Posts Tagged ‘C-PTSD’

Caring for someone with PTSD can sometimes lead to secondary trauma.


Photo by Grace Ciszkowski

National Institute for the Clinical Application of Behavioral Medicine

Caring for someone with PTSD can sometimes lead to secondary trauma.

And researchers at the University of Utah wondered just how bad that secondary trauma could be.

While completing her graduate studies, Catherine Caska Wallace, PhD and her research team studied two groups of male veterans, along with their female partners. In 32 couples, the veterans suffered from PTSD, and in the control group of 33 couples, PTSD wasn’t a factor.

The veterans in both groups had been deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan at least once in the past decade.

After the researchers interviewed the couples to measure PTSD, depression, marital satisfaction, and areas of disagreement, they asked the couples to undergo a brief experiment.

Researchers asked each couple to have a conversation about a current issue on which they strongly disagreed.

Before and after the conversation, researchers took physiological measurements from both partners, including blood pressure and heart rate.

Some of their findings probably weren’t surprising. Both veterans and partners in the PTSD group reported significantly higher emotional stress, measured through disaffection and disharmony. They also reported problems with frequent and intense emotional conflict.

But when they looked at the physiological measurements, researchers found something particularly interesting.

While the couples in the PTSD group showed elevated blood pressure during the conversation relative to controls, the partners of the veterans in particular showed the highest blood pressure – even compared to the veterans themselves.

It’s important to note that this study didn’t use random assignment when selecting its sample, so there’s a limit to how much we can generalize its results.

Although preliminary, this research suggests that PTSD can have far reaching and significant physiological impact even among people who don’t suffer from it.

Of course, the blood pressure finding stood alone in this study. I’d like to see more research that examines other physiological and mental factors with the partners of post-traumatic stress sufferers.

If PTSD really carries significant health risks for the partners of veterans, more attention should be paid to them in future research.”



Decide today!

Since happiness only happens in the present moment, can you decide to be happy today.

We need to ask this question, What needs to happen for me to be happy right now?


We do not need to accomplish anything, attain any possessions, titles or status to be happy, now.


If we can not be happy now, chances are that next week, next year or next decade, happiness will not happen.


Is there a more important question for our lives?


Matthew Ricard says our purpose in life is to be happy.


Happiness contains giving and gratitude, not chasing pleasure or collecting possessions and power.

We are one trigger away from _____?

One trigger away from getting worse or healing. It depends on our response.


Like everyone else I feared a trigger exploding, dumping cortisol and adrenaline, over stimulating my nervous system. Triggers grow in power when we deny, escape or freeze up.


Now, I see triggers as an opportunity to heal, to integrate our trauma to current time.
PTSD scares us most when it fires our fight or flight mechanism. Constant triggers firing drives our nervous system crazy. I used to shake from all the cortisol in my system.


Ironically PTSD is at its weakest at this same point.


If we can stay present, focused on our breath during a trigger, it will lose power.


Each successive time we focus and stay present, PTSD loses more power.

Triggers are our best opportunity to heal as quickly as possible.


Meditation/Mindfulness allows us to observe triggers in the safety of our mind.


A safe prolonged exposure therapy.


When you feel safe, you can search out and extinguish your triggers in real time.

Updated: Motivation

What is the most important skill to look for in a therapist?


Knowledge of multiple therapies, timing, knowing when and how to apply his/her wisdom, adept people skills, or empathy.


For most clients the greatest skill needed, is the ability to motivate them to take action.

Let’s look at our healing time. Having a weekly therapy session gives us four hours a month in session.

That means we have 668 hours a month on our own.


It is obvious to me healing happens in those 668 hours not the 4 in therapy.

Unless you are highly self motivated, taking action between therapy sessions seems highly unlikely.


Healing takes your daily action and attention. I know how hard it is for someone to meditate for just 15 minutes a day.


The ability of your therapist to motivate you decides if you improve or suffer.


The ability of your therapist to convey this truth is crucial.


It is my responsibility to take action.


How many people share that conviction.


The skill to motivate is not taught in our college curriculum.


PTSD is at epidemic levels. In my opinion, only a small portion of those suffering reach a therapists couch.


Many are never diagnosed, others do not have insurance or financial ability to afford help and few ever seek a second therapist when the first is not a match.


What do you value most in a therapist?



Thoughts on growing Gratitude





Gratitude can not live in the midst of jealousy, resentment, worry, doubt or fear.


If our time is wrapped up in these negative emotions, how could we be grateful.


Part of the challenge is accepting all we have right now as enough. This skill takes practice and application.


It took me six months with a therapist to actually use acceptance skillfully.


That does not mean we do not strive for more but that desire is in perspective.


If I am resentful or jealous of others who have more, gratitude can not exist.


Remember happiness only happens right now, this moment, then opportunity passes on to the next moment.


If you believe you need to accomplish something, earn something, you will never be happy.


We need to accept everything about life and ourselves, the good, the bad, the neutral and the mundane.


Work on accepting the smaller flaws we perceive before working on things that embarrass us or we feel some shame about.

Simple, small things

My two grandsons
Bring attention to your senses without narration.

See, smell, touch, hear, taste.


Resist judging the stimuli!


Let the stimuli live in your senses.


Catching yourself lost in thought, ruminating or distracted, then absorb through your senses.


Our senses are ever present and always available.



Learn to enter the mundane, absorb below the surface.



Be grateful for life, it is a special gift.


Awareness is impacted by time and speed!


Awareness thrives when the mind is focused and going slow.

Time impacts our awareness. Look how we act when we find ourself late for an important meeting. Being late accelerates our speed, we almost reach panic stage, unaware of everything but being late.


The mind races when we lose focus. Our bodies can go supersonic, however the mind works best going slow, being focused, empty of the noise.

While meditating, we intentionally slow the breath, which slows the nervous system, which helps us focus, letting the mind empty itself.


Using your breath, slow your heartbeat.

Then slow it some more.


Lengthen your breaths, extend the exhales, try to stop your heart, gently.

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