How to deal with sexual trauma & PTSD. And why you are triggered more than ever.

 

The pandemic has amplified so many things in the area of mental health. Like most of my colleagues, I have never seen the kind of challenges individuals and couples have faced over the past 16 months.

More and more in my office I’m seeing women (and some men) who have past sexual trauma – abuse, assault, harassment etc. being triggered in ways they haven’t been previously. I take a “as needed” approach when it comes to dealing with past issues. Less about uncovering every memory and more about “what do you want your life to look like” school of thought. I also really like groups when it comes to dealing with trauma. There is a great new book out called Group- How a therapist and a group of strangers saved my life. It talks clearly over a 5 year process about how being held accountable and being heard offers massive shifts in healing. I also see big shifts in EFT & hypnosis (with a kick-ass hypnotherapist – choose wisely) in trauma.

I’ve been looking at new ways to help my clients stuck in a feedback loop of sexual avoidance as a result of past trauma. Neuroscientist Dr. Jill Taylor offers a few suggestions in her recent book where she looked at triggers to help her deal with flashbacks to her own stroke. Here are her suggestions to helping navigate triggers:

  • The 90 Second Rule – When someone has a reaction to something in their environment, there’s a 90-second chemical process that happens; any remaining emotional response is just the person choosing to stay in that emotional loop.  We have the power to control our emotions and how long we feel them for before reacting to any given situation.
  • Become Acquainted With The Four Characters Of Our Brains – These provide a conceptual platform that we can use during our times of need.  Although we may not be able to completely sidestep our flashbacks entirely, we certainly have the ability to recognize the emotions, thoughts and experiential triggers that lead up to the PTSD events.
  • Adjusting To Post-Pandemic Life – How to re-engage socially while focusing on elements that trigger your emotions.
  • De-Escalating Hostile Situations – Addressing both your fear and the emotions of those acting out.

I find treating couples and coming up with new ways to approach sex help. Men can be very linear when it comes to sex. And sometimes a bit clueless and defensive as we all want to be wanted. Re-framing sexual situations really do help bring couples closer in the bedroom. I do 30 minute virtual sessions all over the planet with lots of homework that uses some of these new tools and resources. Consider booking a $70 session and moving the chains in your own life.