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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5823
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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How can i help my neice with ptsd - on meds, afraid to go

Customer Question

how can i help my neice with ptsd - on meds, afraid to go back to school where she was attacked? She is therapy too. Do you push? It is always "I'll go tomorrow"
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 6 years ago.

Hi, I'd like to help you with your question.

I would not push her to go back. When you push, it can make it worse. She suffered a traumatic event and she has to face the same place again. It most likely will bring up a lot of the same feelings she had from being attacked. That is a very difficult thing to face. Part of PTSD, as you may know, is a fear of returning to the site of the event or even of reminders of the site. The fear can be extreme.

If you feel she must go back, is there a way to have her visit the site without any students being around? Maybe after school, or before school starts. Go with her and let her take anyone else she feels safe with. She needs to feel supported and safe when she sees the site again. The idea is to ease her back in slowly.

Can anyone stay with her the first few days she goes back? She needs an anchor, someone to turn to if she feels afraid or needs a break. It also should be someone who understands how she feels and what she has been through.

Is the person(s) who attacked her in jail? If they are still around, this might be too difficult for her to cope with. If they are in jail, however, that may help her face the situation.

Is there anyway to change schools? Facing the site day after day until she feels better is going to be overwhelming at best. It may affect her school work and her ability to relax and find school a tolerable place. If she can go to a different school, she will be better able to separate her experience and her academic future.

I hope this has helped,

TherapistMarryAnn and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
When she is with me - do I stay away from the subject unless she brings it up?
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 6 years ago.

If you are not her legal guardian, you can ask her how she is feeling and offer to be there if she wants to talk. If you are her legal guardian, then you can talk with her about it as you see appropriate. Watch her for signals that it is too much to talk about right then or that she needs to talk at that time. It will be an up and down process for her until she can start feeling better.