Counseling for PTSD - Topic Overview
When you have
post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), dealing with
the past can be hard. Instead of telling others how you feel, you may keep your
feelings bottled up. But talking with a therapist can help you get
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is one type of
counseling. It appears to be the most effective type of counseling for PTSD. In
CBT, a therapist helps you deal with your feelings about the past. You'll have
weekly hour-long visits for a few weeks or months or as long as it takes for
you to feel better. CBT may help you have fewer PTSD symptoms over time.
Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) may also be an effective treatment.
What is cognitive therapy?
After a traumatic
event, you might blame yourself for things you couldn't have changed. For
example, a soldier may feel guilty about decisions he or she had to make during
war. Cognitive therapy, a type of CBT, helps you understand that the traumatic
event you lived through was not your fault.
In cognitive therapy,
your therapist helps you understand and change how you think about your trauma
and its aftermath. Your goal is to understand how certain thoughts about your
trauma cause you stress and make your symptoms worse.
learn to identify thoughts about the world and yourself that are making you
feel afraid or upset. With the help of your therapist, you will learn to
replace these thoughts with more accurate and less distressing thoughts. You
also learn ways to cope with feelings such as anger, guilt, and fear.