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Hi, I'd like to help you with your question.
There are many therapy options available that you can choose from. You may not necessarily need a 5 day intensive group treatment. PTSD can be treated on an outpatient, once a week therapy session option as well. It depends on what you feel you need.
If you only had an evaluation by one facility/ therapist so far, you can seek out a second opinion (or more if you feel you need to). One place to start is your local community mental health facility. They offer outpatient, groups and other treatment options. They usually accept most insurances and cost less that most therapists or facilities. To find your local community mental health center, contact your city government offices, look online or call the United Way for the information. The United Way is another resource that can offer you resources in your community. Contact them to get a list of your options.
You can also contact your insurance company for lists of available therapists you can see. Once you know who accepts your insurance, it will be easier to get another evaluation to determine what you need for treatment.
Unless you are in immediate distress and are having problems functioning, outpatient therapy should be enough.
Also, you can help yourself at home. Combined with outpatient therapy, PTSD can be effectively treated. Here are some resources to help you:
The PTSD Workbook: Simple, Effective Techniques for Overcoming Traumatic Stress Symptoms by Mary Beth Williams and Soili Poijula
The Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Sourcebook: A Guide to Healing, Recovery, and Growth by Glenn R. Schiraldi
You can find the books on Amazon.com or your local library may have them for you.
As long as you feel you can use a combination of therapies and support, you can treat your PTSD very effectively.
I hope this has helped,Kate
Hi Kate, I guess my question was not clear enough. The intensive program is not a group. It is 1-on-1 with a therapist using EMDR and other methods..I don't know exactly what they are...drawing, writing and I don't know what else. I know that EMDR was not covered by Tricare (Military insurance) 10 years ago but is now covered as basic protocol for PTSD. I don't know if this intensive plan will be covered down the road. I feel it would be good for me because I am an artist...I see things visually but don't do well with reading and intangible concepts. If I have gaps between sessions with 'life issues' to deal with in between I forget. I have had 4 sessions with the therapist so far but don't feel like I'm any better than I was at the beginning except that being off of work without all the stress it entails has reduced the anxiety attacks. They have me set to go back to work on Sept 7. The intensive was scheduled for the week prior. I was hoping that week would give me a positive basis to go back to the real world.
My main concern is the money....my father first agreed to pay for it. Now he's hesitant. A neighbor who went thru EMDR therapy for trauma as a paramedic is very concerned about my spending $5000 for what he thinks can be accomplished by an EMDR therapist covered by insurance. I'm already having enough problems and stress which is why I needed the therapy in the first place....now I'm feeling even more stress over having to defend the therapy I need and who to trust regarding it.
Kate how can I decide whether the intensive program is best for me and convince my father to pay for it or if I should look elsewhere? And if I did get a second opinion and decide to go back to the intensive I could lose that week's slot (if I haven't already...they scheduled it for me to work with my time off work....if not that week, the next opening was the last week in October which would mean more time off work).
From what I know about EMDR, it is not a proven therapy. But there are some studies showing it is effective for some people.
With your time frame, you are looking for immediate help. The chances of having this treatment in one week and you feeling much better is slim. I am sorry, but I want to be upfront with you. PTSD involves treatment that needs to be effective and that takes time. If you have already completed 4 sessions and do not feel any better, that means you may need more time. You did not get PTSD overnight, so it will take time to feel better.
The issue here is the pressure to get this done before you need to go back to work. But spending $5,000 on a treatment that has not helped you yet after 4 sessions and hoping that it will work is a risk. You can certainly take the risk, but if it does not work how will you handle it? That might be the option to explore before you decide what to do. Also, are you expecting it to cure you or are you expecting to do the intensive week then have more therapy afterwards? That matters as well in deciding how to approach this issue.
You also can use the resources I gave you to help improve your chances of recovery. If you do not find reading helpful, you can try a group. The support can make a big difference in helping you overcome the symptoms you are experiencing and help you get back to work. If you are able to talk with others who have had the same experiences, you will no longer feel alone and your ability to cope will improve.
Kate, I am not looking for the 5 day program to 'cure' me, just give me a solid foundation to start from. I would definitely be continuing with the therapist afterwards. Are there any programs you are familiar with similar to this 5 day program or do you think this is exclusive to this group? The 4 sessions I've had so far have been basic sort of history gathering, defining my issues, etc. My father attended one session so that the therapist could explain my issues to him and he was able to give her information from my childhood that I was not aware of. She had me attend an Al-Anon meeting that she felt would help in the long run. I feel like we are just getting started but don't feel like I have had any actual therapy yet. She was a bit offended when I told her that....maybe I worded it wrong. Can you tell me what should have been accomplished in 4 visits?
I will contact the resources you mentioned. Is there an agency or organization that would have feedback on a local therapist or group? Someone who could tell me if there have been any complaints filed against them or that can give me information about their programs and procedures to help form my decision?
$5000 is a lot of money but I don't mind spending it (even if it has to be a loan from my father) if it will benefit me. I look at it like a college class or a seminar I would be attending. I'm 64 years old and have dealt with the effects of the issues since I was about 5 years old. I don't have time (either to be off work or in years left to live) to dabble around here and there with groups or various therapists. I need to do something effective and constructive now in order to have a 'normal' rest of my life. I have no relationships and have not had for about 8 years. I have problems dealing with issues at work. My two closest friends are states away. I do not have close relationships with family. Except for my cat, there is no one whose day would be any different if I were not here.
To answser your question, I don't know what I will do if I take the intensive course and it doesn't work. It would be very devastating. But I'm not sure how much worse off I'd be if I go a long with 55 minute sessions for any extended period of time.
I just don't know how to decide which fork in the road to take.
I understand your dilemma. Therapy is a process that each individual tailors to their own needs. That is why there are so many treatment options available. Every person has different needs so what each person feels helps them differs as well.
There are no other programs that are intensive in the same way as the EMDR program you are considering. Inpatient and intensive regular group therapy are the two that come to mind, but you are not saying anything that makes me feel you need admitted to the hospital or that intensive group therapy is what you are looking for.
Within four day, if you were in an effective treatment program, they would have taken some steps with you to develop your natural coping mechanisms for dealing with a PTSD event. Recent research (Bisson, 2003 and the NIMH) showed that helping you develop your own coping skills is key to regaining your emotional health. A good program will gather information about the cause of the PTSD and will assist you in developing a safe, emotional and physical environment. They will also link you to supportive services. That is typically what happens in the first four sessions of therapy.
Agencies that you can contact about feedback on a particular therapist or group include the local state licensure board for your state, the Better Business Bureau and the APA- the American Psychological Association.
You can also contact your local universities to ask them about good therapists in your area. They may also talk to you about the EMDR program you are considering, since universities are usually up to date on current trends in mental health. They can often provide a lot of information.
What you choose in terms of your treatment all depends on what you feel you need. Each person has to figure out what they feel would work for them. It is much like picking out a doctor to treat your illness. A little investigation is needed and maybe a few trials and errors until you find exactly what you are looking for. If you do feel the EMDR program fits your needs, by all means try it. I wanted to give you the best information I have to help you find the best treatment for your needs.