Help and Hope for Post Traumatic Stress
The past is something to be learned from—not lived in.
You should not be forced to relive your trauma through repeated retelling of your traumatic experiences. Solution Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT) is a proven treatment that will let you move forward without being forced to look backward.
Post traumatic stress disorder can affect anyone who has ever been subject to traumatic events in their life.
There is no way to predict who will be affected by PTSD, or the degree of impact that PTSD will have on one’s ability to lead a fulfilling life.
There are several therapies available for sufferers of post traumatic stress. Some are psychiatric and pharmacological, others involve different types counseling psychotherapy. The most common standard PTSD therapies involve encouraging trauma survivors to deal with terrible events by talking them out in great detail. They might even record their story so they can later listen to it over and over. Studies have shown that these treatments have only limited success. (ref.) It is even possible that the standard therapies can embed the trauma even deeper into the psyche. (ref.)
Solution Focused Brief Therapy is Different
Solution Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT) is a form of counseling psychotherapy that is future focused. It has similarities to Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) with one very important difference. CBT focuses on problems; SFBT focuses on solutions. With SFBT there is no need to keep repeating and reliving your trauma. We assume that the best expert on your life is you, and that with your expertise, we will find a way to a more hopeful future. It is even possible to find some relief after only a single session. Many people are ready to move on with their lives after only a few sessions. SFBT does not conflict with most other therapies. Clients can continue to see other therapists and should continue taking prescribed medications. The premise of SFBT is, “do what works”.
Allan Revich, M.Ed. offers SFBT online via a secure, encrypted video call. No software installation is required. Allan has a Master’s Degree in Adult Education and Counseling Psychology from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto, and a Graduate Certificate in Solution Focused Brief Therapy from the University of St. Michael’s College at the University of Toronto. Allan is also an IDF (Israeli Army) veteran.
The core principles of SFBT are:
- There is always hope!
- Everyone has strengths and abilities
- Focus on solutions, not problems
- Set realistic and achievable goals
- Do more of what works, stop doing what isn’t working
- Recognize, celebrate, and compliment every success
- Small steps lead to big changes
- Optimism is not an illusion—it is the new reality
- Something always “went right”, let’s talk about that
What will we actually talk about in our sessions?
After we introduce ourselves, you will start by telling me why we are talking. That means you will let me know what brought you to contact me, and what you hope a successful result of our work together should look like.
We can talk about the event(s) that led to your difficulties, but only as much as YOU want to. If you’d rather not talk about it at all—that’s OK too. In the event that you do want to engage directly with the trauma, we will use a visualization technique, based on the RTM protocol, with a proven record of success in reducing the emotional impact of past trauma.
Once you’ve told me everything you want to, we turn our focus forward, towards solutions. We’ll figure out what success looks like, and then work out the steps to be taken that will lead us to the successful outcome.
Contact Allan Revich to see if SFBT is right for you:
NOTE: Session costs are on a sliding scale based on ability to pay
If you are suicidal or experiencing a crisis please do not use this contact information. Call 911 and/or the National Canadian Helpline at 1-800-273-8255 or the National Crisis textline via SMS at: 686868
Standard Practice and Why it Fails
It is often assumed that the way to get past something is to face/feel/process. Talk, write, see a therapist and re-visit the trauma. [but] For some people “going back there,” is not useful and can even exacerbate the problem.Carrie Barton, MD, Psychology Today, 2015
The American Psychological Association currently recommends Four Therapeutic Treatment Options. All four of these require the Traumatic Stress Survivor to revisit the traumatic events that lead to their PTSD, thus imprinting the trauma ever more deeply into their psyche.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
CBT therapies include a variety of treatment options. Some more science based, and future focused than others. Still the “standard” treatment are highly problematic.
…Exposure to the trauma narrative, as well as reminders of the trauma or emotions associated with the trauma, are often used to help the patient reduce avoidance and maladaptive associations with the trauma.APA CBT Article
Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT)
The patient writes a detailed account of the worst traumatic experience, which the patient reads in the next session to try and break the pattern of avoiding thoughts and feelings associated with the trauma.APA CPT Article
Cognitive Therapy (CT)
…This can be accomplished, in part, by writing a comprehensive account of the traumatic event, through imaginal reliving of the traumatic event, or by revisiting the location where the traumatic event occurred.APA CT Article
Prolonged Exposure (PE)
…Imaginal exposure occurs in session with the patient describing the event in detail in the present tense with guidance from the therapist. Together, patient and therapist discuss and process the emotion raised by the imaginal exposure in session.APA PE Article
Scientists (and actors, and musicians!) have known for decades that memory is enhanced by practice and repetition. It defies logic and science to believe that revisiting, repeating, and reliving, a traumatic event will do anything other than to cement it deeper into memory and make it even more prominent in a traumatized person’s life. Solution Focused Brief Therapy is about moving forward, not revisiting the past. Of course, the past matters—that’s why we’re talking—but it doesn’t necessarily help us move forward.
- How Memories Are Made (Lesley University)
- Where Old Memories Go (Scientific American)
- Practice Really Does Make Perfect (Neuroscience News)
- The Science of Memory (Psychology Today)
The 3-S Fundamental Needs Model (Allan Revich)