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Other Types of Counseling for PTSD - Topic Overview

Cognitive-behavioral therapy and SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) are the most effective treatments for PTSD. There is also evidence that eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) works. Some other kinds of counseling may be helpful in your recovery from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). But more evidence is needed to support these other treatments for PTSD.

Group therapy

Many people want to talk about their trauma with others who have had similar experiences.

In group therapy, you talk with a group of people who also have been through a trauma and who have PTSD. Sharing your story with others may help you feel more comfortable talking about your trauma. This can help you cope with your symptoms, memories, and other parts of your life.

Group therapy helps you build relationships with others who understand what you've been through. You learn to deal with emotions such as shame, guilt, anger, rage, and fear. Sharing with the group also can help you build self-confidence and trust. You'll learn to focus on your present life, rather than feeling overwhelmed by the past.

Brief psychodynamic psychotherapy

In this type of therapy, you learn ways of dealing with emotional conflicts caused by your trauma. This therapy helps you understand how your past affects the way you feel now.

Your therapist can help you:

  • Identify what triggers your stressful memories and other symptoms.
  • Find ways to cope with intense feelings about the past.
  • Become more aware of your thoughts and feelings, so you can change your reactions to them.
  • Raise your self-esteem.

Family therapy

PTSD can impact your whole family. Your kids or your partner may not understand why you get angry sometimes, or why you're under so much stress. They may feel scared, guilty, or even angry about your condition.

Family therapy is a type of counseling that involves your whole family. A therapist helps you and your family communicate, maintain good relationships, and cope with tough emotions. Your family can learn more about PTSD and how it is treated.

In family therapy, each person can express his or her fears and concerns. It's important to be honest about your feelings and to listen to others. You can talk about your PTSD symptoms and what triggers them. You also can discuss the important parts of your treatment and recovery. By doing this, your family will be better prepared to help you.

You may consider having individual therapy for your PTSD symptoms and family therapy to help you with your relationships.

For more information, see the topic Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: January 09, 2013
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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