How do I cope with intense emotions during my trauma treatment?

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You may experience more complaints before, during and after the treatment sessions. Therefore, it is useful to assemble a ‘toolbox’ with tools that you can use to help you during difficult moments for yourself.

How well do I manage my emotions?

Together, we are going to try to prevent your emotions from running higher than you can cope with. Therefore, it is good to estimate how well you can already cope with certain emotions before we start the treatment. Let’s summarize this. Answer the following questions in a diary registration in the NiceDay app:

  • How well do I cope with sadness?

Write this down on a scale from 0-10, where 0 is ‘not at all’ and 10 is ‘very good’.

What do you do to help yourself when you are very sad? What can others do for you? 

  • How well do I cope with anxiety?

Write this down on a scale from 0-10, where 0 is ‘not at all’ and 10 is ‘very good’.

What do you do to help yourself when you are very anxious? What can others do for you?

  • How well do I cope with anger?

Write this down on a scale from 0-10, where 0 is ‘not at all’ and 10 is ‘very good’.

What do you do to help yourself when you are very angry? What can others do for you?

Discuss these answers with your professional and see if you can improve your approach where necessary.

What should I do before, during and after the session?

Before the session

Before each session, take 15 minutes to prepare yourself for the session. For example, grab a blanket that you can use after the session, something that will give you some comfort. Grab a glass of water, possibly something that smells strong, a cold washcloth for your head/neck and inform your social circle not to disturb you for the time being.

It can help to think about what you can do when various complaints arise in advance. In the midst of such a situation, it can be difficult to come up with something that will be able help you in that moment. That is why we recommend that you think about this in advance and plan for it. You can also prepare for this with the help of your professional. For example:

  • When I have a nightmare, then I will…
  • When I have a flashback, I’ll ask… for help
  • If I suffer from…, it helps me to…
  • When I think about…, then the best thing for me to do is…

 

After the session

Schedule approximately 30 minutes after each session to relax and do something that makes you feel good or calms you down. For example, take a bath, prepare yourself a treat, light a scented candle, listen to your favourite music, be creative by painting, drawing or writing, fantasize about a beautiful place, work in the garden or do a relaxation or mindfulness exercise. For more inspiration, take a look at this list.

Sometimes, it can help to vent your emotions instead of relaxing. The following activities can help you to vent:

  • A long walk
  • Rip up paper
  • Throw something
  • Squeeze in something (for example, a pillow)
  • Listen to loud music
  • Dance
  • Exercise
  • Cry

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