Mental health symptoms associated with the novel coronavirus pandemic could last months or years longer than the pandemic itself. Specifically, many individuals and families may seek out therapy to help with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Symptoms of PTSD include nightmares, severe anxiety, flashbacks, or uncontrolled thoughts about a traumatic incident. If the symptoms get worse, affect daily life, or persist for months or years, it could indicate PTSD.
Who may need trauma therapy?
Trauma therapy may be helpful for individuals who have experienced a variety of situations associated with COVID-19:
Recovering from severe cases of COVID-19
Losing loved ones to the disease
Working directly with patients diagnosed with COVID-19
Disruptions due to school closures
Social isolation associated with stay-at-home orders, including experiences of domestic abuse
Job loss and other financial difficulties
Loss of or limitations to support services for mental health or substance use disorders
Increased consumption of negative news stories and social media, which can increase anxiety and fear
What can help individuals who have experienced trauma?
Here’s an overview of different types of evidence-based therapies often used for individuals who have experienced trauma.
1. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
A type of talk therapy, CBT examines a client’s thought patterns and how they influence behavior and choices. CBT helps clients pinpoint how some of their thoughts and behaviors have been incorrect or unhelpful.
Over time, clients can use CBT to develop more helpful, accurate thinking patterns and coping behaviors that can reduce symptoms and improve quality of life. For more details, check out our previous CBT post on the BestNotes blog.
2. Exposure Therapy
Exposure therapy can help clients confront and overcome their fears. Exposure therapy helps clients break patterns of avoidance by creating a safe environment in which he or she can face what they fear.
The BestNotes blog has a detailed post that provides a closer look at exposure therapy.
3. Narrative Exposure Therapy (NET)
A person’s life experiences and wellbeing heavily depend on the “story” that each individual tells himself or herself. With NET, a client can develop a fuller, more positive life story that appropriately contextualizes the traumatic event and how it has influenced him or her.
NET may help clients who have experienced complex and multiple trauma. One common use is among refugees, who have experienced trauma from “political, cultural or social forces.”
4. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy
EMDR is an evidence-based treatment for PTSD that helps clients process their trauma to aid healing. During EMDR sessions, the client focuses on a back-and-forth movement or sound while remembering an upsetting memory. The clinician also helps the client talk about and process their traumatic memories until PTSD symptoms decline.
5. Psychodynamic Trauma Therapy
Psychodynamic trauma therapy focuses on different factors that may affect or cause a client’s PTSD symptoms, such as experiences and coping mechanisms. This type of therapy focuses mostly on the client’s unconscious mind and how it influences behavior. Here, the therapist helps a client recognize and process painful, unconscious feelings so they can be released instead of being avoided.
Behavioral health clinicians may see a rise in demand for trauma-related therapies in the wake of COVID-19. Make sure you’re taking care of yourself as much as your clients with a customized EHR solution that helps you save time and reduce frustration. Contact BestNotes today to learn more.