Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a condition in which a trauma from your past keeps you on edge or terrified in the present moment. Even though years or decades may have passed since you first experienced the trauma, it’s still with you.
About 8% of women and 4% of men in the United States develop PTSD at some point in their lives. When you constantly relive your trauma, you may feel that you have no future. You’re a prisoner of your past, and you don’t know how to move forward.
At The Soho Center for Mental Health, our team of expert counselors utilize traditional and cutting-edge therapies to treat PTSD at our offices in Greenwich Village, Manhattan, New York City. In some instances, we hold sessions via teletherapy on a secure online portal.
If you have PTSD, we help you leave the past behind and move into your future with less fear and more confidence. Following are a few of the therapies that can help you overcome trauma once and for all. You may benefit from any one or possibly several of the following therapies.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a form of talk therapy in which you learn to challenge intrusive thoughts or beliefs and replace them with more positive thoughts. As a consequence of trauma, for example, you may believe that “I can’t trust anybody.” This may prevent you from forming intimate partnerships and friendships, and it may even affect your job performance.
Through CBT, you identify the unconscious beliefs that guide your behaviors and thoughts. When you realize that they aren’t helpful, you use techniques to challenge them and change them to newer, more helpful beliefs and thoughts.
By changing the way you think about the world, you also change the way you react to it. Over time, you find that you form and maintain meaningful relationships while also respecting your own boundaries and needs.
An episode of PTSD may be accompanied by physical symptoms, such as rapid heartbeat or shallow breathing. We teach you methods that you use to calm yourself when you’re in a triggering situation.
You may practice deep-breathing techniques, meditation, and journaling to help you identify trauma triggers and step away from them. Once you let go of the physical stress that keeps you in a state of high alert, you may find it easier to talk about your traumatic memories, process them, and leave them behind.
Sometimes medications are necessary to calm your overstimulated nervous system. Selective, short-term use of medications ensures that you don’t overreact to loud noises or visual stimuli that trigger traumatic memories.
Once your nervous system is calm, you view your life more objectively. Medications are used in conjunction with therapies that help you process trauma.
One of the most exciting evidence-based therapies for PTSD is called eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR). This short-term therapy consists of eight phases:
The concept behind EMDR is that when we’re in a relaxed state, we easily move our eyes side to side, scanning our environment while feeling safe. In contrast, when we feel threatened, our focus becomes laser-pointed and we stare ahead, ready to face the threat.
By pairing traumatic memories with relaxing bilateral eye movements, your brain actually processes those memories in a different way. They’re no longer threatening and don’t trigger a PTSD episode.
An advantage to EMDR is that it’s a fast-acting, long-lasting therapy. Most people only need one to three months of weekly sessions that last from 50-90 minutes.
You don’t have to feel victimized by your past any longer. Get help by contacting our team for an in-depth consultation and customized PTSD treatment today. Our office also offers teletherapy via a secure online portal.