Category Archives: Therapies

Concise articles about many therapies for the effects childhood trauma and related conditions such as complex PTSD and borderline personality disorder, including cutting-edge treatments such as dialectical behavior therapy, EMDR and body-focused therapies (such as somatic experiencing).

Online Therapy

online therapy

If we have experienced significant and protracted childhood trauma in the early part of our lives we may, as adults, have many unresolved issues relating to this that can manifest themselves in psychological conditions such as, for example, anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, feelings of worthlessness, intense feelings of shame, self-hatred, addictions, self-harm, dissociation, relationship problems, hypervigilance and emotional dysregulation (and this is not an exhaustive list). Indeed. in severe cases the adverse effect upon our psyche may have been so profound that we have gone on to develop a personality disorder (such as borderline personality disorder, often abbreviated to BPD). All of these conditions, together with explanations as to how they are linked to the experience of childhood trauma, are covered on this website (see MAIN MENU at the top of this page).

And if, indeed, we have been unfortunate enough to have incurred psychological damaged as a result of our dysfunctional childhood, we may well require some form of therapy such as dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) or cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) (see MAIN MENU above and click on THERAPIES AND SELF-HELP to view the numerous articles that I have previously published about these and many other types of therapy). However, in this article I am going to focus specifically upon the topic of online therapy.

We have already seen from other articles that I have previously published on this site that online therapy has numerous advantages, and, for the sake of convenience, I will very briefly list them again here :

– direct (i.e. physical, face-to-face) contact with a therapist is not required which may be particularly beneficial for those suffering from social phobia or agoraphobia in the initial part of their treatment

– cost, inconvenience and time involved in travel is avoided

– instant access is often available to online therapy services (e.g. by SMS text – see below)

– therapy is available from anywhere in the world as long as we have access to an internet connection and a device (laptop, tablet, smartphone etc)

– often, it is less costly and less time consuming to undertake online therapy than it is to undertake face-to-face therapy

What Specific Methods Can Online Therapy Incorporate?

The specific methods used will depend upon the particular online therapy website you choose to use; however, in general the main methods are as follows :

  • SMS texting : SMS texts can be used both for communication between ourselves and our therapist and also as a means for delivering applications which the therapist may consider helpful to us during the course of our therapy.
  • Computerized Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CCBT) – the use of this system has increased since it was endorsed by NICE (National Institute for Clinical Excellence) as an effective means of treatment.
  • Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and videoconferencing
  • Websites – there are a plethora of websites that our therapist might direct us to, depending on the nature of our particular psychological condition, to help as learn about, and gain insight into, our problems (this is sometimes referred to as psychoeducation
  • Therapeutic Computer Games – such therapeutic games our currently in their infancy but will be of increasing benefit (particularly to adolescents) in the future
  • Therapeutic  Virtual Reality Environments and Avatars are also set to become more available in the future.

Resource:

 

 

David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).

 

Sex Addiction Therapy

sex_addiction_therapy

sex_addiction_therapy

Sex Addiction And Childhood Trauma :

We have seen from other articles that I have published on this site that those who have suffered significant and protracted childhood trauma are at higher than average risk of developing an addiction to sex in adulthood (for example, see my post entitled : Childhood Trauma And Its Link To Hypersexuality‘).

 

Blotting Out Emotional Pain :

One reason why those who have suffered childhood trauma may become addicted to sex is that the act of sex helps them to ‘blot out’, or make themselves feel ‘numb to’, or ‘dissociate’ from unbearable emotional pain connected to their early life experiences (for example, those who have suffered severe childhood trauma may go on to develop borderline personality disorder and a major symptom of this condition is a propensity to develop addictions – including sex addiction).

 

Related Addictions And Psychological Conditions :

 Indeed, because most people who suffer from sex addiction are generally unwilling to discuss their problem with others, the fact that they are suffering from it only becomes apparent when then develop a trusting relationship with a therapist who they initially went to see for help with other addictions such as alcoholism or drug abuse. Alternatively, they may have initially gone to see the their therapist in order to seek treatment for depression, anxiety or low self-esteem (all of which are also more common in those with a history of childhood trauma).

Currently, sexual addiction is regarded as being similar in nature to addiction to chemical substances because the act of sex seems to have a similar ‘numbing’ effect (see above) on feelings of mental anguish (however, it should be noted that, as a discrete condition, ‘sex addiction’ is not yet  (at the time of writing) included in the Diagnostic And Statistical Manual Of Mental Disorders.

 

How Does Sex Addiction Manifest Itself?

Sexual addiction can manifest itself in a number of ways, including :

  • Voyeurism
  • Exhibitionism
  • Fantasies
  • Internet Pornography
  • Sadomasochism
  • Compulsive use of prostitutes

 

High Sex Drive :

In fact, sexual addiction is NOT the same as simply having a high sex drive (indeed, a high sex drive can be a sign of good psychological health) but involves a compulsive quality that brings about negative results (for the sufferer, those s/he comes into contact with, or both).

Negative Consequences :

Sexual addiction can seriously, adversely impact upon the individual’s quality of life. For example, it may :

  • cause financial problems
  • result in the spreading of sexually transmitted diseases
  • lead to legal problems
  • impair relationships

Sex Addiction Therapy :

sex_addiction_therapy

Once a person suffering from sex addiction recognizes that s/he has a problem which is significantly spoiling his/her quality of life, seeking help from a therapist can be very helpful. Confiding in a trusted, accepting, empathetic therapist can help to reduce feelings of shame related to the addiction and the therapist can provide advice about how to avoid triggers and how to develop healthier and more functional coping mechanisms to deal with negative feelings.

Therapies used to treat sex addiction include cognitive behavioral therapy and psychodynamic therapy (the latter may be more appropriate when the problem is clearly related to childhood issues).

 

RESOURCES :

 

David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).

Socrates and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

 CBT beck socrates

If we have suffered serious childhood trauma the research indicates that we are more likely than those who enjoyed a relatively stable childhood to develop clinical depression during our adulthood (all else being equal).

I have discussed the link between childhood trauma and depression in my book : Childhood Trauma and Its Link to Anxiety and Depression (click here to view) and I have also written several articles available on this site about one of the most effective treatments for depression, namely cognitive behavioural therapy (click here to read one of my articles on this).

In this article, however, I want to look at what CBT has in common with the teachings of Socrates (469-399 BC) who is probably the most famous of the Ancient Greek philosophers. In many ways, Socrates’ beliefs anticipated CBT in the way I describe below.

CBT informs us that our emotional disturbances lie more in the way we interpret events and the meaning we subjectively attribute to those events than the events per se. Indeed, the psychologist, Ellis, developed a model that illustrates this idea, namely the ABC model which I summarise below:

A – the event occurs

B – we attribute our own idiosyncratic meaning to this event

C – the meaning we attribute to the event in stage B, above, determines how we feel about evevt A.

Implications of the ABC model:

From this model, Ellis explains, it follows that we can often alter for the better how we feel about the events in life that we experience by altering how we view and interpret them.

How this fits in with the views of Socrates:

Socrates and the Stoic philosophers took a similar view to that of Ellis, ie. that it is the meaning that we give to events rather than the events themselves that determines how we feel.

Socrates_cbt

To give an everyday example : some people may feel depressed if they fail an important examination as they interpret their failure as meaning that they must be ‘stupid’.

Another person, however, may fail the same exam and yet NOT be dispirited by the failure as they do NOT interpret the failure as meaning they are stupid or unintelligent as intelligence is made up of many, many diverse factors which are in no way associated with the exam.

Toxic Beliefs :

The individual who interpreted his/her exam failure as meaning s/he ‘must be stupid’ could be said to have been holding a toxic belief and that it was this toxic belief that led to his/her unhappy response to the failed exam.

Implications :

It is, therefore, incumbent upon us to try to change our toxic beliefs by replacing them with more rational, reasonable and less self – destructive ones (according to both Socrates and modern day CBT theorists).

Changing our Toxic Beliefs : The Socratic Method :

In order to change our toxic beliefs, one of the founders of CBT, Beck,  said that it was necessary for us to make use of what he called THE SOCRATIC METHOD : Rather than ‘sleep-walk’ through life, like an automaton, as many do, we need to CRITICALLY EXAMINE what we are doing, how we are acting and behaving, and how we our feeling and coming to the decisions we make (there is a well-known quote, I forget by whom, that ‘ the unexamined life is not worth living’). Gaining more insight into ourselves gives us more choices and increases our general efficacy in life.

Socrates_cbt

In order to decide what, in the lives we find ourselves living, it is in our own best interests to change we need to try to think more independently, rather than merely think (and, consequently , act) according to the beliefs and values that have been inculcated into us by parents, friends, associates, teachers, politicians, the press, television, society and the culture within which we exist.

To help us to achieve this, we need, too, to try to bring our core beliefs, which are likely to reside, for much of the time, below the level of consciousness and have an enormous effect on how we think, feel and behave, into our conscious mind and critically examine and evaluate them. In this way, we give ourselves the chance to discover which of these beliefs are toxic (ie. spoiling our lives and holding us back from achieving fulfilment).

Once we have identified our toxic thoughts we are in a position to be able to replace them with more rational and helpful ones that allow us to change, positively, how we interpret the world around us. If we can achieve this, our emotional and even physical health are likely to improve significantly.

To read one of my articles on CBT, click here.

emotional_abuse

Above eBook now available from Amazon. Instant download. Other titles available. Click here.

 

David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).

 

Top