Getting the most from your PTSD treatment
CHOOSING A THERAPIST OR PRACTITIONER
If you are receiving treatment through the NHS, you may be unable to ‘choose’ your therapist, but if you are looking for private treatment, choosing the right therapist for you is really important.
Beyond credentials and experience, it’s important to find a PTSD therapist who makes you feel comfortable and safe, so there is no additional fear or anxiety about the treatment itself – this will set you on the path to recovery that is focused, appropriate and geared toward the sensitive issues that are unique to PTSD healing.
Some things to bear in mind are:
- Trust your gut: If a therapist doesn’t feel right, look for someone else. For therapy to work, you need to feel respected and understood.
- Find a therapist who is specifically trauma-trained: PTSD treatment and recovery is a complex process that is best undertaken under the direction of someone who truly understands the science behind the symptoms of PTSD, plus the most important components of healing. Look for a psychologist or therapist who holds qualifications in trauma treatment and approach methods that are documented for PTSD.
- Interview or have a trial session where possible: You have the right to ask any questions you feel you need answers to. It can help to make a list of questions to take with you, perhaps about their training, work history, and success with other PTSD clients.
HOW DO I MAKE THE MOST OF THERAPY AND REACH TOWARDS RECOVERY?
To get the most from your therapist and embrace the healing process from PTSD, follow these tips:
- Believe: If you don’t believe you can make a full recovery, you won’t. Trust that you can recover from PTSD and know that tomorrow can be a new day.
- Set goals: It’s all very well saying ‘I want to feel better’ but it’s quite vague and difficult to measure. Start your recovery process clearly with goals such as ‘I want to be able to go out alone’ or ‘I want to be able to sleep a whole night through’ and you can measure these successes as they come along.
- Get involved: Ask as many questions as you need, understand the process, talk things through. The therapist is there to guide you through recovery and the treatment, but ultimately, you need to do the hard work.
- Take Action: Recovery only happens because you happen. If you remain passive and static, so will your recovery. Taking actions toward each goal is so important and helps build momentum.
- Give yourself some ‘me’ time: Recovery can be tough and tiring process, so make sure to give yourself some time off and love.
- Be open: There are lots of approaches to recovery and reducing PTSD symptoms, so be open to things which can augment your treatment, or help you keep motivated to healing.
- Build your confidence: PTSD can knock your confidence, so help your recovery process by doing things to build your self-esteem and worth.
- Get Support: As you probably know, PTSD can be very isolating, so try to find one person you can trust and talk things over with during your recovery. If you have no-one, you can call Samaritans on 116 123 for a friendly chat.
- Work between your session where required: For some therapies like EMDR, you’re best to relax, but for some therapies and processes, there may be ‘work’ to do – speak to your therapist for the best course of action.
If you feel that your recovery isn’t progressing as you’d hoped, it’s important to understand the recovery process to ensure that you’re not putting any blockers in place of your healing.
Treatments for PTSD
It is possible for PTSD to be successfully treated many years after the traumatic event occurred, which means it is never too late to seek help. For some, the first step may be watchful waiting, then exploring therapeutic options such as individual or group therapy – but the main treatment options in the UK are psychological treatments such as Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprogramming (EMDR) and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).
Traumatic events can be very difficult to come to terms with, but confronting and understanding your feelings and seeking professional help is often the only way of effectively treating PTSD. You can find out more in the links below, or here.
PTSD UK Blog
You’ll find up-to-date news, research and information here along with some great tips to ease your PTSD in our blog.
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