Can couples counseling help us deal with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)?

PTSD is a serious disorder that can wreak havoc for the individual who suffers from it, and its effects can ripple into all areas of their life, especially their relationships. As a result, couples can experience tremendous challenges in overcoming the hurdles that PTSD presents. In turn, it can exasperate the PTSD for the individual and descend into a negative spiraling pattern that threatens to destroy the relationship. It can also trigger emotional withdrawal, substance abuse, shame, guilt, and many other difficult conditions. Couples counseling can help bridge the chasms between partners, and heal the life-threatening emotional damage.

PTSD as it May Affect a Couple’s Relationship

Some of the most common symptoms of PTSD include severe depression, insomnia, hyperarousal, nightmares, anxiety, and unpredictable emotions including sudden anger. Any one of these symptoms can create discord in a relationship. It is not enough to deal with the symptoms; couples counseling can help partners come to terms with the cause of them. Though the individual may greatly benefit from seeing individual counseling to help them overcome the triggers that may induce their symptoms of PTSD, couples counseling can provide the necessary focus on the relationship itself. Working on how the partners react to each other can encourage a true partnership rather than me-versus-my-partner action-reaction dynamic.

The potential destructiveness of PTSD typically trickles down to the couple’s children. Even if the situation is not spoken of, the children will usually pick up on the underlying tension and will certainly be affected by verbal outbursts and physical behaviors. If the children feel they must “walk on eggshells” around the person suffering from PTSD lest they trigger a negative reaction, it can have negative lifelong effects even as they grow into adulthood. In this way, couples counseling can be far more beneficial than to the partners themselves.

Domestic Violence Concerns

If a situation is left to fester and the symptoms of PTSD are not addressed through counseling or other means, it can lead to one or more forms of domestic violence. Physical and/or emotional abuse of one’s self, partner, or child is a very real possibility if it is not already occurring. Thankfully, there are a number of approaches that can help to stop and reverse the path of destructive behavior. This is especially critical considering that any form of abuse is apt to accelerate into further abuse and in the worst cases, lives may be lost. As our society continues to recognize the devastating effects of PTSD, additional resources are being developed and made available to those who need it. Many of these services are free or are low-cost, and a couples counseling therapist can direct you to them on an as-needed basis.

PTSD is a serious condition, and couples counseling, like couples counseling in Palatine, IL from Lotus Wellness Center, is but one approach that can help during difficult times. Give a clinic a call to learn more about couples counseling and other services offered.