Using Counselling For PTSD

It’s 2001. You’re in New York and on your way to a meeting. It’s a normal workday and the streets are packed with people jostling for space on the sidewalks. All of a sudden, you hear a loud bang. You look up and The World Trade Centre is on fire. A few minutes’ later, a plane smashes into the side of the second building, and everything starts collapsing. There’s chaos on the street, screaming, smoke. You look up again: you can make figures jumping out the building.

Years will go by, and you’ll still have these images in your head, sometimes in your dreams, and sometimes they’ll pop up in the most unexpected places: while you’re driving, watching a movie, or walking the dog. The worst is that whenever you hear the noise of a plane flying overhead, you start to shake, your heart races, and the memories rush back. You have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

What is PTSD?

According to, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (or PTSD) is a term used to describe a range of symptoms which people develop after experiencing a trauma. Traumas include rape, severe accidents, and physical assault. People don’t necessarily have to experience a trauma directly in order to get PTSD; even witnessing a horrific event can bring it on (a good example is a war situation, or seeing a terrorist attack unfold). PTSD symptoms include vivid flashbacks, nightmares and intrusive thoughts. Those who suffer from PTSD often get easily upset or angry, and they tend to be hyper-vigilant (they’ll become startled at the smallest sound, or an unexpected movement). Most symptoms have a delayed response from the onset of the trauma.

How can counselling help?

According to, Cognitive Behavioural Counselling (CBC) is one of the most widely accepted forms of therapy for PTSD. Treating a patient with CBC allows her to gain control of unwanted, fearful memories by focusing on re-balancing the memory of the experience. For example, for a rape trauma, the patient learns to see herself as a survivor, instead of a victim. PTSD can be difficult to treat, as most suffers don’t want to face their memories, and would rather block them out. But with the right therapeutic approach, PTSD can be resolved over time.

How can you get started in this field?

If you’re interested in learning more about this aspect of counselling, you can undertake any number of counselling courses. Most will have a focus on psychology, and many are available as short, introductory courses. You’ll learn about the basics of counselling, including skills like listening and how to establish a helping relationship. A good introductory course will set you up to become a certified counsellor, social worker or a life coach. Many short counselling courses can be done online, but some are also classroom-based in major locations like Sydney.

Counselling is a highly rewarding career, and it can prove invaluable for certain psychological conditions, especially for PTSD. Trauma doesn’t have to be debilitating; it can be overcome. Enrol in a counselling course today, and give people the help that they need.

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Written by Ang Lloyd for Now Learning, which promotes tertiary study opportunities in Australia, including counselling diplomas online.

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