Post‐traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can occur following a traumatic event. It is characterised by symptoms of re‐experiencing the trauma (in the form of nightmares, flashbacks and distressing thoughts), avoiding reminders of the traumatic event, negative alterations in thoughts and mood, and symptoms of hyper‐arousal (feeling on edge, being easily startled, feeling angry, having difficulties sleeping, and problems concentrating).
Previous reviews have supported the use of individual trauma‐focused cognitive behavioural therapy (TFCBT) and eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR) in the treatment of PTSD. TFCBT is a variant of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), which includes a number of techniques to help a person overcome a traumatic event. It is a combination of cognitive therapy aimed at changing the way a person thinks, and behavioural therapy, which aims to change the way a person acts. TFCBT helps an individual come to terms with a trauma through exposure to memories of the event. EMDR is a psychological therapy, which aims to help a person reprocess their memories of a traumatic event. The therapy involves bringing distressing trauma‐related images, beliefs, and bodily sensations to mind, whilst the therapist guides eye movements from side to side. More positive views of the trauma memories are identified, with the aim of replacing the ones that are causing problems.
TFCBT and EMDR are currently recommended as the treatments of choice by guidelines such as those published by the United Kingdom’s National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE).
There’s an old adage: “Teach what you know.” I know about trauma because I survived childhood in the war zone of a severely dysfunctional family in NYC in the 1950’s. The frontline was definitely in my house, but there were many traumatizing skirmishes on the streets and in the Catholic school where I was held captive by mean, red-faced, yardstick-wielding women in penguin suits. I escaped my family into the Viet Nam era army, and although I only went there briefly, my year of training to be a combat platoon leader helps me see the parallels between war-induced trauma and dysfunctional family begotten trauma.
By the time I was 25, I had survived a decade of high risk activity peppered with what now look like unconscious suicide attempts, before I finally realized that I was seriously hurting. I have spent four decades personally exploring varied psychological and spiritual approaches to healing my trauma, and the personal gains I have made coupled with the healing I have witnessed in my clients and students over the last 30 years has given me, I believe, a unique perspective and set of tools to share with my fellow PTSD sufferers. I have pieced together a map and an eclectic blend of perspectives and techniques that can significantly ameliorate Complex PTSD. My approach helps manage the complex symptomology of emotional flashbacks and provides encouragement to endure the long, arduous, Sisyphean climb out of being continuously triggered into unresolved childhood abandonment pain. (For more on the map, see “Managing the Abandonment Depression” on this website.)
In my ongoing work with PTSD recovery, I repeatedly experience much gratitude toward the many clients who’s authenticity and vulnerability while in flashback help me further illuminate the map; and I am further grateful for how they validate to my inner child that: “Yes it’s true, there really are parents who were so mean and/or so out to lunch, that they installed in us this painful, stubborn syndrome of Complex PTSD”.
Parental Alienation is a form of psychological abuse that causes severe reactions to the targeted parent and the child(ren). These reactions range from mild to extreme. Below is a small list of the just some of the signs and symptoms I have seen.
Uncontrollable rage and anger
Avoidance of the aggressor
Avoidance of the children
Substance abuse of all kinds
Inability to think rationally
Inability to control their emotions
Distancing themselves from everyone around them
Putting up walls to protect themselves
Flunking school or life
Obsessive Compulsive Issues
Deviant behavior in the children
Hyper vigilance/Burying themselves in school or work
Over-exaggerated responses to stimuli
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD involves extreme responses to traumatic events that a person has either witnessed or been part of. A person with PTSD can have acute, chronic or delayed onset of the following signs and symptoms.
inability to think clearly,
uncontrollable fight and flight responses
reoccurring thoughts or dreams of the event
exaggerated emotional responses
insomnia, excessive sleep
heightened attention and reactions
inability to concentrate, or finish a task
When you look at these two lists, it is easy to see why PAS is PTSD. And why we must classify PAS as a form of psychological abuse.
One of the most important things in life that successful people identified early on, was the necessity to be grateful for what they have. Rather than focusing on what they didn’t have, they shifted their thinking to one that involved the rock-solid foundation of gratitude.
When you’re thankful for what you have, some incredible things begin happening in your life. The truth? It shifts your focus on a subconscious level. You go from incessantly complaining in your mind, to being truly grateful and happy for even the littlest things. You see, we never quite realize what we have until it’s taken away.
In the morning, write out a list of everything that you have to be grateful for. Even if you’re just 6 feet above ground, be grateful for it. Stop obsessing over what you don’t have, and begin focusing on what you do have and watch as your life transforms before your very eyes over time.
When we try to break a habit or make a change in our lives, we all make the same mistake. Do you often wonder why you can never stick to the diet for long? Or why you can’t seem to stop the negative thinking for good? It is not your fault.
Stop focusing on changing your behavior and discover what you should be focusing on instead for powerful, positive change that lasts.
In Daoist philosophy, dark and light, yin and yang, arrive in the Tao Te Ching at chapter 42. It becomes sensible from an initial quiescence or emptiness (wuji, sometimes symbolized by an empty circle), and continues moving until quiescence is reached again. For instance, dropping a stone in a calm pool of water will simultaneously raise waves and lower troughs between them, and this alternation of high and low points in the water will radiate outward until the movement dissipates and the pool is calm once more. Yin and yang thus are always opposite and equal qualities. Further, whenever one quality reaches its peak, it will naturally begin to transform into the opposite quality: for example, grain that reaches its full height in summer (fully yang) will produce seeds and die back in winter (fully yin) in an endless cycle.
It is impossible to talk about yin or yang without some reference to the opposite, since yin and yang are bound together as parts of a mutual whole (for example, there cannot be the bottom of the foot without the top). A way to illustrate this idea is to postulate the notion of a race with only women or only men; this race would disappear in a single generation. Yet, women and men together create new generations that allow the race they mutually create (and mutually come from) to survive. The interaction of the two gives birth to things, like manhood. Yin and yang transform each other: like an undertow in the ocean, every advance is complemented by a retreat, and every rise transforms into a fall. Thus, a seed will sprout from the earth and grow upwards towards the sky—an intrinsically yang movement. Then, when it reaches its full potential height, it will fall. Also, the growth of the top seeks light, while roots grow in darkness.
Certain catchphrases have been used to express yin and yang complementarity: