Advances in neurobiology – knowing how our brains and nervous systems work – help us understand how PTSD symptoms persist and also how they can heal. The healing of PTSD symptoms is often called, or accompanied by, a phenomena known as post-traumatic growth (PTG).
Last week, we discussed the story of Betty’s traumatic birth here. This week, we’ll discuss Betty’s healing plan from a traumatic birth. Betty ‘s husband helped her find a therapist who specialized in trauma and perinatal mood disorders by using Google and looking through Psychology Today profiles. Betty was fortunate in that she had babysitting assistance from her mother and mother-in-law. Betty also was able to take extend time off from work, as she had been steadily employed at the same company for many years, her work was well respected and she had an understanding supervisor. Not all woman have these options. Betty knew this and she was grateful for the foundation that she had in place.
Betty approached her first visit with her therapist with trepidation. Betty was cautious. Like many trauma survivors, she didn’t want to endlessly talk about her trauma, because, somehow, talking about the incident felt like it might be re-traumatizing to her. But she was feeling bad and she was curious about the new trauma treatments called Somatic Experiencing® (SE) and EMDR. She had researched EMDR and found there was 30 years of research supporting its efficacy, so she was hopeful.
Research shows that practicing a mindfulness skill 5 -6 times a day over a time period of 4 -6 weeks, for only 30 seconds to 2 minutes at a time, is effective in helping manage anxiety and depression.
Repetition of a positive coping skill helps you shift out of the brain’s biological tendency to cling to ruminative negative judgements. Repetition of a positive coping skill helps bring you into Wise Mind. Long term practice creates a new positive habit via creation of new neuronal networks in your brain.