Last month the SBS program Insight aired a show about memories and how people deal with memories of traumatic events, such as a severe motor vehicle accident, natural disasters, or combat experience. Host Jenny Brockie interviews ordinary people, some who experienced traumatic events in the course of their work, and asks them how they have dealt with the memories of these events over the years since the event. The show explains how the brain consolidates traumatic memories, explores the important issue of whether “to talk or not to talk” about these memories, and addresses when these memories can become a problem and develop into Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). PTSD expert, Professor David Forbes explains how traumatic memories can be addressed using exposure therapy, a technique that is part of trauma-focused Cognitive-Behaviour Therapy (CBT). The show explores the issues surrounding exposure therapy, particularly the importance of finding a psychologist that one is comfortable with, who has experience with this form of therapy, and who can confidently guide you through the process in a supportive way.
Exposure therapy is often avoided by clients and clinicians alike – by clients because the thought of confronting memories of such a traumatic event can feel overwhelming, and by clinicians because it can be a challenging experience to help clients confront these memories if you lack experience in the technique. But as Professor Forbes explains, exposure therapy is a very effective technique for addressing the distress that often accompanies traumatic events. I have been using exposure therapy as part of trauma-focused CBT for almost 20 years, and time and time again I have seen the immense benefits this form of therapy can have for people who are troubled by memories of traumatic events. It is true to say that it is not easy to confront such painful memories, but the research and clinical experience tells us that this is the most effective way to process what has happened and learn how to “move on” with one’s life despite the experience.
This show is a “must-see” for anyone who is troubled by traumatic memories, and for family members struggling to understand the challenges of dealing with these experiences. If you keep scrolling below the video screen on the link below you will find additional information about PTSD and exposure therapy posted by the producers of the program.Leave a reply →