A number of therapies are available for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder: traditional therapy, talk therapy, cognitive behavior therapy, EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), exposure therapy, hypnosis, neuro-linguistic therapy, group therapy, and self-empowered therapy, to name a few. These therapies typically require months, if not years of treatment.
Dr. Louis Tinnin and Dr. Linda Gantt, founders of Intensive Trauma Treatment in Morgantown, West Virginia, explain how trauma works and why the ITR model is so effective:
The simplest definition for trauma is ‘anything that overwhelms a person’s normal ability to cope.’ Inherent in this definition is the fact that an event can be traumatizing to one person, but may not have such an effect on another person. Our character, temperament, and age all play a part in how helpless and powerless we feel in an event. The resulting fear provoked is what makes an event a trauma. For example, if I were in a burning building, I would probably be traumatized, whereas a firefighter may not feel helpless at all, due to his training and preparedness.
When a trauma happens, the stress hormones released as a response to the fear provoked can cause the logical hemisphere of the brain (that which experientially differentiates between past, present and future) to constrict. When that happens, the memory remains to be encoded by the right hemisphere of the brain. This side, however, continues to feel as though the event is still going on even years later. As the event is re-experienced, so are the trauma-related emotions and perceptions of the self and the world.
It provides a systematic and thorough way of reformatting the coding of the traumatic memories so they are finally experienced like they are in the past and the person can finally experience themselves whole and in the present.