Licensed marriage and family therapy associate Heather Gardner discussed post-traumatic stress disorder with us today. 

June is PTSD awareness month and in recognition of this, Gardner shared with us the basics of PTSD. She said that PTSD is an anxiety disorder that develops after experiencing or witnessing an extremely traumatic event such as combat, crime, natural disaster, sexual assault, or other life-threatening events. 

Gardner explained that after experiencing or witnessing trauma, it’s common for individuals to have upsetting memories, feel on edge, or have trouble sleeping. Oftentimes, it’s hard to do normal daily activities but after some time passes such as a couple of weeks or months. If these symptoms extend beyond a couple of months, a person may have developed PTSD, however, PTSD must be diagnosed by a licensed medical professional.  

Various symptoms of PTSD include irritability, aggression or engaging in risky behavior, hypervigilance, startling reactions, and difficulty sleeping or concentrating. It can also include negative thoughts or feelings such as overly negative thoughts about yourself or the world, exaggerated blame, negative mood, loss of interest in activities, and feeling isolated.  

Gardner explained that a new treatment for PTSD includes Accelerated Resolution Therapy. This treatment targets the distressing images and sensations associated with PTSD and uses bilateral stimulation through eye movements to help reprocess the traumatic memories. ART follows a protocol or script, that trained clinicians guide their clients through.  

To find a therapist near you to help with processing PTSD viewers can go to  Acceleratedresolutiontherapy.org to find a certified therapist  

Viewers can also reach out to Gardner by calling 435.494.1359