Q. My therapy for PTSD makes me worse.
When I work directly on my Traumatic Events, I end up
locked in the pain. And when I ignore the past I end up in a very odd
state of mind. I go on cutting sprees and I become really suicidal.
I know these are bad and wrong yet I can't stop it. The only good thing
about it is I don't feel any pain or turmoil.
What do I do?
A. Safe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Work
When you are in a crisis, the last thing you need to do
is active process work on your PTSD symptoms. I know, I know, most people
think that is what PTSD therapy is. But not in the beginning.
At the same time, you want to insure your personal safety.
For this, I’d suggest you read this excellent article, Understanding
Self Injury by Stuart Sorensen RMN.
You are important, your life is important. Active process
PTSD therapy is very demanding and you need to be able to comfort and
care for yourself before you can do that kind of work. So, I’d say that
your experiences with your trauma work are normal.
People learn emotional self-care at home from their parents.
If you grew up in an abusive childhood, you didn’t learn good emotional
self-care. Again, this makes you normal….not sick or ‘crazy’. Emotional
self-care is made up of all the nurturing actions people do to comfort
a baby when he or she is hurt, hungry, tired, lonely, cold, hot, sick,
upset, or frightened.
This is usually where I begin with people who are hurting
badly like you are. We make up an inner comforting parent. Then you
one at a time begin to put into action those behaviors that make you
Often you can find this information from a therapist who
has trained as a child therapist or someone skilled in cognitive behavioral
treatment. To find out, you can actually call them on the telephone
and ask them how they work. Some people call every licensed therapist
in their local telephone book to find a therapist who can work with
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