Many people do not realize the trauma that first responders experience on a daily basis. These professionals are usually the first people to respond in the event of a medical emergency, natural disaster, billowing fire, and other serious situations. As a result, these individuals often see events and circumstances that other people cannot possibly imagine.
Trauma often causes people to struggle with their memories and thoughts about the event. You may have a hard time making sense of what happened. You may find yourself getting "stuck" in your thoughts about the trauma and how it affects your life. This feeling of being unable to make sense of the trauma can make you want to avoid thinking about or dealing with your memories.
It is important for every first responder to take care of his or her overall health and this is where CPT and CBT come in.
How Cognitive Processing Therapy Can Help: Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) helps by giving you a new way to handle distressing thoughts and to gain an understanding of traumatic events. By using the skills learned in this therapy, you can learn why recovery from traumatic events has been hard for you. CPT helps you learn how going through a trauma changed the way you look at the world, yourself, and others, which directly affects how we feel and act. You will learn about PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) symptoms and how this treatment can be effective. This individual treatment program is typically provided over a 12-week span and we recommend booking a free 15-minute consultation with Stephanie to learn more before committing to the program.
The 5 Main Areas of CPT:
1. Learning About Your PTSD Symptoms. CPT begins with education about your specific PTSD symptoms and how the treatment can help. The therapy plan will be reviewed and the reasons for each part of the therapy will be explained. You will be able to ask questions and to know exactly what you are going to be doing in this therapy. You will also learn why these skills may help.
2. Becoming Aware of Thoughts and Feelings. Next, CPT focuses on helping you become more aware of your thoughts and feelings. When bad things happen, we want to make sense of why they happened. An example would be a Veteran who thinks to himself or herself, "I should have known that this would happen." Sometimes we get stuck on these thoughts. In CPT you will learn how to pay attention to your thoughts about the trauma and how they make you feel. You'll then be asked to step back and think about how your trauma is affecting you now. This will help you think about your trauma in a different way than you did before. It can be done either by writing or by talking to your therapist about it.
3. Learning Skills. After you become more aware of your thoughts and feelings, you will learn skills to help you question or challenge your thoughts. You will do this with the help of worksheets. You will be able to use these skills to decide the way YOU want to think and feel about your trauma. These skills can also help you deal with other problems in your day-to-day life.
4. Understanding Changes in Beliefs. Finally, you will learn about the common changes in beliefs that occur after going through trauma. Many people have problems understanding how to live in the world after trauma. Your beliefs about safety, trust, control, self-esteem, other people, and relationships can change after trauma. In CPT you will get to talk about your beliefs in these different areas. You will learn to find a better balance between the beliefs you had before and after your trauma.
5. Learning new ways to cope with your trauma. You and your therapist will work together to help you learn a new way of coping with your trauma. In CPT you will work closely with your therapist to reach your goals. You will be meeting with them on a regular basis for 12 sessions. During your therapy you will also have the chance to practice your new skills outside of your therapy meetings. The more you practice your new skills, the sooner they will begin working for you. By choosing to approach your experiences in a new and different way, you will be able to decide how your past affects your future.
How Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Can Help:
CBT stands for cognitive behavioural therapy. This type of therapy is important because it allows first responders to take care of their mental health. There are a few benefits of CBT for first responders that everyone should keep in mind:
1. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Can Help People With PTSD. One of the major benefits of CBT is that it can help people who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, also known as PTSD. This is a condition that is typically diagnosed by those who have a tremendous amount of experience with mental health issues. First responders are some of the most common people who suffer from this condition. This condition develops because these individuals are commonly exposed to traumatic situations. There are a few common symptoms of PTSD. Some of the most common signs include avoiding triggering events, which might include people or places, and flashbacks. These flashbacks can cause someone to sweat, become agitated, and have high blood pressure. Furthermore, those who suffer from PTSD can develop cognitive effects as well. They may start to dissociate from other people and feel extreme loneliness. This is one of the many conditions that can be treated by cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT). 2. How Does CBT Work? While those who suffer from PTSD might first have medications recommended to them, these often aren’t enough to help someone recover fully. Therefore, many professionals will recommend that individuals who suffer from PTSD, particularly first responders, enroll in cognitive behavioural therapy. This treatment method helps those who suffer from PTSD and other mental health conditions identify the mechanisms that brought them to that place. Then, these mechanisms are treated, helping someone lead both a happier and healthier life. It is important for everyone interested in cognitive behavioural therapy to know how this works.
Those who specialize in CBT are going to lead a session that is going to directly address how someone thinks. There is a reason why that specific traumatic incident has caused someone to develop mental health issues such as PTSD. Identifying and exploring this incident will help not only the therapist but also the client get through their fears. These sessions typically last for an hour and take place once per week; however, the client is also going to have “homework” that they are going to have to complete on their own time to further this process. Giving the client tools to manage these issues is a critical part of the treatment process because, eventually, patients are going to have to manage this situation on their own.
3. No Side Effects. The most important benefit of CBT that everyone should note is that there are no side effects. People who undergo CBT are simply going through counselling or mental exercises. Furthermore, CBT works by addressing the root cause of the problem. The goal isn’t just to treat the symptoms on the surface but to prevent the symptoms from coming back. This is another way that CBT sets itself apart from the other treatment options available. CBT seeks to give patients the tools to manage their overall health moving forward. This will lead to overall improved quality of life.
4. Trust Professional CBT Therapy Meant For First Responders. While there are lots of options for mental health treatment available, it is important for first responders to trust treatment options that have been designed exactly for them.