A general run-down of trauma therapy techniques can be found in an article written by Dr. Bharati Vendgadasalam running in Sunday's Malaysia Star. Topics covered include:
- Anxiety Management
- Exposure Therapy
- Cognitive Therapy
- Creative therapy: sand-play therapy, art therapy
- Holistic Health
- Social Support
[N]ot everybody who experiences trauma will suffer from PTSD. In fact, when given adequate support, most people recover without needing specific psychotherapy. It is when the person’s natural recovery is disrupted that specialised trauma therapies are needed.
Professional help is indicated when the intensity of trauma symptoms do not subside over weeks or months, when symptoms cause severe distress or when a person’s socio- occupational functioning or daily functioning is compromised. Therapies ought to be tailored to suit the needs of the particular individual in that particular circumstance of trauma. In fact the therapy ought to be adapted to the individual, not vice versa.
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In educational interest, article(s) quoted from extensively.
A portion from the piece:
Creative therapy: sand-play therapy, art therapy
Children are a unique population who are often unable to express their feelings or describe the traumatic event(s). Thus they require more creative therapies using toys, art, games, and sand-play. This form becomes a means of non-threatening symbolic communication to express difficult or unspeakable truths and inner conflicts. These therapies have also been used as adjunctive therapies in adults.
When appropriate, medications are prescribed. Judicious use of specific serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant medication has been found to alleviate symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorders.
SSRIs are often needed when symptoms are severe and persistent, there is coexisting depression, or when psychotherapy alone has not relieved the symptoms.
The duration of treatment varies between six months to two years before the medication is tapered off. Recurring symptoms will need more long-term treatment.
Anti-anxiety medications including benzodiazepines on the other hand should be used only briefly, if used at all, to suppress severe anxiety reactions. These tend to be sedative, impair coordination and induce physical dependence in those who use them for prolonged periods.
Alongside main therapies, there are simple therapeutic interventions such as exercise or physical activity, spirituality, reading inspirational literature and ensuring proper nutrition. Adopting a healthy exercise regimen reduces the stress arousal and aids in general wellbeing.
Family support greatly aids healing and facilitates social reintegration of the individual. By being empathetic listeners, the family can help reduce feelings of loneliness, guilt and self-blame.
Family members also ought not to expect too much or too little from the patient but on instead be realistic during the period of recovery. Working with the family may not always be feasible or beneficial, such as in the case of incestuous sexual abuse wherein family members do not accept the disclosure.
Support can be provided or supplemented by good self-help groups led by sensitive and trained facilitators. Often, this helps remove a sense of isolation through sharing of experiences.