I am noticing a change in the government PTSD page. More and more of the information is addressing the need for information for others plus the military. The page shares a number of ideas that are helpful to finding a therapist.
My first therapist was awesome and understood PTSD. He helped me to regain my life and learn how to live with PTSD. Unfortunately after 7 years he moved. The next therapist helped my marriage. He also moved. (Started feeling a bit paranoid.) The next therapist I saw twice. I asked specifically if she worked with people with PTSD. She said yes. It rapidly became obvious after my previous experience that she had no idea what she was actually working with for someone with long term PTSD. Her behavior clearly stated that she didn’t understand many things that the other two did understand about me. For example, in her office she had me sitting with my back to the door. Not good. She also walked behind me without warning. Of course the clincher for me, she asked me how I came to have PTSD then asked if anybody believed me. Last time I went there. My first counselor had reassured me right from the beginning that he believed me. Took a long time for me to trust him but the relief I felt in being believed is enormous. Sadly, not every therapist is a good one. Also not every good therapist is good for everyone. I was fortunate in my experience. My last therapist acknowledged that she didn’t have a strong background in treating trauma. From her, I learned how much I knew. I studied, read more than I was assigned, researched, analyzed and worked on understanding how I live for over 10 years. At any university that would be equivalent to about a masters degree. I don’t profess to know everything. Studying PTSD is one of those areas the more you study, the more you realize how little is known. I am currently reading a book on the therapist/client relationship. It is interesting to read how he worked with me. The important thing I learned is it matters how hard the client works. If the client doesn’t want to change they won’t. My first counselor described the process that he was the coach and me…I described myself as the rat running the maze. He would warn me not to go down the dead end route….I would. He then would coach me to turn around and change the direction I was choosing to go. I like what Dr. Banks says, “A broken finger will heal without your cooperation, not a broken soul.” I remind myself I didn’t break because I was weak, I was broken by the massive trauma I endured. Counseling taught me a knew way to cope and thrive.