Cognitive Behavior Therapy has been used to treat a great many types of conditions and disorders. Among the most devastating emotional conditions is post-traumatic stress disorder, also known as PTSD. When experienced early on in life it can significantly alter the course of emotional development and even impact one’s physical health. In more serious cases it can lead to serious eating disorders, drug abuse, violent behaviors, panic attacks, major depression and even suicide. The extremely high rates of suicide in the military reflect how serious an impact significant trauma can have on a person.
Post-traumatic stress is not limited to military personnel who are exposed to life threatening situations in combat and involved in horrific acts of violence on the battlefield. PTSD can affect anyone: fireman, policeman, ambulance personnel, bystanders, etc.
Post-traumatic stress is also seen in individuals who have been exposed to natural disasters like earthquakes and hurricanes, those who are involved in serious auto accidents, victims of violent crimes, domestic violence and childhood, physical, sexual and emotional abuse.
Cognitive behavior therapy is made up of many types of methods and approaches, several of which are particularly useful in treating PTSD. Psychologists and other mental health professionals undergo specialized training in these methods to be able to work effectively with post-traumatic stress disorder and related conditions.
One method that I have been using for perhaps 20 years now is known as EMDR or eye movement desensitization and reprocessing. I have had some very good results with a number of serious PTSD cases in a relatively short period of time. For some, the therapy is life changing and I am humbled and grateful to have the tools to make such a big difference in people’s lives.
Often times, people with PTSD who have had it for some years have been to many therapists and been on a variety of medications without significant relief. With EMDR, I have seen many clients significantly improve and in a number of cases, rid themselves of their symptoms completely.
EMDR treatment for PTSD is generally short term (3 months to a year). However, in my experience, sessions that are 90 minutes in length and held twice weekly, especially during the active treatment phases, tend to produce the best results.
I am not a scientist or a researcher, but as a psychologist and cognitive behavior therapist, I read and understand the research and much of it, both clinical trials and scientific studies largely support the usefulness of EMDR in the treatment of post traumatic stress.
If you or someone you know is suffering, know that help is available. EMDR trained psychologists and other mental health professionals are available world wide to help you live a trauma free life.