Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy for PTSD
The First Sessions
After the assessment stage of therapy you will work in sessions to understand how distress that you're feeling now, relates to the traumatic experience. This is usually drawn out as a diagram, so that we can both share ideas about this.
Then, we will look at activities that have been neglected since the traumatic experience. For some people, this looks like engaging in hobbies or maintaining relationships with friends. These are some of the things that we don't feel doing when we're struggling with symptoms of PTSD.
If needed, relaxation exercises can be discussed in the first sessions - these can help people to get back into positive behaviours like socialising and hobbies.
Next up is the focus on the traumatic experience/s that have led to you experiencing difficulties. In CBT, this is done by talking through the traumatic experience at your own pace, paying attention to details about the incident, as I ask you about thoughts and feelings that come up. For many clients, this is very difficult, so you should know that clients remain in control of the session during this work. I will encourage you to discuss things, and notice thoughts and feelings, but as soon as you want to stop or take a break, that's what we will do.
As I've written, this is difficult work for clients, but here's why it is necessary:
The Final Sessions
Once you feel ready to move on, we can look towards ending therapy sessions. Before ending sessions, we would ensure that memories of the traumatic incident can be recalled without high levels of distress. Also, we will think of ways to continue feeling better, and plan for setbacks in the future. Some people find that booking a follow up appointment can help to make sure that things are still going well.