Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Guest Blog: PTSD and You

We are delighted to present our guest blogger, John Garrett, a Vietnam vet who writes about Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and is a practitioner of EFT, Emotional Freedom Technique. He and, Inga Tomasino, a local psychotherapist and practitioner of EFT, will present a workshop on Thursday, March 5, repeating it on Saturday, March 7 at Capabilities. Please be sure to review details and RSVP at Events. John writes here about how PTSD can be a part of anyone's life. He also describes the hope everyone can have in addressing this challenging disorder. Many thanks to John and Inga for sharing their work with the Capabilities' community. Please contact Inga at 303.423.7903 and John at 303.884.3566 for questions and more detailed information about PTSD and EFT.

About 20 years ago, my wife was tossed by her horse, shattered her hand, and cracked her tailbone. Surgery fixed her hand and time healed her tailbone, but her mind was a different story. At the time we did not know enough to recognize that she had suffered a PTSD injury to her psyche that ended a promising show career, and created a never-ending cycle of frustration and mental anguish for this horse crazy woman.
There have been quite a few articles in the papers lately about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and the numbers of military personnel who are so affected. But, not too much has been written about what PTSD is and who it affects.
PTSD is not primarily a military disorder. It can affect anyone who has experienced a mental or physical trauma, such as being embarrassed in a social, personal or professional situation, experiencing a series of bad personal relationships, having been involved in an accident, or the victim of an assault or criminal act, or in a life threatening situation in combat or other incident..

There are three types of PTSD:

Intrusive: Memories and emotions interfere with the normal interactions with other people. They can feel guilty for surviving. The flashbacks are visual and auditory and are triggered by stimuli that brings to mind an aspect of the event. Nightmares and night terrors are centered around the incident that is causing the PTSD.

Avoidance: When the person tries to avoid: emotions; relationships; taking responsibility for others; and situations similar to the traumatic event.

Hyper-arousal: When the person: Over-reacts to situations; has explosive outbursts; is irritable; is constantly on guard; panics; is easily startled; or has sleep disturbances.

People who suffer from PTSD often turn to drugs or alcohol in an attempt to numb themselves and reduce the effects of PTSD. They develop phobias, easily become anxious, depressed, suffer from guilt, low self-esteem, experience panic attacks, and withdraw into themselves.

There are many different traditional and alternative treatments for PTSD. One alternative that has been used all over the world is the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). EFT, which was developed by Gary Craig, and is derived from the Thought Field Therapy (TFT) process by Dr Roger Callahan. Both systems are based on the use of activating through tapping, the energy meridian points on the body, similar to those used in Acupressure and Acupuncture.
The basic idea is that when we experience a trauma, there is a disruption in the flow of energy in the body. This is the result of the Autonomic Response our bodies make when confronted with a perceived danger. Quite often, after a time, the disruption in the energy flow dissipates and the energy flows normally. However, there are occasions when that doesn't occur, and the individual will re-experience the emotional upset when faced with a similar set of circumstances. In other words, they relive the experience, mentally and physically.

Tapping on the meridian points, while concentrating on the upset, stimulates the energy pathways and clears the "blockage." It may take more than one "round" of tapping to complete the clearance. There may also be aspects of the incident that need clearing, as well. The beauty of the system is that it is easy to learn, easy to use, and, more importantly, is highly successful. Recently, Mr Craig and several other EFT Practitioners used EFT with several combat veterans from Vietnam, the Gulf War and Iraq. After one week, the veterans were completely cleared of their emotional attachments to their experiences. EFT and TFT are so effective that they are being used around the world, and in some cases are the first techniques tried.

I have successfully used this technique with equestrians, law enforcement personnel, and civilians who have suffered PTSD symptoms.

Oh... and my wife? Yes, she is back to riding, and loving it. She uses EFT whenever the vaguest imprint of her past injuries interfere with her equestrian pursuits. She is living proof that EFT is a powerful, effective tool.

Tell us about your experiences with PTSD, EFT or overcoming your life's challenges.

No comments: