Trauma can have a lasting impact. The experience of a traumatic incident such as a rape, domestic violence, physical or sexual abuse can cause prolonged suffering that can last a lifetime. Witnessing someone being severely injured or dying also has disastrous effects. The severity, duration, proximity to (direct or witnessed) and type of traumatic event are the most significant risk factors for developing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Directly experienced traumatic events e.g.:
Witnessed traumatic events e.g.:
Whether or not the event was perpetrated in a sadistic manner (e.g. torture, rape) or occurred accidentally (e.g. fire), can affect whether a person develops PTSD and whether the disorder is acute, chronic or has a delayed onset of symptoms.
Therapeutic strategies and medication are important for reducing these debilitating symptoms. Without treatment individuals with PTSD can suffer profoundly. Over time, if symptoms are not treated, further problems can develop such as:
CPT offers two forms of counselling for those at risk or who are suffering from PTSD.
De-briefing sessions are usually conducted as soon after the event as possible. The session usually lasts about 2 hours. A debriefing session typically involves a discussion of the event, the person’s reactions to it and coping strategies. De-briefing sessions are commonly used to help rescue -workers, classmates of students who die in car accidents or as a result of a violent attack (e.g. victims of random violence, mugging etc and survivors of terrorist attacks).
Therapy is generally necessary in the treatment of PTSD. The goal of therapy in the treatment of PTSD is to help the person address and manage painful memories until they no longer cause disabling symptoms. This begins after a safe relationship is established between the client and therapist. The process involves gradually working through the traumatic event and the client’s reactions to it, validating the client’s experiences, repairing damage done to their identity and helping them to deal with loss.