Having and experiencing PTSD is no fun. Who really wants to relieve traumatic/dramatic events in their lives which have left a very large emotional (and sometimes physical scar) in their lives. I know that I don’t. And so what to do?
Now, I don’t claim to be a Veteran, but my husband is and so I have some experience with living with someone I love dearly who has PTSD. Also, it doesn’t help that I, too, have “issues” due to my personal disability, which is Aspergers. But, this particular blog is not about me, but about whether Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) is helpful in dealing with the emotional, as well as physical, components of the Veteran with PTSD.
According to ptsdabout.com, in an article written by Dr. Mathew Tull, “CBT is often used to help people with their PTSD, as well as a number of other psychological problems.”
So what exactly is cognitive-behavioral therapy? Again, Dr. Tull tells us that: “A cognitive-behavioral treatment is one that is based on the idea that psychological problems arise as a result of the way in which we interpret or evaluate situations, thoughts, and feelings, as well as our behaviors.”
Well, that is all well and good, but does it work? I believe that it depends on four things:
1) The patient’s willingness to work with the therapist.
2) The quality of the therapist and his working knowledge and skill in working with veteran’s with PTSD and their families.
3) Is the patient comfortable with the therapist’s approach to CBT and PTSD? (Be sure to get referrals from other patients and check BBB ((it couldn’t hurt)))
4)Understand that it will take time and alot of work to get better.
In March of 2014 the VA began a study entitled “PTSD: Exposure versus Cognitive Therapy.” As to their findings, I believe that they have either not finished their study, or have not gotten the approval to post their findings as of yet. Whatever, the important thing to remember is it is your mind, your feelings, your body, your family and your PTSD. Therefore, it is ultimately up to you to find a therapist you can work with so you can move forward.
The marriage vow “…to love, honor and obey…”, is not exactly easy for us to obey. Especially when our very loved military/former military spouse comes home with a TBI or PTSD. That threw my starry-eye vision of love/laughter/rainbows and joy into a bit of confusion and martial turmoil. But, you know, knowledge is power and understanding what has happened to change the love-of-my-life can make a big difference in the re-building a marriage.
Here is a link to an article entitled, Marriage Tips for PTSD $ TBI Families, which gives some very good suggestions to help bridge that gap of “what the heck happened to my husband” to “this will take awhile to get it right, but we can make this marriage work!”
PTSD is no fun, as many of you military wives and husbands know. Focus on the Family’s, Pres. Jim Daily wrote a really great blog entitled, How Couples Can Work Through PTSD, as well as some great links that can really help with some other questions you might have. Just check it out. Okay?
I’d love to hear your feedback.
The Department of Veterans Affairs is offering free in-depth online classes, From the War Zone to the Home Front II, which cover trauma, PTSD assessment and effective treatment. You can also checkout their Archive section for more information.
These classes/sessions are about one hour. Now these classes have already officially end tomorrow, but I believe you can view them “on demand.” Also, check out the Additional Resources for pdf’s and pertinent information on past classes.
Click HERE for more information.
You might notice that when your military spouse returns home he (or she) might have a hard time adjusting to civilian life. He may suddenly be overly startled by unexpected turmoil or loud noise. This might lead to an involuntary response on his part, putting him into survival mode which may cause him to rapidly retreat from this type of situation, or attack without conscious thought. Remember your military spouse has been trained to survive at any cost.
If this is happening in your relationship, here are some important safety tips:
1. Make certain that any weapons are kept in a secure area other than where your military spouse lives aka your home.
2. Talk to you military spouse if sleeping together is a problem. Perhaps it might be a good idea to agree on separate sleeping arrangements for a while, perhaps using a twin bed or guest room for a while.
3. Never argue or talk about things that upset either of you BEFORE bedtime. Do what you can to resolve negative issues that evening or both of you agree to continue to discuss the matter the next day at an agreed upon time and place.