Sometimes experiencing the kinds of events described above is overwhelming and the natural healing and recovery process stalls, leaving us unable to make sense of our experience, and even life in general. Truths we formerly took for granted may now seem unreliable. We may respond by feeling vulnerable to attack, sensing the need to defend and protect ourselves at all times. We may experience intrusive recollections of the trauma, nightmares, haunting thoughts about what the experience means, problems sleeping, loss of interest in life and a diminished ability to experience pleasure, difficulty concentrating, or general irritability and anger. These symptoms center around four main clusters:
Well-meaning friends and relatives may think the problem is just a memory of the traumatic event that we can’t forget, and may counsel us to “just let it go.” But it isn’t simply a memory of the event. Rather, it may be a certain person, or a word, or smell, or sound or sight, or any combination of those things, that launches us immediately into that situation again, where we are again experiencing in real time, the emotions we experienced before. Far from a simple memory, post traumatic stress is an unwanted and often gravely feared re-experiencing of the event, over which we have little control.
As we attempt to cope with the new stress created by the experience of a trauma, one thing that occasionally occurs is a cycle consisting of:
. . . and so on.
Fortunately post-traumatic stress can be successfully treated! At The Banyan Group we employ an evidence-based protocol, Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT), in which you learn to identify and re-pattern your thinking about the event. This helps you develop better coping mechanisms, and allows you to re-initiate the naturally restorative healing process. The therapy occurs over a 12 week period, and involves some homework, but gives you tools to deal with intrusive thoughts, negative interpretations of events and provides not only relief from immediate stress, but long-term healing, as well.
Resick, P. A., Monson, C.M., & Chard K. M.,(2014). Cognitive Processing Therapy: Veteran/Military version: Therapist's manual. Washington, DC: Department of Veterans Affairs.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) - The Center for Deployment Psychology - Preparing Professionals to Support Warriors and Families - http://deploymentpsych.org/disorders/ptsd-main
Yehuda, Rachel PhD; Post Traumatic Stress Disorder - Current Concepts, New England Journal of Medicine, Vol. 346, No. 2 · January 10, 2002 · Boston, MA, Massachusetts Medical Society - Accessed 08/06/2015 - http://old.impact-kenniscentrum.nl/doc/kennisbank/1000010585-1.pdf.
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Positive Change: Sometimes those words seem like two opposites, strangely connected in a random phrase. For many people, change is not the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of positive things. For many people, families and organizations change is not positive, because it brings discomfort, discord, dysfunction and division. We know it doesn’t have to be that way. And we instinctively believe there must be a way to manage change that brings us to a place of agreement, comfort and unity. But finding that way can be a daunting task.
The Banyan Group is a private, independently organized non-profit practice, dedicated to counseling, coaching and consulting, always with a view to managing change in such a way as to bring positive, helpful and hopeful results.
Perhaps you're visiting our website as part of a search for help in your personal life; or for direction in your career; or maybe as part of a search for help answering some particular questions about the structure, leadership or management of your church or non-profit organization. The Banyan Group provides resources from a wide range of experience and expertise, seeking to add value to what you are already doing in any or all of these areas. We believe in being helpers, not in "reinventing the wheel.” We seek to help our clients discover the missing piece, whether by counseling, coaching or consultation, to get their life, their career or their organization to a place of positive change.
We invite you to explore our site and learn more about the services we offer. As you seek assistance, it is important that you are always well informed and an active participant in your journey toward positive change. We welcome questions and invite you to contact us about the process and our work together.