I would like to get a tape for a friend who has had a series of health issues after having a cardiac event, which in the end turned out to be nothing serious, although she was quite scared.
She was healthy and vibrant before the event. Now it seems like there are non-stop health issues (digestive issues, odd pains, hypervigilance, fear everything is cancer, etc.), some of which are likely psychosomatic in nature.
What tape would you suggest for her to recover her past health and well being?
BR got this wonderful note from a hard working EMT who was suffering from all the times he couldn’t save someone –the images of kids especially stayed in his mind and kept him awake at night. Check it out:
I figured out recently that I have PTSD. I am an EMT who has seen a lot of hard situations.
The scenes that stayed with me, kept me awake at night, were the ones where I tried but couldn’t help, in spite of my best efforts. Especially the failures with kids got to me. It was years of building up.
My social worker girlfriend hooked me up with the HJ site. The reviews of the Trauma imagery got my attention. I ordered the download and to my surprise, it helped me immediately. I listened to it every night for about a week. It never failed to bring tears to my eyes, but they were good tears and I was okay with that.
These days I listen to it every now and then. It is my booster shot.
I sleep well now. I stopped faulting myself for the failures. I do the best I can and I know I am good at my job. I feel strong and appreciative of what I try to do. I know I make a difference when I can.
I want to encourage others to use it. It’s the best thing I’ve done for myself when it comes to emotional trauma from the work I do.
Researchers from the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System assessed therapist and patient outcomes from a national training initiative with eleven cohorts (391 therapists and 745 depressed patients) across the country in using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for depression or ACT-D.
Three-hundred thirty four therapists successfully completed the requirements of the ACT-D training program.
Ninety-six percent of therapists achieved competency by the end of training, as compared to 21% at the outset of training.
Mixed effects model analysis indicated therapists' overall ACT-D competency scores increased from 76 to 112 (conditional SD = 6.6), p < 0.001.
Researchers from the VA Puget Sound Health Care System in Seattle, WA assessed outcomes resulting from Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) for 47 veterans with PTSD, depression and quality of life.
The subjects were randomized to treatment as usual (TAU; n = 22), or MBSR plus TAU (n = 25), and assessed at baseline, post-treatment, and 4-month follow-up.
Intention-to-treat analyses found no reliable effects of MBSR on PTSD or depression. Quality of life improved at posttreatment but there was no reliable effect at 4 months.
A while back you posted a story by a corrections counselor, and this inspires me to share another story. I, too, am a social worker who works with incarcerated youth. They are all being tried as adults. The jail where they are being housed has started to let one inmate listen to an imagery recording on anger and forgiveness. He is on lockdown for fighting with another inmate who ruined his food.
He had only begun to listen to the audio, and maybe had heard it three times.
He became very angry about his situation and began pacing back and forth in his cell, trying to decide what to do. He wanted to charge his peer when his cell door was opened. He paced and paced, then he lay down on his bunk and continued to ruminate. (This alone was progress, as in the past he reacted so impulsively, he would not have ever thought about his actions and consequences before acting.)
A woman who survived early childhood trauma writes about being able to sleep again. Here is what she emailed us:
“Belleruth - You are an important part of my life. I go to sleep to
your voice each night! Really, I do. Your guided imagery has helped me
move through troubled waters often as I have worked intensely with a
therapist to heal from years of trauma beginning in early childhood. I
began listening to Healthful Sleep
several years ago as I struggled with persistent insomnia. It was
wonderful! I was able to sleep. I was able to go to sleep and I was able
to sleep without intrusive memories and flashbacks most nights.
Before my traumatic experience, I meditated frequently (Buddhist style). After the trauma, for a while I found I could barely meditate. I wanted to jump out of my own skin whenever I tried to sit. What is going on here and what can I do about it?
This is very common in the aftermath of trauma, when cortisol and other stress hormone levels are abnormally elevated (for weeks and even months), and people are edgy, agitated, scattered, irritable, and basically still experiencing the effects of an acute physiological alarm state.
Usually this goes away by itself. Mindfulness meditation requires discipline and focus, and this may not be the time to demand that kind of concentration from your already overtaxed nervous system. Simple conscious breathing (Andy Weil has a great audio for this – might be just the ticket, or guided imagery, like our General Wellness or Guided Imagery Mix could carry you along, recruiting just enough of your senses and capturing a nice chunk of cognitive space in your brain to be of help, without asking you to do a whole lot.
Aerobic exercise, warm baths and body work would be worth a try too, as well as various kinds of moving meditation – yoga or qigong. All of these interventions have been shown to help balance cortisol and return the body to balance.
But mostly be patient with yourself and don’t ask yourself to do too much at this time. Simple, easy activities to help remind your body how to settle itself back down (it does know how to do this), like the ones I’ve suggested, will be just what you need.
Researchers from the University of Missouri in St. Louis evaluated the treatment response trajectory for 69 male and female interpersonal assault survivors, using a modified Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) protocol that allowed survivors to receive up to 18 sessions of CPT, with treatment end determined by therapy progress.
Few sex differences were observed in trauma history, baseline PTS and depressive severity, Axis I co-morbidity, anger, guilt or degree of dissociation.
Women did report more sexual assault in adulthood and elevated baseline guilt, whereas men reported more baseline anger directed inward.
Attrition and total number of sessions did not differ by sex. Over the course of treatment and follow-up, men and women demonstrated similar rates of change in their PTS and depressive symptoms.
Just a quick question: I have been listening to your guided imagery program for post-traumatic stress. Am I supposed to actively picture all this stuff, or is it like hypnosis where I just sit back and relax and "not try" and am basically hypnotized by it?
I have been using it basically like hypnosis, even to the point where I don't remember any of it and open my eyes right at the second you tell me to.