I have stated before that just because we have entered the phase of posttraumatic growth, this does not mean symptoms of trauma have been completely eradicated. Therefore, in order to be able to maximize the potential of our posttraumatic growth, it is very useful to know about techniques to manage re-emerging symptoms resulting from our experience of trauma, so that they interfere with our recovery as little as possible.
THE TECHNIQUES :
So, if, during our recovery/posttraumatic growth, we feel our symptoms are re-asserting themselves, we can employ the use of the following techniques:
– avoid interpersonal conflict (eg do not allow ourselves to be drawn into energy sapping and demoralizing arguments)
– talk to others about how we are feeling
– take as much time as possible for relaxation (eg gentle exercise,meditation, warm bath)
– indulge in as many enjoyable and pleasurable activities as possible, WITHOUT FEELING GUILTY ABOUT IT (see the activities as a form of necessary therapy)
– treat ourselves with compassion and do not blame ourselves for the effect the trauma has had on us
– keep to a routine; this is very important as it gives us a sense of predictability, control, safety and security
– make use of any social support systems as much as possible (eg friends, family, support groups). Research shows that those with a strong social support network in place cope better with the effects of traumatic experiences
– remember that many individuals who experience significant trauma find that ,once they have come through it, they have gained much inner strength and have greatly developed as people with a much deeper appreciation of life than they had before the traumatic experience/s occurred
– try not to avoid situations which remind you of the original trauma, where at all possible,as this is an effective way of overcoming the fear associated with such situations; avoidance keeps the problem going
– keep reminding yourself that human beings are extremely resilient; many people throughout the ages have been through appalling experiences yet have become stronger people as a result
– it important to remember that seeking professional help is not a sign of weakness or failure
Note : the above suggestions are based on advice given by the Academy of Cognitive Therapy.
David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).