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Mindfulness Meditation Therapy for PTSD: All You Should Know

Dr. Laura Tanzini

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) isn’t something that you should ever face alone. PTSD treatment centers provide ongoing care and innovative therapies to assist you with any anxiety or depression associated with your past trauma. One approach that continues to gain fame and show promise is mindfulness meditation therapy (MMT). With the aid of a trained therapist, it could prove to be invaluable in treating your PTSD, as well as eliminating or reducing any associated anxiety.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

PTSD involves recurrent episodes, specifically of anxiety and panic. Although panic attacks do sometimes happen, they can have varying degrees of frequency and intensity. In some cases, a panic attack may simply never occur. The disorder is a reaction to a past traumatic experience, which was overwhelming both in terms of its emotional and sensory impact. Although PTSD is often thought of as a disorder suffered by military personnel, it’s not uncommon to find first responders who also demonstrate symptoms of PTSD. Firefighters, paramedics, police officers, and even nurses or doctors sometimes show signs of PTSD. Of course, it’s in no way exclusive to those professions. Anyone could potentially suffer from PTSD.

When it comes to psychotherapy, the most essential approach to treating PTSD is helping the patient to reprocess and effectively re-assimilate these emotions. Basically, the experience was never completely processed and resolved. Unfortunately, this approach often runs into two major hurdles. First and foremost, the emotions associated with the trauma are impressively intense. That intensity and the negative reactions to the memory make it challenging to treat, since patients don’t want to revisit the experience or feel the associated emotions. It should go without saying that re-experiencing trauma is itself also traumatic, even when it’s handled with a therapist and conducted in a controlled environment. Additionally, there’s a complex superstructure of secondary reactivity, which tends to accumulate around the traumatic experience. That makes it remarkably arduous for the patient to access and try to resolve or process these primary emotions.

Mindfulness Meditation Therapy

Mindfulness meditation therapy (MMT) merges mindfulness meditation with experiential imagery. Research into its overall effectiveness and the mechanisms for its success are still ongoing, but the basic methodology has been established, and current results are quite promising. With MMT, the patient learns how to sit with the feelings and residual sensory experience of the trauma, without getting overly immersed or attached to the memory and impressions. The intention isn’t to get entangled with the trauma, imagery, emotions, or any of the content. Instead, the patient discovers how to face the trauma, while experiencing it differently and from a fresh perspective.

With MMT, the patient forms a therapeutic space around the traumatic memory. Over time, this should permit the patient to stop their secondary reactivity, which delivers both resistance and avoidance. The newly created creative space enables the associated emotions to become malleable rather than rigid, so they can be altered. Eventually, this repeated process ought to aid the patient in transforming the trauma and to arrive at a resolution. To be brief: reactivity constrains change, whereas mindfulness aids in promoting and advancing it. When recovering from trauma and alleviating anxiety or depression, changes are always required.

When visiting a PTSD treatment center, be sure to ask about MMT. Contact the experts at Kinder in the Keys, Inc., to discover if MMT might be right for you.


Author Bio

Dr. Laura Tanzini, DrPh, MA, MFT

Dr. Laura Tanzini is a highly educated and accomplished professional with a background in biology and psychology. She received a BS in Biology from UC Riverside, an MA in psychology from Phillips Graduate Institute, and a Doctorate in Public Health with a specialty in Lifestyle Medicine from Loma Linda University.

Dr. Laura Tanzini is a Board Certified Professional Counselor, Integrative Medicine Clinician, and PTSD Clinician. She has worked in multiple medical hospitals, mental health institutions, and inpatient eating disorder clinics. Also, Dr. Tanzini has written scholarly papers and spoken on various topics related to nutrition, stress, menopause, obesity, depression, anxiety, and human development.