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Treatment of Trauma and PTSD

Many women come to treatment who have had major traumatic experiences in their lifetimes. Some women have been able to integrate and heal trauma in out-patient therapy, but many women need the safety and more intensive support of a holistic treatment center such as Mirasol while processing their traumatic experiences.

Mirasol's environment is conducive to healing PTSD as well as complex PTSD. PTSD may be complicated by addictive behaviors or eating disorders, or a dual-diagnosis which may include unaddressed psychiatric disorders. A dual-diagnosis makes it all the more difficult for someone to engage in trauma treatment.

Healing Trauma and PTSD is one of Mirasol's specialities. Mirasol offers a world class, cutting-edge treatment program for trauma clients with the latest in well-researched interventions.

Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy is "talk" therapy. It involves talking with a mental health professional to treat a mental illness. Psychotherapy can occur one-on-one or in a group. Talk therapy treatment for PTSD usually lasts 6 to 12 weeks, but can take more time. Research shows that support from family and friends can be an important part of therapy.

One helpful therapy is called cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT. There are several parts to CBT, including:

  1. Cognitive restructuring. This therapy helps people make sense of the bad memories. Sometimes people remember the event differently than how it happened. They may feel guilt or shame about what is not their fault. The therapist helps people with PTSD look at what happened in a realistic way
  2. Stress inoculation training. This therapy tries to reduce PTSD symptoms by teaching a person how to reduce anxiety. Like cognitive restructuring, this treatment helps people look at their memories, if they choose to, in a healthy way.

While "talk" therapy can be useful from an educational point of view and is the predominant therapy given to clients with PTSD in 90% of all treatment settings, the most sensitive and effective ways of delivering trauma treatment is through a series of therapies we use at Mirasol. In 90% of the cases, it's not even necessary for the client to "remember" the event, but to remember only the feelings they've experienced since the trauma.

Somatic Therapy

Somatic Therapy (ST) is introduced the first week of treatment for all clients because it is an effective way for emotional and physical stabilization. ST basically gives the client physical and emotional grounding skills so she can participate in the trauma program. ST is therapy aimed at relieving and resolving the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other mental and physical trauma-related health problems by focusing on the client's perceived body sensations (or somatic experiences). To be clear, it's not all about sexual abuse although many patients present with this kind of abuse. It can be a traumatic time in a hospital, an automobile accident, emotional abuse, etc.

The symptoms of trauma are the effect of an imbalance of the autonomic nervous system (ANS). ANS is not able to self-regulate because it has is undermined by trauma, and that the capacity to self-regulate can be restored by the procedures of Somatic Experiencing. Somatic Experiencing attempts to promote awareness and release of physical tension that proponents believe remains in the body in the aftermath of trauma.

Somatic Therapy is considered by its practitioners to be useful for two broad categories of trauma: shock trauma and developmental trauma. Shock trauma is loosely defined as a single-episode traumatic event such as a car accident, earthquake, battlefield incident, etc. Developmental trauma refers to various kinds of psychological damage that occur during child development when a child has insufficient attention from the primary caregivers, or an insufficiently nurturing relationship with the parent. ST restores self-regulation, and returns a sense of aliveness, relaxation and wholeness to traumatized individuals who have had these precious gifts taken away.

Traumatic experiences can produce feelings of anxiety, depression, despair,

hopelessness, reoccurring anger, self-blame, guilt, and shame, as well as sexual dysfunction, compulsive or aggressive behaviors, sleep disorders, and concentration problems.

EMDR

EMDR combines elements from various therapeutic disciplines, including cognitive, experiential and somatic therapies. However, EMDR is distinctly different from these other approaches in that it relies on bilateral stimulation to achieve results. In EMDR, a client is instructed to visually focus on something while they explore difficult emotional experiences or traumatic memories. At the same time, the therapist introduces noises, such as tapping or clapping, during a period of no more than a minute. The client and therapist then examine what emotions or feelings were elicited as a result of the exercise, and they use that information to begin the next set of stimulation. During EMDR, the rapid eye movement activates the client's neurological process and causes the client to become desensitized to disturbing memories.

Emotional Freedom Techniques

EFT has been proven clinically effective as a simple yet powerful way of releasing fears, phobias, anxieties, angers, addictions, and all kinds of emotional and physical issues.

It's akin to acupuncture, which is based on the concept that a vital energy flows through your body along invisible pathways known as meridians. EFT stimulates different energy meridian points in your body by tapping them with your fingertips, while simultaneously using custom-made verbal affirmations. This can be done alone or under the supervision of a qualified therapist. By doing so, you help your body eliminate emotional "scarring" and reprogram the way your body responds to emotional stressors. Since these stressors are usually connected to physical problems, many people's diseases and other symptoms can improve or disappear as well.

As we look at the symptoms or conditions frequently disappear when EFT is used, it seems like they've included every possible condition! It's all possible.

EFT Can Provide Relief From:

  • Addictive Cravings, including food, cigarettes, alcohol, and drugs
  • Allergies, including food, environmental, even unknown
  • Anger
  • Anxiety and Panic Attacks
  • Breathing Difficulties
  • Children's Issues, including bedwetting
  • Compulsions and Obsessions
  • Depression and Sadness
  • Dyslexia
  • Fears and Phobias, including fear of public speaking, fear of heights, fear of flying, and fear of rejection
  • Grief, Loss and Love Pain
  • Guilt
  • Habits such as Nail Biting
  • Insomnia
  • Negative Memories
  • Nightmares
  • Pain & Symptom Management, including fibromyalgia, arthritis, headaches, back & neck pain, carpel tunnel syndrome, rotator cuff pain, and TMJ
  • Physical Trauma
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Procrastination
  • Sexual Abuse Issues
  • Side Effects from Medications, including neuropathy and rosacea
  • Stress
  • Stomach Problems

Use EFT To Enhance:

  • Concentration
  • Confidence
  • Emotional Control
  • Healing & Recovery
  • Job, School & Sports Performance
  • Financial Security
  • Relationships
  • Relaxation
  • Self-Image and Self-Esteem
  • For the purposes of the trauma program at Mirasol, when EFT is used in combination with ST, TRE, and EMDR, the healing can seem unbelievable.

TRE

TRE is a series of Trauma Releasing Exercises that can benefit anyone who may be holding stress and tension in their body, including clients with trauma and PTSD. TRE™ is a set of exercises used and participants can see instant results which can be preferred by many over Somatic Experiencing, and can also be more effective for treating residual and complex PTSD as well as reduce the risk for retraumatization that is possible with other trauma modalities such as EMDR.

Somatic therapies are similar to TRE, EMDR and EFT in that they integrate the physical body into the therapeutic process. However, traditional somatic therapies, also known as body-centered psychotherapies, incorporate the whole body in order to gain awareness and insight. In somatic therapy, clients are taught how to focus on the present moment by listening to their breathing and their body sensations. Stress, pain, trauma and other negative emotions are remembered both cognitively and physically, and can manifest through pain, injury or illness. Somatic exercises teach a client how to identify the emotional distress in their physical bodies. With this awareness, a client can then use physical and mental exercises to remove the emotional blockage that results in discomfort. Somatic therapies integrate creativity, meditation, movement and attention to achieve positive a mind, body and spirit.

In this video interview, Executive Director Diane Ryan and Trauma Therapist Ann Twilley describe how and why Mirasol Eating Disorder Treatment Centers developed its specialization in treatment of eating disorders with co-occurring complex trauma and PTSD.

FREE Eating Disorder Support Group!

FREE weekly eating disorder support group for adults struggling with food issues, staffed by therapists from Mirasol Eating Disorder Recovery Centers. Thursdays from 5:30-6:45 pm at 3116 N Swan in Tucson. For more information, call 520-546-3200 or email Ann at support@mirasol.net.

"Mirasol is light years ahead of any other program in the country."