Those who go through a catastrophic life experience often feel permanently changed by the impact of what has happened. They become numb and shut off from those around them and grief or guilt may constantly weigh them down. Memories of horrifying scenes may intrude unexpectedly during waking hours while sleep may be disturbed by vivid, unpleasant dreams.
Traumatic stress responses, including Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (or PTSD), are psychological conditions that result from a person's coping resources having been completely overwhelmed by a terrible experience. These 'flashbacks' can be so severe that sufferers may feel that they are losing their sanity and subsequently become isolated in their distress. This book demonstrates, with practical advice and tested exercises, how to find new, effective ways of coping with, and finally overcoming, traumatic stress.
Overcoming self-help guides use Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) techniques to treat disorders by changing unhelpful patterns of behaviour and thought. CBT is internationally favoured as a practical means of overcoming long-standing and disabling conditions, both psychological and physical. Many guides in the Overcoming series are recommended by the UK Department of Health under the Books on Prescription scheme.
Claudia Herbert is Director of the Oxford Development Centre Ltd and the Oxford Stress and Trauma Centre and is a professor at the Institute of Cognitive Science in Grosetto, Italy.