“Time Perspective Therapy is a powerful breakthrough at a time when
the need has never been greater.” Dr. Phil McGraw.
Having specialized in trauma, grief and loss of the past eight years here in our mountain community, I am deeply aware of the pain and suffering those with PTSD endure: the horrifying nightmares and flashbacks, the hyper vigilant dread they live with from moment to moment, the many aspects of life they try desperately to avoid to not trigger frightening memories and the numbing disassociation of trying to escape from unbearable feelings and the anger, depression and anxiety they live with.
I know how often friends and loved ones don’t understand. How they keep asking “Why can’t you get over it?” and tell them repeatedly “just get past it,” “move on,” “cheer up.” I know they do this not out of malice but because they truly don’t understand and that only adds to the pain that those with PTSD must endure.
Also I know also that many professionals and much of the literature claim that nothing can “cure” PTSD. Many of the popular treatment methods are aimed at enabling one to cope with symptoms that they are told they will have to manage for life.
My Special Report, Are You or Your Loved One Suffering from PTSD?, focuses on helping those whose lives PTSD touches understand that PTSD is not really an illness; it is a mental injury, a normal reaction to traumatic events that we can no more “just get over” than someone can just get over a broken leg without the proper treatment.
Studies show that traumatic experiences can alter “the structure of the brain” and can be seen as physical, chemical injuries to the brain. Like any injury these injuries need treatment. It has been shown that while medication may help, research makes clear drugs alone are not the best way to assure healing.
So the problem has been finding treatment that does heal the wounds we call PTSD. Sadly, as the National Center for PTSD website points out, the methods considered to be of most success so far aren’t recommended or found to be helpful for many people PTSD, i.e. those experiencing excessive avoidance, extreme anxiety, grief or panic reactions, substance abuse, depression, suicide risk, poor motivation, and those living with ongoing stressors – any one or a combination of which are common with PSTD.
In some cases the most recognized methods reportedly not only don’t help, but actually make the injuries worse. I see examples of this too often as clients with PTSD come to me feeling more alone and more damaged than before previous treatment they tried that required them to go over and over the trauma narrative or to endure prolonged exposure to the very things that cause them the greatest pain.
As I mentioned in the Special Report, recently new treatments have been developed and carefully research that have become highly effective with a broader range of people. One of those is Time Perspective Therapy (TPT), an approach developed by Harvard University professor emeritus and researcher Phillip Zimbardo, PhD and clinicians Richard Sword, who served as lead psychologist for the National Disaster Medical System in Region IX, and Rosemary Sword both of whom have worked with veterans from World War II to Iraq and Afghanistan.
Starting from the premise that PTSD is an injury to a person’s time perspective, TPT honors but does not dwell primarily on the trauma that caused the injury, just as a doctor would not dwell primarily on how a patient came to break a his or her leg, but focuses instead on healing the imbalance that injury has caused to client’s relationship to time. The goal is to shift the brain’s time orientation from the traumatic past to an enjoyable present and a positive future.
Rooted in psychological research TPT does this through a step-by-step process that has proven effective with a wide range of trauma victims from veterans to survivors of accidents, assault, abuse and catastrophic natural disasters, as well as those on the front lines of responding to the aftermath of trauma such as firefighters, homicide detectives, search and rescue workers, coroners forensic dentists and incident command staff.
I find TPT to not only be helpful to PTSD clients but also to provide the hope of knowing they won’t have to live with these symptoms forever. This is true especially when my counseling is combined with Coherence Therapy. Coherence Therapy also recognizes the symptoms of PTSD as natural, necessary reactions to a severe injury and provides a way for the specific emotional wounds of the past that powerfully require the presence of these symptoms despite the misery they cause to be coherently re-integrated, healed and permanently dissolved.
If you believe you or a loved one is suffering from PTSD, please contact me to find out more about these exciting new treatments.