If you have experienced a traumatic event, you may be wondering how a counsellor can help you. This article explores how taking part in counselling can help you process and recover from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Read on to find out more!
What is PTSD?
When you experience a traumatic event, it is common to go through a range of emotions. You may experience shock, disbelief or horror. You might feel afraid and find yourself reminded of the traumatic event over and over again. You may have started avoiding places, people or situations that remind you of the traumatic event. You may also suffer from sleep problems or physical symptoms such as headaches or stomachaches. These responses are all part of what is called post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
How can counselling help you overcome PTSD?
Counselling can provide you with the opportunity to process the traumatic event in a safe atmosphere. When you experience a traumatic event, your body can go into fight-or-flight mode. It releases adrenaline and other hormones that prepare your body for action. Unfortunately, these hormones do not automatically stop when the threat goes away, so if you remain stressed for too long, your body can struggle to return to normal. Counselling helps by allowing you to talk about how you feel and encouraging you to face what has happened. This process can help you to recognise the links between your traumatic experience and your current struggles. You can then take steps to address your feelings about the event, allowing you to move on with your life.
What exercises may you be asked to complete?
During counselling, you may be asked to complete some self-help exercises. These exercises can help you to process your traumatic experience by identifying any underlying issues that could be contributing to your PTSD symptoms. The exercises may focus on the trauma you experienced, using visualisation techniques or writing prompts. They can also look at any long-term experiences (such as childhood trauma) that may be affecting your ability to cope. Creative expression via art therapy or writing can help you work through your feelings. For example, you could write about how you felt during the traumatic event, the aftermath of trauma or how it affects you now. You could also create artwork about these topics, such as collages or paintings.
If you would like to find out more, you should contact a counsellor today.