Exposure Therapy Can Help In An Abusive Relationship That Causes PTSD


Source: flickr.com


A relationship with someone who doesn’t acknowledge your worth is always damaging. However, there are times that even if we already knew the proper things we should do, we tend to stick to the usual activities that harm us in a lot of ways. For example, even if we’re aware that our partner is continuously abusing us, we tend to feel the lack of courage and self-worth to fight against it. That’s because we are afraid of the consequences of the supposed actions we are about to take.


The Intervention

According to Colleen Cira, PsyD., a psychologist “PTSD comes from some type of traumatic event.” Exposure therapy is a psychological technique derived from cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). It mainly focuses on addressing issues of phobias and PTSD. It helps in addressing anxiety disorder and other specific mental illnesses that come from severe cases of psychological, emotional and physical torture. It is a type of therapy that breaks the pattern of fear by exposing the person to a progressively higher amount of fear-inducing stimuli. From there, it creates a step-by-step solution in addressing the level of traumatic impact so the patient can slowly terminate the underlying cause of mental and emotional pain.


Source: defense.gov


“Fear, or getting scared, is an emotion that’s part of our biology as human beings, just like other emotions such as sadness, joy and anger. It serves a purpose that’s crucial to our ability to survive,” says Steve Orma, PsyD, a clinical psychologist. However, the fear and pain that are associated with the traumatic event can be particular. It can come from mental torture, emotional neglect, and physical abuse. The process of exposure therapy can bring back all those unwanted emotions and memories that sometimes make it hard for the patient to handle. In some unfortunate events, both the therapist and the patient might lose track of the procedure and end up making everything worse.


Constant Reminder

It’s important to continue learning about the proper procedure of exposure therapy to avoid additional traumas. This type of therapy is very crucial that if not well assessed, it can no longer support the process of recovery and can somehow make the mental illness worse. So before trying out this type of treatment, make sure that you seek someone who specializes in this kind of intervention and secure information regarding their training and practices. Ask for credentials and research for reviews so you can confidently feel safe in the process.


Source: health.mil


The Choice Is Yours

For some cases, some people don’t want to recall any of the traumatic experiences they have with their abusive partner. They want to forget about it and erase it in their memory as much as possible. That’s because sometimes it is too much to handle. However, for those people who consider working their fears through exposure therapy, they are at their own risk. The gradual recollection of the past life-changing experiences can be painful and distressful, so they need to assess their selves to be able to know their capability when it comes to tolerating the emotional and psychological trauma.

As much as you want to save your relationship, you need to consider your overall health first. Marc Romano, PsyD suggests to “Focus on yourself and your own happiness and do not compare yourself to others.” There’s no easiest way in addressing an abusive relationship because whether you like it not, it’s not the kind of commitment that you would want to stick with because it doesn’t contribute to your overall development.