New Type of Counselling Could Reduce Risk of PTSD for Victims of Crime


Researchers have found that a new type of CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy), a form of counselling, can help reduce the risk of developing PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) in victims who have experienced an emotional or psychological trauma. A trauma, an emotional response to a harmful, terrifying, life-threatening event, can have significant consequences for the victims who experienced this trauma.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Victims of a crime, such as sexual abuse, rape or a robbery, for example, can suffer from physical and psychological reactions relating to the trauma. These reactions include nightmares, emotional numbness, difficulty sleeping, having angry outbursts, being hypervigilant and many others. When a victim suffers a trauma, it is normal for the body to respond, with fear and a fight-or-flight response. However, when the traumatic event is over, the fear, shock, denial, etc, should reduce. Some victims keep experiencing these symptoms and when these symptoms stay for more than a few months, it is likely that the victim is suffering from PTSD or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Verbal Therapy

New research into the onset of PTSD has shown that a type of CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) can help reduce the risk of developing PTSD in victims who experience a traumatic event. A study was done to examine whether ‘updating’ could be used for victims of trauma directly after a traumatic event. Updating is a type of verbal therapy (which falls under CBT), in which traumatic memories are ‘re-written’ with facts and information, which can bring the trauma in line with the consequences for the people who were involved and the meaning of what actually happened. The six hours after a traumatic event are known as the ‘consolidation window’, where fear memories are established and strengthened. The researchers looked to see if counselling (specifically with verbal therapy) during this period could help reduce the risk of PTSD. In their study, they found that risk of PTSD was reduced by half and that there was a significant decrease in distress and physical arousal when using verbal therapy directly after a traumatic event. They found that verbal therapy might change the way the memory is stored, by finding out what actually happened directly after the traumatic event. This new information could help the brain to change the traumatic memory which can make the memory less frightening.

Trauma Counselling and PTSD

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a hard thing to live with, both for the individual suffering from it, as well as on the family and friends around them. For those experiencing a trauma or groups who are regularly exposed to trauma, such as military police, emergency workers or journalists who work in a war zone, these new findings might help in preventing PTSD. For those who have experienced a trauma and are experiencing (some or many) symptoms, whether it happened to you or to a close friend or loved one, it is important to seek counselling. We offer trauma counselling that can help deal with the emotional and psychological consequences of experiencing a trauma and seeking help can provide relieve and possibly prevent the victim from developing PTSD. The government provides victims services, which can include free counselling and financial support to victims. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions or would like to have more information.

For more information on the best treatments for PTSD in Sydney using Victim Services NSW approved specialist counsellor contact the clinical psychologists in Potentialz Unlimited with full confidence. All inquiries are treated with full confidence.


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