Did you experience a traumatic event in your life and are now experiencing frequent flashbacks and stress because of it? If so you could have post traumatic stress disorder. To help understand what post traumatic stress disorder is and treatment methods that can help your post traumatic stress disorder, I have interviewed therapist Mark Bottinick.
Tell me a little bit about yourself.
I have a Master’s in Social Work and I am a Licensed Certified Clinical Social Worker (LCSW-C). I directed a public mental health clinic providing community-based care to individuals with severe mental illness. I currently work as a therapist at that clinic and provide clinical supervision to other therapists there. I also have a private psychotherapy practice in Silver Spring, MD.
What is post traumatic stress disorder?
“Post-traumatic stress disorder is a severe anxiety disorder. It can develop after exposure to an event that causes psychological trauma and can involves intense fear and/or helplessness. It can cause serious long-term effects if not properly addressed. Post-traumatic stress disorder involves re-experiencing the traumatic event through obsessive thoughts, nightmares or flashbacks, avoidance of stimuli that are associated with the trauma (avoiding people, places, or objects that remind one of the trauma) and increased arousal such as hypervigilance or an increased startle response.”
What type of impact can post traumatic stress disorder have on someone’s overall life?
“Severe anxiety is a debilitating condition and can have serious effects on one’s functioning in the world. Someone with post-traumatic stress disorder might avoid crowds, or public transportation, or being alone with men or driving on a highway. The anxiety causes problems with concentration and memory, and can interfere with sleep. The effects of post-traumatic stress disorder can bring on feelings of depression.”
What types of treatment methods can help someone who is experiencing post traumatic stress disorder?
“About a decade ago, I was introduced to very unconventional therapy techniques that involved using the body in the healing process for someone experiencing post traumatic stress disorder. The techniques came to be characterized as “Energy Psychology” as they are thought to use the body’s subtle energy system to bring about change. This is the same bio-energy system used in acupuncture which was developed about 5,000 years ago in China.”
“The techniques have been the subject of controversy as their theory base flows from eastern medicine and not western science. However, the techniques have gained a reputation for bringing about very rapid and dramatic results. Energy Psychology techniques are being used by three organizations that provide early response in disaster relief. The techniques have also been very effective in helping veterans. The tools are now being used to help children who were orphaned in the Rwandan genocide with very impressive results.”
“Recent research that will soon appear in a journal of the American Psychological Association showed that such techniques compared favorably to Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy in addressing post traumatic stress disorder.”
“I have found that energy psychology techniques can sometimes bring about rapid and dramatic relief for those suffering from post traumatic stress disorder. My clients have included veterans, women who have endured rape or childhood sexual abuse, survivors of severe car accidents and fires, and people who were robbed at gunpoint.”
“One energy psychology approach I use is called Emotional Freedom Technique, or EFT. The client focuses on the traumatic memory, tuning into the targeted emotional reaction and taps certain acupressure points with his/her fingertips. Another approach, known as Tapas Acupressure Technique (TAT) also has the client focus on the traumatic memory and tune into the targeted emotional response, but while holding acupressure points on the face with one hand and cradling the back of the head with the other hand.”
“Both of these methods involve re-exposure to the traumatic event, but combine this with body-based treatment. Some have theorized that this sends signals to the brain that alleviate the traumatic response.”
“In practice, what I have repeatedly found is that after using energy psychology techniques, the targeted emotion is significantly alleviated, and often altogether eliminated. Sometimes it’s necessary to break the traumatic event down into a timeline and apply the techniques to the different parts of the event separately. Though I ask my clients to recall traumatic memories, there are ways to do it so that the therapy doesn’t re-traumatize them, and usually by the end of the session, there’s a great sense of relief. It can also be applied to the various thoughts or beliefs that have become associated with the event such as “It was my fault,” or “If I relax, I won’t be safe.” Traumatic events involve a range of emotions, not just fear, and energy psychology techniques can effectively alleviate all of the troubling feelings such as rage, bitterness, guilt and sadness.”
Thank you Mark for doing the interview on treatments for post traumatic stress disorder. For more information on Mark Bottinick or his work you can check out his website on www.GetBeyondTalk.com or contact him at 301-593-7494.
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