What PTSD Taught Me About Therapists Part 1

My last installment of this PTSD series looked at what I have learned about health care professionals in general and their knowledge or lack of knowledge about PTSD.  Today I want to look at what I have learned about really talented therapists.  Many of you have been to therapists with no results or, not the results and healing that you are seeking.  My hope is that this post will help in some way.  Don’t give up!  You can find a competent therapist to be your partner during your healing journey.  Remember, your therapist works for you.  He or she is an indispensable part of your healing, but you are the boss.  Many medicines are used to treat PTSD.  Antidepressants (Prozac), benzodiazepines (Valium), and mood stabilizers (Lamotrigine) are all used by doctors in their treatment of PTSD.  Medicine is only one tool that can be used to help treat PTSD.  However,  psychotherapy especially EMDR  is the most effective treatment for many if not most PTSD sufferers.  If you are not familiar with what EMDR is you can read this.

When choosing a therapist for PTSD I would like to make the following suggestions:

  1.  Select a therapist that specializes in PTSD.  Many therapists will list in their profile that they treat PTSD and trauma.  This may be true but finding one who does PTSD and EMDR as the majority of their practice is what you are looking for.  At one point in my journey I went to a therapist and during my intake, she stopped me and said she didn’t have enough experience to treat me.  She had PTSD and trauma listed as her specialties.  PTSD and EMDR treatment require more than a simple cursory understanding of the disorder.  Dr. Frank Ochberg is a pioneer in the treatment and causes of PTSD.  He is a rare mix of academic excellence, incredible warmth and compassion as well as the ability to help lay people understand the complexities of PTSD.  You can find many of his videos here.
  2. Select a therapist that you feel you can trust.  Sometimes, it is hard to know how you feel about a therapist because intake appointments are usually not enough time to form an opinion.  Use your gut feeling.  If the therapist seems rushed or perturbed with your desire to find out about their practice and experience than you can fire them.  Think of your initial appointment as an interview.  Ask questions of the therapist, read reviews online, talk to former or current patients. Schedule another appointment if you need to get a better feel of them.  Due diligence pays off.
  3.  Select a therapist that you can’t bull sh*t or intimidate. The fact of the matter is PTSD treatment involves visiting past traumatic events and trusting your therapist to push you and guide you when needed is essential.  A good therapist will work with you as memeber of your team.  Remember the treatment of PTSD is a difficult endeavor.  A good therapist will encourage you to be honest and brave in a compassionate and winsome manner.  I went to many therapists until I found one that was a good fit for me and my needs.  A good therapist also has to have your permission to push back a little when it is called for.  Again, experience and compassion are what you are looking for.

 

 

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What PTSD Taught Me About Doc’s

PTSD taught me that many doctors and other health care professionals do not know much about such a common disorder/injury as PTSD.  I have spoken to and have been treated by M.D.’s, D.O.’s, psychologists,  and neurologists who have what I would call a beginner’s understanding of PTSD. I have even run into clinicians who have told me that it is a matter of simply pushing through the pain!  Not only is that view completely lacking compassion but it is incorrect.  On a personal note, I saw many psychiatrists and other professionals for 20 years.  I presented in an honest and forthright manner.  I was NEVER diagnosed with PTSD through all of those years.  My diagnosis was generally a severe case of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).  Many doctors know even less about effective treatment models.  I was speaking with a neurologist recently and this gentlemen didn’t know what EMDR was.  EMDR is the most effective treatment for PTSD.  My point is not to denigrate doctors it is to let you know that finding an experienced practitioner may take some investigating and trial and error.  Please don’t be discouraged.  Help is available and many people are willing to help.  Sometimes with PTSD, it is hard to reach out for help for many reasons.  Some of these reasons are fear of reliving the trauma, struggling with depression so you have no motivation to seek help, money, and often times shame.  If you are at a place where you think you may be ready to get treatment or simply talk to someone please do your best to reach out.  Let a trusted friend know what is going on and ask them for help.  If you can’t seem to find someone right now that can listen then please message me.  You are a survivor and you can find freedom from PTSD and it’s devastating effects.

What PTSD Has Taught Me

This series will take me some time to write.  My goal is to share with you a story that proves you can get better from PTSD.  There is no timeline that can tell you how long it will take to put your demons back in their cage.  There is no such thing as “normal” when dealing with this complex illness/injury we have.  If you are reading this as a someone who suffers from PTSD I want you to know that there is hope.  Healing can come in many ways.  Please don’t give up.  So many people care about you.  You may not feel loved and cared for but you are.  Be strong.  Fight the lie or lies that continually assault all of who you are.  Please don’t be ashamed.  You did not chose PTSD.  Take heart, in my experience fellow PTSD sufferers are survivors!  Please check back in or follow me to read future installments in this series.

It Is About Dying Kids…Period!

Did you hear the scandalous news about Bono and VP Mike Pence?  Are you ready?  Bono thanked VP Pence for being a key supporter of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) passed in 2003 and then renewed in 2008.

Bono told the VP “Twice on the House floor you defended that. That’s how we know you, and we really appreciate that…”  Here is the video of the heinous act.  Let’s be clear on what Bono is being attacked for doing.  He is being attacked for thanking a government official that helped make it possible to help poor, starving people avoid the transmission of HIV.

Bono is a peddler.  He peddles his music with his boys from U2 and he peddles his influence wrought from his music to help the most marginalized people on planet earth.  I am not an expert on PEPFAR or RED or U2, however, I am interested in helping the poor and sick.  You can see the impact RED has had globally in great detail at their website.  Here is a quick glance at how the organization has helped.  According to RED, they have raised $465 million to support The Global Fund’s work. In addition, 90 million people have been helped in Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Rwanda, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, and Zambia.  Also, every red cent of money raised goes directly to the people in need.  No money is used for administrative purposes.

If you believe in a cause as important as helping folks with HIV why would you give a damn where the money came from?  Bono would take money from the devil if he could.  Why not?  Why not take money to help people?  Should Bono have told the VP to piss off and ask him to tell President Trump the same?  Donald Trump did not have my vote-I don’t think you could have done anything to get me to vote for him….except several million dollars to help suffering, poor and diseased people.

Pot Is A Gateway Drug (NOT)

The DEA has finally come out from the stone age and through intense public pressure has finally admitted what most of us already knew-marijuana is not a gateway drug.  When it comes to medical marijuana misinformation such as the gateway theory is a social justice issue.  What did you say?  Yep, a social justice issue.  When people are forced to suffer because prohibitionists refuse to honor the will of the people and allow them to use cannabis then that is a social justice issue.

Dirty Cops In The High Desert

Have you ever been to California?  It is beautiful, warm and for the most part, people are friendly.  The natural beauty is remarkable.  In the same day, you can surf, go snow skiing and have dinner in world renowned restaurants.  While you are visiting you may want to think twice about filing a police report at the San Bernadino County Sheriff’s office.

The video explains this much better than I ever could.  A man walks into the office and wants to file a complaint.  When the deputy sheriff tells the man that if he doesn’t leave he will make up a charge to incarcerate him.  Then some flunky receptionist at the desk joins in the abuse of this man!  It’s a remarkable video!  At this time the Sherrif has said the deputy was wrong and that his behavior wasn’t what he expected of his deputies.  This deputy not only behaved improperly but he broke the law.

During the video of the incident, you will hear the deputy complain about being recorded.  This video by Flex Your Rights explains in a very short and simple manner why you CAN record the police.  Before you record your local police please watch the video.  You want to know what your rights are where you live.

Chicago Cop Serving In The Hood

Two good cop stories in one day!  Yep, I ran across this story that documents a Chicago police officer tending to the needs of a homeless man.  It is very moving.  Chicago doesn’t get much good press these days.  Often times it seems as if the city is a war zone.  Stats are available through November 2016.  As of December first, there have been 682 murders!!!  One of America’s great city is in dire straits.  Chicago police have been in the news lately for excessive force and murder.  It seems as if the police cannot stop the violence.  The city’s mayor cannot seem to find a way to lead his city out of this violence.  Chicago is a mess.

When officer Peter White and his partner gave the gentleman in the video a ticket they noticed that he had no winter jacket.  The officer made a mental note and decided the next time he saw the man that he would give him a warm coat.  You can see in the video that he kept his word.  This is community policing at it’s best.  Great things can happen when communities trust that the police have their best interest in mind.  Not only did this act of kindness help the cold man on the street but it started a campaign among the CPD to accept coats and other cold weather clothes for folks on the street!  Bravo officer White.