Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

After going through a traumatic experience, it is normal to feel anxious, sad, frightened, and even disconnected from others.  However, if these feelings don’t settle down over time and you feel stuck with constant anxiety and a sense of pending danger, you may be suffering from Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

There is no one type of trauma that can lead to PTSD, although most people tend to associate PTSD with war veterans.  PTSD can develop as a result of all kinds of traumatic experiences, such as assault, rape, being involved in a robbery, being kidnapped or held captive, child abuse, car accidents, train wrecks, plane crashes, bombings, or natural disasters such as floods or earthquakes.

Here at CBT Professionals we can help you return to a sense of normality and, more importantly, to re-establish a sense of safety, by providing professional support and treatment. We have several clinicians who specialise in the treatment of anxiety disorders.

What does treatment involve?

Your individualised treatment program for PTSD will firstly aim to give you the skills to manage the often distressing side effects of PTSD (e.g, nightmares, flashbacks, feeling scarred and afraid, panicky). Once you feel you have better control over your symptoms, your therapist will work with you to process the meaning of the trauma, help you with any difficult thoughts and feelings you are having, and work towards increasing your sense of safety. When you are feeling calmer and safe, your relationships with family and co-workers will improve and your physical well-being will also improve.

The final stage of therapy is like “getting back on the horse” and “facing your fears”. Your therapist will devise a plan of small steps to face the people, places, or objects you have been avoiding due to fear. By this stage of therapy you will have the tools to face your fears and you will do it with the support of your therapist.

Due to the nature of trauma, therapy for PTSD often involves many sessions (12 to 18), but well worth the investment of resources if it means getting back to normalcy and feeling safe.

Why choose CBT Professionals?

All of our practitioners are selected based on a uniting set of values that define us as a truly caring practice. We stand against the practice of generic treatments and know that every case is unique and needs our best care and attention to craft a treatment approach specific to your situation. We have a number of clinical psychologists whom specialise in the treatment of anxiety disorders. Veronica Midon and Danielle Riley are two clinical psychologists who in particular specialise in the treatment of PTSD and trauma.

What will it cost me?

Without appropriate treatment symptoms of PTSD, such as flashbacks, nightmares, or avoiding feared situations or places, may get worse.  You may find that you pull away from loved ones, are not able to get along with people, or that you are feeling increasingly frustrated or even angry. This can lead to significant difficulties functioning in everyday life. PTSD symptoms can also make physical health problems worse or you may be using unhelpful coping strategies such as drinking or gambling, which may create even more problems.  Getting help early is the best course of action to restoring your emotional wellbeing soon.

CBT Professionals charge a modest fee for service and we are aware that people in need shouldn’t have the added pressure of services that they can’t afford. To find out more about our fee structure you can look at our Fees page of our website linked here.

How does it work?

Your unique treatment plan is likely to involve a number of sessions. The general goal of treatment is to teach you helpful ways to react to frightening events that trigger your PTSD symptoms. Based on this general goal, therapy may include learning about trauma and its effects, learning to use relaxation and skills to manage your arousal (e.g., anxiety, anger), and learning to take care of yourself.  Treatment will also involve carefully and gradually “exposing” yourself to thoughts, feelings, and situations that remind you of the trauma. This will help you to identify upsetting thoughts about the traumatic event and teach you how to manage these when they arise.

Through the therapeutic process you will learn strategies and techniques to help you feel better, and then you will see a reduction in your PTSD symptoms (e.g., flashbacks, nightmares, scary thoughts and feelings). Over time, you will see improvements in your mood, your general sense of safety and wellbeing, and your relationships will return to normal.

How we have helped other trauma survivors: A case study

You might be interested in the following case study that we have put together from some of the other men and women we have helped successfully recover from their trauma.

Case Study – Sara

Sara was referred to our clinic by her GP who was very concerned about her wellbeing. Sara was not sleeping well, not eating for days at a time, using lots of drugs and alcohol, was angry or tearful all the time, and frequently tried to attempt suicide.

Sara’s first session was very difficult for her as she did not trust anyone, nor did she believe that anyone could understand what she was going through, let alone help her feel better. Over several sessions though, Sara learned to trust her psychologist and disclosed that her ex-boyfriend had been physically and sexually abusive towards her. Sara had also been witness to her ex-boyfriend physically assaulting other people in drug-related crime.  It quickly became clear that all the symptoms the GP had reported were ways for Sara to try to cope with the flashbacks, nightmares, and day-to-day fear she was experiencing.

Sara worked individually with her psychologist over a number of months to regain her self esteem and to develop more helpful coping strategies to help her manage her fear. Sara also went through exposure therapy with her psychologist, where she faced all the frightening and traumatic memories and learned how to gain control of the overwhelming sense of fear she experienced.

At the end of therapy, Sara was eating regular meals again, she no longer felt fearful or suicidal, and she was not using alcohol or other drugs to numb herself.  Sara has also learned to trust others again, so much so that she now had a new boyfriend who treated her in a way that she felt safe and secure.

Case Study – John

John was referred to our clinic several months after he was involved in an armed hold up at his workplace. When he came to the clinic he was experiencing a lot of anger – anger at himself “I should be over this, I should be coping better and shouldn’t need to come to therapy”, anger towards his workplace “if they had better procedures it would have been different”, and anger towards the world “I can’t believe there are people in this world out there like this”. John had been finding that since the robbery, he was no longer able to cope with stress in the workplace, and was easily overwhelmed to the point of having to go home early or take sick days off from work. John wasn’t sleeping well due to nightmares and experienced significant anxiety on the way to work and during his time at work. John was trying hard to avoid thinking about the robbery but found it hard to push images out of his mind. He didn’t understand why all these months later that the robbery was still affecting him.

John’s therapist was able to normalise what he was going through given the harrowing experience he went through during the robbery. John was educated on the effects of trauma and was encouraged to be more compassionate towards himself. Through arousal management skills training, John learnt better ways to cope with his anxiety and anger and this gave him back a sense of being in control. Through talking through some of his thoughts and feelings following the robbery, John became less angry and more tolerant of others, and John began to feel less anxious going to work. John still struggled with nightmares and troubling memories of the robbery, so a gentle graded exposure program to the trauma memory was devised. Within a few weeks, the nightmares had stopped, and John was no longer plagued with intrusive memories of the robbery. By this time, John was feeling much happier within himself and was enjoying a return to coping with the day-to-day tasks of life.

How to get started

To get started, please book your private consultation with our caring practice administration staff. Just phone 5551 0251 or email us using the form on our Contact Us page linked here.