No relationship is perfect, and everyone faces issues when married, dating, or living together. But what if things have taken a turn for the worst for you and your partner? Do you feel like you are at your wits end trying to make the relationship work? If so, couples’ therapy may benefit your relationship, and help conquer some of the challenges that have caused you emotional pain and suffering between you and your significant other.
We are well into September now, and Fall is upon us. It can mean many things like cooler weather, back to school, and day light hours getting shorter and shorter. September is also Suicide Prevention Month. With the high profile death by suicides that occurred this past summer with Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, our society is still mourning the loss of these very public passings.
Suicide is a very hard thing to understand to most of us. We have so many questions, and the answers are not always available to us. Especially if we have been affected by suicide, often our questions will remain unanswered because our loved ones are now gone.
Are their warning signs, or illnesses that might predispose someone to suicide? It is often hard to pinpoint what someone is going through internally, but some say if you are suffering from depression, anxiety or have had suicide in your family you could be more likely to have suicidal ideation.
Other social factors not to be overlooked are feeling overwhelmed with the state of our politics/economic turmoil. Experiencing financial burdens or stressors. Going through a divorce, or losing a job can also be triggers. Most often there is an intense feeling of hopelessness and helplessness felt by the individual. They often see no solution whatsoever for their current situation.
One key factor in preventing suicide is to speak openly about it. It is not something that should be hidden, or kept a secret. The more we talk about it, the more we can do to help and prevent it. Providing a safe environment around suicide, is important in understanding it and getting those at risk the help they need.
If you or someone you know is suffering, you can refer them to Biltmore Psychology and Counseling if you are local to Arizona. Or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a great resource. They have a national number to call
and their website has great information.
Recently we have had a few tragedies in the media, with the suicides of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain. It brings to light again, a topic that is so tough to talk about and often too late. Many of us know someone who has lost their lives to suicide, or has been deeply impacted by the act of suicide. Today we’re watching a Ted Talk by Jeremy Forbes about, How to start a conversation about suicide.
If you or a loved one are having thoughts about hurting themselves or others, we encourage you to call the Empact Crisis Line 1800-273-8255
When you or a loved one has suffered from a traumatic event, what can you expect when you seek treatment? There are a lot of different types of treatments out there, and the success always depends on the individual. But according to The American Psychological Association, there are four main types of treatments that they recommend during therapy for those suffering from PTSD.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
- Cognitive Processing Therapy
- Cognitive Therapy
- Prolonged Exposure
CBT or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a very common and well know treatment for clients who are seeking psychological help for their PTSD. It generally has the client focus on the behaviors, thoughts and/or feelings that they are associating with the trauma they experienced. When these behaviors, thoughts, and feelings are identified, they are then worked to change them from a negative pattern to a more positive one. When changing a behavior, it can then change the thoughts or feelings that go along with that behavior. And vice versa, changing the thoughts and feelings associated with a certain type of behavior can then in turn change the behavior.
CPT or Cognitive Processing Therapy is the specific type of CBT that allows clients to learn how to change the negative thoughts/feelings and behaviors associated with the trauma. It will give clients the tools to change and replace behaviors and thoughts in order to eliminate the negativity in their lives.
CT or Cognitive Therapy involves focusing on the thoughts a person is having that keeps bringing them back to the trauma and negative experience. CT will change or “interrupt” the thought process, in order to redirect the thoughts so that they are not having such an impact on the persons every day life.
Prolonged Exposure is a type of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy that has the client focus on the memories, thoughts and/or feelings they have been avoiding that surround the traumatic event. It helps the client get rid of the avoidance, and face the memories head on, in order to challenge the memories/thoughts/feelings. This can help the client become aware the memories do not need to be avoided, and can actually be worked through in a positive manner.
Whatever type of treatment is done, or is sought out by the client, we know this can be a very difficult time in a persons life. We encourage anyone who has suffered or is suffering from something traumatic to seek help. You deserve to feel better, and to have control over your life!
To read more on the treatments at APA go here.
If you are suffering from PTSD, you know how painful it can be. But what is it like for your partner? I’m sure your partner is doing everything they can to be supportive and understanding, but it can be difficult to watch someone you love go through something so painful and not be sure how to help.
No matter what the trauma was that caused the post traumatic stress, it can surface in your relationship in many different ways according to Good Therapy’s article by Anastasia Polluck, LCMHC, Posttrauamtic Stress Topic Expert Contributor. She states that relationships affected by PTSD can look like:
- Avoidance of and decrease in emotional and physical intimacy
- Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness by both partners
- Feelings of frustration, anger, confusion, and sadness
- Increase in anxiety
- More frequent arguments and difficulty finding resolution to problems
The most important thing here is to know that these items need to be addressed, spoken about, and a solution of some sort on the horizon in order for the relationship to survive. Ignoring or “waiting” until the traumatized individual “gets over” their PTSD is likely not going to happen in a healthy and productive manner. Anastasia Polluck goes on to list several things that the partner and the traumatized individual can do to get through this difficult time.
- Don’t try to fix or heal the trauma and the accompanying symptoms your partner is experiencing
- Don’t take it personally.
- Don’t make assumptions.
- Consider getting counseling for the individual who did not experience the trauma.
- Involve your partner and communicate regularly.
- Attend counseling for the traumatized individual regularly, and work with your therapist to improve symptoms.
If you want to read more about how to execute these 6 items, head on over to Good Therapy and read the article. She writes a lot of good information, that can be enlightening to those who have a loved one going through something AND for those who are going through it.