Psychological Trauma and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Psychological trauma affects the brain and causes irregularities in the nervous system. Psychological Trauma can be caused by accidents, natural disasters such as floods, or hearing about sudden death. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an emotional trauma as a result of an unexpected incident and nothing can be done to prevent it. The trauma can be caused by child abuse, rape, civilian disaster, or war. Psychological trauma is aphasic relieving and denial which interchanges between intrusive and numbing responses. Intrusive responses are hyper-reactive, explosive, or outbursts. They are a result of the frequent recall of flashbacks, or occurrences of nightmares. Persons that are traumatized have a poor tolerance for psychological and physiological arousal (Bessel, 1987).

Consequences of psychological trauma or post-traumatic stress disorder

The trauma directs one to hate and act against others, these results in social and emotional withdraws from others. Intrusive responses lead to intentional reforms example, victims of sexual assaults may decide to be prostitutes. If the symptoms of psychological trauma persist, results in post traumatized stress disorder (Brieve & Scott, 2006).

Treatment of psychological trauma

Methods such as cognitive behavioral therapy and pharmacotherapy are used to treat psychological trauma or post traumatized stress disorder. Cognitive behavior therapy for the treatment of psychological trauma changes one’s thoughts on the distressing events and helps to have a positive attitude towards life. It is based on education and training, where the client expresses his or her feeling to the therapist who guides. Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) is a psychotherapeutic method that helps to solve problems related to emotion, behavior or cognition. It is based solely on the treatment of anxiety, stress, Moods, drug abuse, psychotic disorders such as PTSD. CBT is very effective in the treatment of psychological trauma or PTSD as compared to pharmacological therapy (Bessel, 1987).

Cognitive behavior therapy is a long-term treatment, it applies to an individual and as well as a group setting. Its effectiveness is achieved where the counselor practices the skill of self-disclosure. Self-disclosure is the ability of the counselor or therapist to constructively share some experiences, behavior, or views with the client. This encourages the client to view the problems and feel freer to share. Several examples of cognitive-behavioral therapy have been developed and examined. Examples include cognitive restructuring, social skills therapy, exposure therapy and biofeedback. Exposure therapy treats phobia such as fear that can only run in one session. Cognitive restructuring therapy treats mental disorders such as depression, stress or trauma. Pharmacotherapy involves the treatment of psychological trauma using medication (Wilson, Mathew & Lindy, 2001).

Cognitive restructuring

Cognitive restructuring is a cognitive behavioral therapy that deals more with individual behavior and thoughts. It is very important in the treatment of post traumatized stress disorder, after undergoing therapy the patient is relieved of the symptoms. The most important core of cognitive restructure plays to the patient is changing negative thoughts on trauma and start thinking positively (Westbrook, Kennerley & Kirk, 2008).

Advantages of cognitive restructuring

Cognitive restructuring is time-limited, in that it gives results faster. The client undergoes the whole therapeutic process in an average of sixteen sessions as compared to other methods like pharmacotherapy where the patient may take drugs for more than a year. Cognitive restructuring is constructive in that in each therapeutic training session there is a specific list of items to be discussed. It is directive since it teaches patients to think for themselves rather than the therapist deciding for them. A therapeutic relationship between the client and therapist helps the client to have positive thinking towards her or his problems. This becomes more appropriate especially when the therapist shares her experiences. The client feels free to disclose all her or his problems. Cognitive restructuring is mainly based on education where patients are taught both theoretical and practical methods, and how to resolve their problems. It helps the client to learn their emotions and accept themselves. It is through education that the client identifies what is good and continues to do it (Bruce, 2006).

Disadvantages of cognitive restructuring

Cognitive restructuring analysis mostly brain damage such as trauma or PTSD. The treatment of such disorder is effectively treated by counseling and training, thus little medication is effective in treatment. Treatment of PTSD or mental disorder requires a therapist who is open-minded and understands prematurity. Many patients with post traumatized stress disorder need to be taught about how cognitive restructuring may be frustrating. Patients find it difficult to complete all the exposure sessions, they are cautioned on the challenges associated with learning. Cognitive avoidance is more difficult to control in imagines than in real exposure sessions. The patient can divert from a fear image by replacing it with worse thoughts, this weakens the effectiveness of cognitive restructuring therapy. Therapists face some difficulties using cognitive restructuring therapy to treat psychological trauma, where the patient argues on the problem discussed to avoid exposure. Therapy is also carried in a short period of time thus for a busy client may not complete the whole dose of treatment (Wilson, Mathew & Lindy, 2001).

Cognitive restructuring facilitates processing traumatic events and resolution of unhelpful belief in a patient who is unwilling to complete exposure. Cognitive restructuring teaches patients to systematically replace unhelpful thoughts with more helpful and realistic thoughts. It is more appropriate for a patient suffering from anxiety, stress or depression. A cognitive model of depression describes the way depressed patients describe events around them and influences emotional response to those events (Claudia & Becker, 2007).

Cognitive restructuring helps patients diagnosed with psychological trauma to think positively, became more balanced, and concludes on problems accurately. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is very effective in the treatment of anxiety and post-stress disorders. It is more accurate than using medication especially to a patient who complete their training session (Westbrook, Kennerley & Kirk, 2008).

Reference list

Bessel, A. V. (1987). Psychological trauma. USA: American Psychiatric Publishing Inc.

Brieve, J. & Scott, C. (2006). Psychological trauma and addition treatment. California: Sage publication.

Bruce, C. (2006). Principles of trauma and the developing brain. USA: Haworth press.

Claudia, Z. & Becker, B. (2007). Cognitive behavioral therapy for PTSDA case formulated approach. New York: Guilford press.

Westbrook, D. Kennerley, H. & Kirk, J. (2008). An introduction to cognitive behavioral therapy. Los Angeles: Sage publication.

Wilson, P. Mathew, J. & Lindy, D. (2001). Testing psychological trauma and post traumatic stress disorder. New York: Guilford press.