PTSD Therapy is often sought after someone suffers a traumatic event in which their life, or the life of someone they care about is endangered (or even just believed to be endangered), or in which they were seriously injured (such as an accident, sexual assault, combat, or natural disaster). They may develop PTSD, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and their lives can be devastated. Individuals diagnosed with PTSD can experience recurrent images or thoughts of the trauma, what people typically refer to as “flashbacks”. These images or thoughts can make the person feel as if they are reliving the event again. They may begin to shake with fear or feel numb. They often have dreams of the trauma. They describe experiencing significant distress if they find themselves in situations that remind them of the trauma (for example hearing a song that was playing when they were hurt). People with PTSD may begin to avoid situations that remind them of the trauma. For example they may no longer drive on highways if the trauma involved an accident on a highway. They may find excuses to not go out after dark after being mugged at night time. They sometimes report a lack of interest in things they once enjoyed doing and feel detached from people they once felt close with. They often report difficulties sleeping, controlling anger, concentrating, and relaxing. Individuals who experience a trauma and go on to develop PTSD may need the help of therapy to feel better.
PTSD therapy can take on varied forms. One common one, that has good evidence for working, involves exposing the individual to situations and thoughts that remind them of the trauma. Clearly this does not sound like something someone who has been traumatized would want to do. As mentioned above, they often will avoid things that remind them of the event. Some people report that facing their traumas is too difficult and distressing. They are more likely to drop-out of such treatment.