Trauma Trilogy, III

Which PTSD Treatments Can Make Things Worse?

February 28, 2021  8:00 AM MST
Part 3 of a combined 90 minute session
CEU’s available

Description:  It has long been recognized that people who have been through very traumatic experiences often need help if they are to fully recover. A long-established approach is to get victims to ʻre-liveʼ their trauma, either by ʻtalking it throughʼ or even, most cruelly, by hypnotically reliving it as it happened.

This workshop will explore why talking about the trauma, even just trying to put what happened into words, can actually worsen a victimʼs trauma by re-activating it in the brain, and embedding it deeper.  If a trauma victim is debriefed in a state of high emotion, the process can increase the arousal to the point of overload, trapping the sensory impressions in the Amygdala.

This is why so called ʻcritical incident debriefingʼ, where disaster survivors are encouraged to ʻtalk it outʼ can itself be a disaster for the 25% of people who remain severely traumatized after an event. For these victims, it is an irresponsible and dangerous approach.

This workshop will help facilitators know if your clientʼs worst memories are still “live.” Feeling as if they are happening now – even if they are about events that happened decades ago. We will discuss the therapeutic techniques that run the risk of creating severe client distress and may not be comfortable or effective for everyone. By not relying on a “formula” clinicians can be more adaptive and responsive to the unique needs of their clients.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Explain why getting people to ʻreliveʼ their trauma is not therapy for those with PTSD.
  2. Understand how memories are laid down as immediate impressions in the brain, and the process to store those memories in the neocortex.
  3. List the techniques and trauma treatments that are effective in helping those who have developed long lasting PTSD to recover.