Millions of us fell silent today to mark the centenary of Armistice Day. Watching both my local memorial service and the BBC footage from the London cenotaph was a moving experience. It’s hard to imagine how it must have been for service people coming back from the wars, having experienced those traumatic situations and finding themselves back home with the expectation that life should carry on.
Of course, it is not just war veterans that are vulnerable to developing PTSD. Experiencing sexual assault, domestic violence, bereavement, witnessing violent crime and injury to others can also lead to a range of distressing symptoms. Nowadays, PTSD is a recognised and treatable mental health disorder. Clearly it is impossible to forget a traumatic event and that isn’t the aim of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. Instead CBT focuses on reframing events and challenging unhelpful thinking and behaviours that have become a consequence of the trauma. CBT is not a ‘cure’ for PTSD but it can help someone to build coping strategies and techniques to help reduce psychological distress.
Naturally we are all unique and not everyone who survives a traumatic event will go on to develop PTSD, but if you think you may be experiencing the symptoms please talk to someone. Your GP will be able to help you and signpost you to a mental health professional. Group therapy can be helpful and the NHS recommend both Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing) as suitable treatments.
I am an accredited CBT psychotherapist, working in Mountsorrel, LE12. I can help with the symptoms of trauma and PTSD.