By: Janelle Schlueter, MS, LPC, CCTP Do you love someone that is experiencing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, also known as PTSD? Relationships can often be hard to navigate. When you love someone that struggles with PTSD, “relationship issues” can often take on a whole new meaning. Three Tips On How To Help Your Loved One […]
Do you love someone that is experiencing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, also known as PTSD? Relationships can often be hard to navigate. When you love someone that struggles with PTSD, “relationship issues” can often take on a whole new meaning.
Three Tips On How To Help Your Loved One With PTSD
Identify and Understand Their Triggers
One way to help your partner is to learn how PTSD impacts them. Although there are general criteria for PTSD, the symptoms that an individual experiences is very unique. If your loved one can identify their triggers and make you aware, then that is great. However, sometimes those suffering with PTSD are not aware of triggers or what they experience when triggered. When you help identify triggers or experiences, it not only makes you aware as well, but allows you both to communicate about issues that may arise. Asking questions can be very useful.
Ask them questions like…
What are some specific triggers they can identify?
What do they experience physically and mentally when they are triggered? How could you recognize this as their loved one (would you see them shaking, rocking, excessively sweating…)?
How can you help them when they get triggered? Do they need medication, to breathe or practice a grounding technique or be left alone?
Is there something that would decrease their level of anxiety on a daily basis?
Communication is important in any relationship. However, when you are in a relationship with someone diagnosed with PTSD, communication can be crucial. Extra consideration must be paid to tone, volume, and other unintentionally harmful ways of speaking which may be triggering.
It is also important that you choose an appropriate time to have a serious discussion. Let your partner know that you need to have a discussion and set a time that works for you both. It is best to wait until your loved one is not highly anxious or coping with a trigger before trying to accomplish serious concerns. Identifying when you or your partner are flooded and needing a break in communication is also helpful.
Create a “Safe” Space
A person suffering from PTSD rarely feels safe. Most people can say they feel safe at home, but that is not always the case for someone with PTSD. For your loved one, it is important that they have a “safe” space. “Safe” means no physical danger, but it also means emotionally safe. Take time with your partner to identify where or what they need to feel safe. For example, some people can feel more safe as long as their backs are not to the door in a social setting. For others, they may need new locks or the room re-painted. Again, every individual experiencing PTSD is different and their needs will be unique to their trauma.
Furthermore, feeling “safe” is also creating some predictability or routines. When things are predictable, they are not as likely to cause an increase in stress.
Therapy Can Help You and Your Partner With PTSD
When you love and care for someone with PTSD the stress can be overwhelming for you as well. A counselor can help you with identifying and implementing healthy boundaries, effective communication, and self-care strategies.
Sometimes loving someone with PTSD can be a struggle. There are support groups for those who love people with PTSD which may help in reassuring you that you are not alone.
Hopefully your loved one has seen or is currently seeing a counselor who specializes in PTSD. If not, encourage them to seek help as well. If the relationship between you and your loved one is struggling due to what you believe is a factor of PTSD, seek a couples counselor.
Above all, treat yourself and your loved one with love and respect.
Begin PTSD Counseling at Our Center in Katy, TX
If you are ready to learn how to help you or your loved one suffering from PTSD, the therapists at The Counseling Center at Cinco Ranch can help! We provide therapy to people of all ages. To begin counseling in Katy, TX, follow these three steps:
- Contact our office to set up an appointment or to get more information about PTSD and relationship help
- Meet with one of our caring therapists
- Find new ways to help with PTSD through trauma counseling!
Other Therapy Services We Offer
Here at The Counseling Center at Cinco Ranch we offer treatment for trauma for adults, teens, and kids. We also offer counseling services in other areas including counseling for kids, counseling for young adults, teen counseling, couples counseling, eating disorder treatment, men’s issues, women’s issues, anxiety treatment, depression therapy, family therapy, and group counseling. Our therapists strive to regularly post blogs with helpful information on a variety of mental health topics. To learn more about our therapists and our counseling services, please reach out to the Counseling Center today!