PTSD usually occurs after a person has been exposed to a situation which threatens great physical danger or when physical harm occurs (to themselves or to another). Such events could include incidents witnessed or experienced in operations that took place in the armed forces. Acts of violence, disaster scenes or violent assaults could also trigger PTSD.
In my therapeutic clinic in Hertfordshire, I’ve noticed that those with PTSD may exhibit a variety of symptoms. Some become very detached and “numb” losing interest in their old way of life and the people they used to be close to, becoming aggressive, violent or no longer affectionate, others may be very jumpy and sensitive. Particular triggers such as sounds/smells/images/feelings associated with the event may create an emotional response. Quite often those with PTSD also experience flashbacks. This is a spontaneous repeat of the memory of the event that may be triggered by the sounds/smells etc associated with the event or the flashbacks may also occur as dreams when sleeping. Often thoughts of the event will then continue to occur throughout the day. Other anxiety disorders such as depression are often associated with PTSD.
It can be useful to establish how the person is representing the flashbacks and memories of the event to themselves in their mind. Those who are experiencing a great deal of emotional pain from the incident will usually replay the memory fully associated, seeing it through their own eyes as if they were actually there. Those who see the memories and flashbacks dissociated (as if they are watching themselves in the event), usually have a lesser degree of pain from the event when they remember it in the now.
Techniques such as the NLP fast phobia cure can be used to help the brain interrupt the experience normally associated with the memory and allow the mind to re-code the event so that the incident is altered and desensitized. EFT (Emotion Focussed Therapy) has also proved to be effective in treating PTSD as it realigns the body’s natural energy systems. Using eye movement patterns in addition to tapping also gives the brain an added opportunity to desensitize and reprogram old memories.
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By Gemma Bailey