PTSD, or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, can be an incredibly difficult thing to go through. It can cause nightmares, flashbacks, and very uncomfortable symptoms. While there are many different personal coping strategies that can be used, including journaling, exercise, and using self-soothing techniques, sometimes it’s helpful to discuss these symptoms with a professional. Here are just a few reasons why seeing a therapist may help improve PTSD symptoms.
- Emotional Support: Given that PTSD is a mental illness, symptoms may not always be apparent to others. These invisible symptoms may make individuals feel alone and like they have no one to confide in. A therapist can provide individuals with emotional support simply by being there and allowing an individual to share their own story. This process can show them that they’re not alone in their diagnosis and that they deserve support.
- Validation: Sometimes, individuals with PTSD may struggle to discuss the difficulties they face as a result of their diagnosis. This can be for many reasons, including stigma, lack of support from family and friends, and the hidden nature of the illness. A therapist can provide validation to these individuals by using techniques such as empathizing and active listening. Through the process of validating individuals, they can feel like their fears and concerns are recognized and addressed. This can strengthen the therapeutic bond as sessions progress.
- Developing New Healthy Coping Strategies: Healthy Coping strategies of any kind can be helpful, as they allow us to do something that actively gets our mind off things and lessens symptom severity. However, sometimes our strategies may not work or be as effective as they once were. A therapist can help those struggling with PTSD by targeting their individual symptoms and working with them on different things they can try. Through trial, error, and discussion, a therapist and client can develop a set of different coping strategies that can be used the next time PTSD symptoms occur. This may also give individuals a greater sense of control over their symptoms because they now have a set plan to help manage them.
- Healing in Community: While individual therapy can be incredibly helpful, sometimes it’s beneficial to receive support from those who have been where you are. Group therapy addressing PTSD can help clients feel like they have a community of fellow individuals struggling with PTSD symptoms, and allow them to receive support from those who know exactly what they’ve gone through. Individual therapy can also be used in conjunction to discuss anything that has gone on in the group, allowing clients to receive support on multiple levels.
While PTSD can be difficult to manage, it doesn’t have to define you. If you feel like you’re struggling and would like help, feel free to set up a consultation with one of our clinicians to receive the support you deserve.
Written by Jessica Karim