Individual Counseling For PTSD Exacerbated By COVID-19
June is National Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Awareness month and is intended to raise awareness and reduce stigma so those suffering can receive proper help. Individual counseling is available to help with PTSD during the coronavirus pandemic and beyond. People who have experienced complex or developmental trauma can have the symptoms emphasized during these times of global crisis. It is important that we address these traumas in individual counseling.
During these stressful times, we all need a caring community and routines that support health and self-care. Those with a history of trauma may find it especially helpful to recognize the ways the present may overlap the past, making an already scary environment more unsettling. Individual counseling can help identify those overlaps, and find tangible daily practices to cope. Even with the variables of a larger societal crisis that we can’t control, it can be extraordinarily helpful to develop daily habits to manage anxiety.
Strategies For Coping During Times Of Acute Stress
These are few coping techniques that may help someone recenter and calm themselves. You can experiment with these and discuss them and others in individual counseling to find what works for you.
- Build a daily routine. Going through the same orderly motions every day helps give you a sense of control and predictability.
- Stay connected to your community. Schedule regular video, phone, or text chats with people who make you feel comfortable and supported to prevent feeling isolated.
- Make safe physical touch and closeness a comforting part of your daily life. Cuddle up to a pet, child, or partner in your home if you have the option, or curl up with a favorite stuffed animal, pillow, or blanket.
- Try building a simple mindfulness practice into your day, such as deep breathing, meditation, stretching/yoga, or guided imagery. Many apps are available to guide these practices.
- Get outside to breathe some fresh air, take a walk or bike ride, or do some work in your yard or garden whenever possible.
- Use your senses to focus on what you can see, hear, touch, smell, or taste right now to remind yourself that your fear from past experiences is not happening in the present.
- Try creating things that give you a sense of accomplishment. Baking, painting, writing, collaging, and making photo albums and scrapbooks are all creative tasks that can feel both calming and productive.
- Redirect your thoughts by working on light but focused problem-solving activities like jigsaw puzzles, crosswords, or Sudoku.
- Limit your media and news consumption. Consider only checking for news updates three times per day, and not for more than 15 to 20 minutes.
- Remember that asking for help is important. Contact a trusted friend, family member, mentor, or therapist when you need comfort, encouragement, or just someone to listen. In return, when you are feeling more stable, consider making yourself available for emotional support to others in your life.
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