Episode 15 - PTSD therapy methods and abuse II

Hello, my name is Johanna, and I welcome you to the Johanna Draconis - The Deconstruction Of C-PTSD podcast.
In this episode I will go over the remaining therapy methods and touch on some additional helpful methods.
After that we are going over the abuse that can happen during therapy.

Last week we covered Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT),  Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) and Prolonged Exposure Therapy (PE or PET).
This week we are going to do EMDR, the eye movement therapy, things that are helpful and patient abuse.

First we start off with the EMDR, the eye movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, therapy,  this therapy is THE topic right now among therapists. Heralded as the solution to all. Which is unfortunately not true.
First off, there is no need for eye movement, it is completely enough to just look absent in the distance, so you don’t even need someone waving anything in front of your eyes, but for some it does help to focus.
Its a deep form of relaxation, like hypnosis is. There is still a strong debate going on, how it exactly works, but it seems not like the original creator thought it does. It is rather amusing. So what does this therapy do?  
You are basically going in direct communication with your subconsciousness, while revisiting the trauma with assistance of the therapist. So, what are you doing?
You are like in a movie walk into the memory that is the trauma and now can judge it with current state of mind, without being lost to the situation.
This method is this beloved for a good reason, it IS wonderful what it does and is quite similar to my method, but goes for a different field of PTSD. What do I mean by that?
Well this method is excellent at correcting wrong memories. This method is extremely helpful, if you can gain new insight, by reliving the moment. Also it helps to reduce some symptoms by creating clarity.
Unlike Prolonged Exposure it doesn’t just revisit it, but actively interacts with the memory. That means it can correct false memory you have or maybe add things, that add more clarity.
Most effective against phobias, as they are usually learned or caused by an exaggerated memory, so this does wonders. But like I said, only IF you gain new insight by revisiting the memory.
For example, when you are a child and find a dead body, you will think you murdered him, because no one else is there. With EMDR you can revisit and realize, wait, I didn’t do it, someone else did.
Or when there were like 50 things going on, while it happened and you get clarity this way. Or if you feel like you could have done something, but in truth you were far away. The mind plays tricks on us.
But for example, if you saw your friend die in front of you, revisiting that moment won’t change that. Nor will it change the memory of rape, abuse, etc. So it’s actually pretty limited for PTSD.
I recommend using it if there is any way revisiting the moment with a clear mind would help you and I do think the therapy is a step in the right direction, but sadly it isn’t the solution for all cases as many claim.

Things that are helpful
Now we go to things, that are helpful, but not really a therapy (like the ones before) on its own, but can greatly improve your stability and quality of life.
First, the Group therapy. As I said in previous podcasts, we are social beings and knowing we are not alone with something is incredible helpful. It is so good to have someone you can talk about it.
As most non PTSD people don’t really understand you and that can make you feel even more isolated. I highly recommend it, especially if you don’t have a strong PTSD support network in your social circle.
Additionally the others might have some helpful tips how to handle symptoms and other side effects of PTSD. It might help you deal with some trigger cores.
Just be careful, that you are not pulling each other down and solidify your victim role - which shouldn’t happen under guided group therapy.
Second is Art Therapy or Music therapy. Art or music can sometimes articulate something, when words fail or we don’t know what to say. Art and music are a way of communication - without words obviously.
Especially if you have trouble describing or pin pointing was is bothering you, this therapy can help you find the answer - you might even not have been looking for.
Third is Food, yes really. Your body needs energy, which he best gets from good food. Our stomach is in some ways connected to our wellbeing, so good food is important.
Which I know is hard to make, if you are in full PTSD mode. Just try to let it be as good as it can be and have an look out for it.
Fourth is Sleep and/or Relaxation, as I just mentioned your body needs energy, so no surprise that sleeping is helpful. It is also important to learn relaxation methods.
May it be yoga, Progressive Muscle Relaxation (Or PMR), Autogenic training, Qi Gong and so much more. For each person something else works best, so find what works best for you.
It is so important to be able to relax, because first you get energy and secondly it helps reduce symptoms a lot. The importance of that can’t be overstated.

Final conclusion
In the end I have to say, I find the variety and quality of therapy methods lacking. I am no longer surprised that EMDR is considered the holy grail of PTSD treatment.
It is the only one that actively interacts with the trauma and is closest to truly understanding PTSD. The understanding of PTSD was overall lacking. I never thought it would be THIS limited.
I actually planned to do 2 more therapy methods, but found them rather fringe methods and pretty similar to the ones mentioned before, so I cut them.
It really shows that psychology is still in it’s infant stage and most likely will remain there, until we can run tests for it. I recommend the basic Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or CBT, if EMDR doesn’t apply to you.
This really shocked me, as I thought the lack of therapy available was only my problem because of my autism. This triggered my survivor’s guilt, as I had no idea the situation was this bad.
I will try to increase my efforts for my method and most likely give it a proper description or rundown on my homepage.

Patient abuse
Even while I researched this episode, I found it. Some therapist claiming, that if the EMDR isn’t working, it is the patients fault and that the patient doesn’t want to recover. They are blaming the victim - quite literally.
It is a shame, that many therapist can’t keep their own personal view - not opinion - out of the therapy and projecting on the patient.
Though that is the mildest form of patient abuse, which we are going to talk about now. And for the patient it is hard to say anything, because most have no idea about psychology most of the time.
The patient is at their most vulnerable and trust the therapist to help them - is at their mercy - and then things happen. The patients usually feels guilty and thinks, it is something they did wrong.
I mean the therapist knows what he is doing right? And I mean it is to help me right? You always have the right to say no - even if you can’t argue why. If it makes you uncomfortable - you have the right to say stop.
Patient abuse can go up to literally sexual abuse - the German times recently wrote an article about it. The actual clinic, doctor, etc abuse I will cover in a different episode - as it is a topic on its own.
Even my mother was victim to patient abuse herself - which I helped her through it after the appointment - luckily it was just the mild form.
She was very confused and even though she knew better, she thought herself to be wrong, as the therapist was the expert and she felt out of her field of expertise. Typical for an abuse of power position.
The problem is, even if the patient recognizes that he was abused, he won’t do or say anything - as the therapist is felt much more believable than themselves. This can cause a trauma.
There are abusers who especially take those kind of jobs, because they know their victim would never go up against them and is to helpless or weak to do so. They also have to break a wall of silence.
The topic of patient abuse is very extensive and I can go into detail if it is wished, but I feel like this would go beyond this episode. But to make a short summary:
A good therapist should help build up your independence and confidence and you should feel save and secure with him or her. Isolating you or feeling like you need him, are huge red flags, which shouldn’t be ignored.

Private Words
Just some private words here at the end. As you know I am an autist, a pretty strong one at that. I rated 183 of 200 points in an Internet test - which needs to be taken with a grain of salt of course - but nonetheless.
I am having very strong symptoms - but usually can manage. I was tested in the clinic, specialized as 1 of 6 places here in Germany and got the confirmation. Now I filed for my handicap being recognized by the state.
Which they didn’t give me, but instead ADD, which doesn’t even count as handicap anymore when you are an adult. And which doesn’t give me access to the support I need.
So I filed a lawsuit, as otherwise I am stuck with this my whole life and have no chance of changing it. Which was declined this Friday, because I managed to finish school and therefor couldn’t be handicapped.
At least according to the consulting doctor. That I was missing literally 60% of the time and other details were naturally not asked. Good to know that my last weeks of struggle were just my imagination.
Ah bureaucracy - the true religion of Germany. I am sorry, but in those kind of situation only gallows humor helps. I talk with my lawyer, but I don’t expect any help or change soon.

That was it for todays episode - I hope it gave you some insights in the - though limited - options you can take. Please don’t hesitate to speak up if you feel the therapist stepped out of line. He or she is only human too.
If you have any questions or feedback and the like, please let me know at contactme@johannadraconis.com.
More information and transcript you can find as usually under johannadraconis.com/Podcast and links are in the description.
I hope to see you next time. Watch yourselves and have a wonderful time.

The Deconstruction Of C-PTSD ~ Episode 15 - PTSD therapy methods and abuse II
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