Have you experienced a traumatic event? Have you experienced a hijacking, a car accident or other situations where you felt that your life was in danger? Afterwards do you have flash-backs to the incident, startle easily in response to loud noises or unexpected movement, feel generally anxious or suffering from insomnia? Usually symptoms lessen and disappear with time, but in some cases symptoms can persist.
The Post Traumatic Stress Response Process
Following an experience of a traumatic event, a person will usually go through a period of shock, when they will often feel “spaced out” and confused. This can last anything from a few minutes to a few hours. Then they will enter a “recoil” phase. Often during this period people will experience “flashbacks”, will startle easily and often feel very irritable. These are normal experiences and feelings. The final phase is called “re-organisation”, when the person feels sufficiently recovered to return to their normal routine. Some symptoms such as irritability and anxiety may remain but will usually improve in time.
We often say that an individual experiencing PTSD symptoms will go from feeling like a victim, to seeing themselves as a survivor to finally realizing that they have experienced psychological growth by overcoming their traumatic experience!
Treating Post-traumatic Stress
In treating individuals, couples and families who have undergone trauma, we usually use a combination of solutions-focused counseling, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Relaxation Training and Eye movement desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)