PTSD Treatment: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Monday, April 13th, 2009 • Uncategorized •
Actually, it is pretty easy. A quick example: my trauma was medical, which meant ever afterward any medical situation had me shaking like a leaf, tongue-tied, unable to communicate and an emotional bowl of jelly. Henry taught me to pre-empt my total emotional disintegration by cultivating awareness. When I felt myself getting uptight and anxious, I had to recognize and act on it, not accept and flow with it. A really useful technique he taught me was this: When I began feeling anxious in a situation, Henry told me to sit down in a chair, back straight, feet planted firmly parallel on the floor about a foot apart. I was told to place my hands on my thighs, palm down and take a deep breath. This posture – straight spine, flat feet, hands open – sends a subconscious message to the body of being grounded, which translates to the mind as a state of strength, peace and control. I began using this tool in every medical appointment and was surprised to see how effectively it worked.
So, as CBT teaches us to consciously engage in the moment of our own thoughts it can be a useful tool in our coping & healing bag of tricks. Most importantly, it engages us in the moment, which we often tend not to do on our own. Dissociation was a huge issue for me; CBT helped me begin finding a way to stay present, and to positively manage that present, too, which was a whole new world for me.
Digging a little deeper: As defined by Answers.com in a really great article that even explains the historical evolution of CBT, this thought provoking modality “is an action-oriented form of psychosocial therapy that assumes that maladaptive, or faulty, thinking patterns cause maladaptive behavior and “negative” emotions. (Maladaptive behavior is behavior that is counter-productive or interferes with everyday living.) The treatment focuses on changing an individual’s thoughts (cognitive patterns) in order to change his or her behavior and emotional state.”
According to the American Institute for Cognitive Therapy (AICT), “In a recent national study of the general population, researchers found that 48 % of the population has had a psychiatric disorder during their lifetime. The most common class of disorders was anxiety disorders, accounting for 25 % of the population.” Always nice to know we’re part of a bigger pool, not the odd duck paddling around a puddle of no consequence. And also, nice to know we’re included in a group that can be helped by a specific psychological approach.
An interesting intro to PTSD/CBT from the AICT:
So, there you go: a quick overview of CBT and its worth in the PTSD healing mix. For further reading and info check out:
The cognitive, behavioral, emotional approach of CBT – definitions
CBT in the Treatment of PTSD – military perspective
Data Back CBT for PTSD Treatment - clinical research about CBT efficacy.