Many people are exposed to traumatic events in their lifetimes: situations where they directly experience a life-threatening event, serious injury, sexual violence, or exposure to these events happening to others. When these kinds of events happen, we are expected to have strong reactions, including fear and anxiety, thoughts about the experience that “pop up” and intrude into our consciousness, memories, feelings of being tense and alert, and possible avoidance of situations or people that remind us of the experience. For a subset of people, however, these symptoms persist for a substantial period of time, and can greatly affect their ability to function in their daily lives.
Potential signs of PTSD:
- Personally experiencing a traumatic event, witnessing one, or hearing about a traumatic event happening to someone you are close to
- Distressing and intrusive memories, thoughts, or images of the traumatic event(s)
- Flashbacks to the experience
- Nightmares about the trauma
- Intense distress or physical symptoms (e.g., heart pounding, sweating) when reminded of the event
- Avoidance of thoughts, people, places, or activities related to the trauma
- Changes in mood
- Feeling irritable, on edge, or startling easily
- Concentration and/or sleep difficulties
Contact Us Now
Dallas CBT specializes in treatment for PTSD in children and adults. Contact us today at 214-305-2110 or fill out the contact form below to receive more information about treatment.
Our state-of-the-art treatment involves Prolonged Exposure (PE), which is an empirically supported treatment for adults struggling with PTSD. It involves a combination of education about common reactions to trauma, relaxation skill-building, and exposure to both real-world situations causing anxiety (i.e., in vivo exposure) and processing the trauma experience in a systematic and repeated manner (i.e., imaginal exposure). We also offer Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), which is an empirically supported treatment for children and adolescents (ages 3 to 18) struggling with difficulties related to traumatic experiences (i.e., PTSD). This treatment involves both the child and parent in a structured, skill-building program and incorporates exposure-based techniques. The goal is to help the child process and resolve distressing feelings related to the trauma and better manage problematic thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.
The recommended dose for Prolonged Exposure is 10 to 15 90-minute sessions. These sessions can be held once or twice weekly, depending on the individual’s needs. A 12-week treatment program is typical; however, the length of the program can vary. TF-CBT for children and adolescents generally consists of 12 to 16 sessions, lasting 60 minutes each.
Both PE and TF-CBT utilize exposure therapy techniques. Exposure therapy is a type of CBT that is often referred to as the “gold-standard” of psychological treatments for these issues. Exposure involves gradually and systematically confronting fears and anxiety-provoking situations that you have been avoiding, with the aid and support of your therapist. Exposure provides the opportunity to learn that feared consequences are unlikely to come true and that your anxiety will go down naturally over time– and after repeated exposure, it will stay down. Exposures can be conducted as imaginal, where you are asked to imagine a feared situation, in vivo, or real life exposure, and interoceptive, which involves confronting feared bodily sensations. The overarching goal of exposure therapy is to reduce or eliminate avoidance of objectively safe situations, which leads to reduction in anxiety about these situations. Although this treatment causes short-term anxiety, as it involves facing the fears that you have been avoiding, it is the most effective way to gain long-term freedom from anxiety.
In exposure therapy, you can expect to: learn about causes of anxiety and factors maintaining it, identify the role that thoughts play in the anxiety process while learning to frame thoughts differently and, most importantly, engage in gradual and systematic exposure to situations which provoke anxiety. Treatment is tailored to each client, with their specific type of anxiety and their own experiences influencing the content of each component of treatment.