
- Clients prefer an initial face to face assessment, and then combine both treatment modalities.