Psychotherapy For PTSD: The Most Effective Treatment Options For Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
When we think of a treatment option for mental health disorders, the first thing that comes up is psychotherapy. And with so many types of psychotherapy approaches, can we find the one that works best for treating post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD?
When we talk about the symptoms of PTSD, they can range from night terrors to flashbacks to hyperalertness. These symptoms can cause severe distress to your emotional, physical, and mental health as well as make it harder for you to function.
Fortunately, with the right support, treatment, and therapy you can recover from PTSD or learn to cope with the symptoms without losing your overall well-being.
But the question that remains is; Is psychotherapy good for PTSD? If yes, then what are the psychotherapy treatments you should opt for?
Well, don’t fret! In this blog, let’s discover the types of psychotherapy for PTSD and if they are the right treatments for you!
Psychotherapy And PTSD
Psychotherapy is a set of different approaches that can help you with changing your negative behaviors, feelings, and thoughts that may be causing you despair.
There are many approaches and techniques under psychotherapy and each one of them is based on certain beliefs and ideas of our minds and experiences. One such effective approach is trauma-informed therapy.
Many psychologists believe that trauma is more about the impact on your nervous system than about the event itself. With trauma-informed therapy, you can learn to identify how the traumatic event has affected your overall wellness.
Types Of Psychotherapy For PTSD
As our reactions to trauma might differ, so does our response to the treatment and the type of psychotherapy. What works for you might not work on others and vice versa. However, some psychotherapy options can effectively treat symptoms of PTSD.
1. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing or EMDR is a type of psychotherapy that works effectively when it comes to treating PTSD. EMDR uses eye movements (similar to REM sleep) to help reduce information processing and the effects of trauma.
REM sleep or rapid eye movement is what occurs during the second part of our sleep cycle – when you have vivid dreams and when your brain is most active. With EMDR treatment, you remember what happened but you won’t struggle with overwhelming feelings of pain you experienced during the trauma.
2. Exposure Therapy
Exposure therapy can help you reconnect to the trauma you experienced in a controlled environment. This therapy can help you face your fears and learn to identify your triggers so that your reaction to them decreases.
With about 12-15 weekly sessions, you’ll be gradually exposed to your fears and triggers to help you eventually understand and cope with them. Many experts believe that exposure therapy is effective in treating chronic and repetitive symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.
3. Cognitive Restructuring
Cognitive restructuring is one of the techniques of cognitive-behavioral therapy or CBT. Cognitive restructuring is when a therapist combines a group of methods that seek to help you make sense of the trauma and your response to it.
Cognitive restructuring can help you identify your irrelevant thought patterns and distortions. These cognitive distortions can even worsen your symptoms such as anger, anxiety, or shame. Once you identify these distortions, a therapist can help you reframe such thoughts.
With this therapy approach, you can learn to look at certain traumatic situations from a different viewpoint that can help relieve some of your stress caused by trauma.
Is Psychotherapy For PTSD Effective?
Many psychologists believe that many PTSD symptoms can be managed with the help of psychotherapy. If you’ve survived trauma and if you find a professional with whom you can connect with then you may feel heard without judgment and any struggle.
It’s important to share your story and the struggles you face for you to heal. With psychotherapy, it is possible!
Other symptoms psychotherapy for PTSD can help ease include:
- Intrusive thoughts
- Racing thoughts
- Nightmares, and
- Night terrors
PTSD Group Therapy vs Individual Therapy
Now that you’re aware of the different types of psychotherapy for PTSD, you should take a look at the pros and cons of individual and group therapy before you decide to go ahead with the treatment.
And while it’s your decision, you can try both and see which one suits you the best. All you need to care about is whether or not you’re comfortable (and feel supported) in your choice of therapy.
A. Group Therapy for PTSD:
In group therapy for PTSD, you get a sense of validation, the sense that you’re not alone, and you get social support. However, in PTSD group therapy, you might feel uncomfortable sharing your experiences or you might struggle with anxiety if you’re not comfortable in social settings.
B. Individual Therapy for PTSD:
In individual therapy, you can get a more personal and customized experience and one-on-one therapy can even allow you to express emotions more openly than in a social or group setting. However, individual therapy can be a little more expensive than group therapy and you might not get to hear others’ experiences.
In the end, the decision is yours and it all comes down to if you’re comfortable with your chosen therapy or not.
Is Online Psychotherapy For PTSD Useful?
Online therapy has seen a lot of progress these recent years and with the pandemic still a threat, many people find reaching out for help via telehealth more effective and safe. But is online psychotherapy for PTSD helpful?
Yes! Many experts believe that online counseling can help decrease the stress that PTSD causes. In some recent research, it was found that cognitive-behavioral therapy sessions conducted online were as effective as offline sessions.
For PTSD, you may benefit from online psychotherapy as long as you have a comprehensive therapeutic approach.
However, there are some cons to online psychotherapy for PTSD. Online therapy doesn’t allow your therapist to read your body language. And while reading body language may not be as important, it can help improve the patient-therapist interaction.
Other Things To Keep In Mind…
Not only psychotherapy but PTSD can also be treated by taking prescribed medications and engaging in self-help strategies. Other options that can help manage the symptoms can include:
Please remember that with the right treatment, recovering from PTSD is possible. If you’re unsure which of the above-mentioned treatment is best for you, then you can experiment with different approaches to find the one that works best for you.
It is highly recommended that you perform these trials and errors under a mental health professional’s guidance. Psychotherapy for PTSD can help you unravel your jumbled thoughts and feelings while helping you restore your faith in the world.
Healing from any trauma might take time so don’t lose hope and be patient with yourself even if you slip up. You can always find help by connecting with a professional by clicking on the link below. BetterHelp offers reliable and affordable treatments by trained and experienced therapists.
For more, you can always reach out to us at email@example.com or DM us on social media. We’re here to help you. Let us know what you think about the above-mentioned options of psychotherapy for PTSD in the comments below!