Face the Trauma

Post-traumatic stress disorder, so-called PTSD, is a psychiatric disorder that can occur in people who have experienced or endeavored a traumatic event. Commonly we heard many violent tragedies happened because of the criminals’ former unpleasant experiences, for example, rape or any personal assault.

The pathological environment of abuse fosters the development of a post-traumatic disorder. Past experience of abuse, especially in childhood, appears to be a major factor of becoming a psychiatric patient. Those survivors came back to normal life with a large number and variety of complaints. Bryer, studying psychiatric disorder, reported that women with historical physical abuse have significantly higher scores of depressions, stress, sensitivity, etc. (Bryer, 1987) Moreover, Briere reported that survivors of childhood abuse suffer significantly more in insomnia, drug addiction, alcoholism and so on. (Briere, 1988) Herman concluded that the symptoms can be categorized into somatic, dissociative and affective sequelae of prolonged trauma. (Herman, 1922)


For PTSD treatment, the very first step is to access personal symptoms. The psychometric properties of the PTSD checklist (PCL), a brief and self-reported instrument, were on research based on 40 motorcycle accident victims and sexual assault victims. All the participants need to complete the PCL and take the interview as feedback. For the PCL the PTSD symptoms are evaluated on a scale indicating how much had the respondents been bothered by a particular symptom from 1 to 5. The results supported the value of PCL as an accessing device for the possible presence of PTSD. (Blanchard, 1996)


Prolonged exposure is an effective treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder, no matter what type of trauma the patients endeavored. The PE therapy includes four main components: psychoeducation, in vivo exposure, imaginal exposure and emotional processing. (Rauch, 2012) Psychoeducation focuses on the PTSD symptoms and the former experience. Confronting trauma-related memories can actually reduce post-traumatic disorder. In vivo exposure means confronting trauma-related environment, including people and places as a reminder. Then during imaginal exposure, patients will go through the memory with all the thoughts, emotions and trauma he or she experienced. Finally, emotional processing includes the therapist moving through an open-ended discussion of trauma and thoughts, comparing with the past.

To be honest, PTSD happens to everyone, from small effect to tremendous causes. Some aspersion can make me self-abased, especially trauma in childhood. While facing those symptoms, just be confident and optimistic to access the level, and take a trauma-related prolonged exposure. It is a golden therapy.


Bryer, J. B., Nelson. B. A., Miller, J. B., and Krol. P. A. (1987). Childhood sexual and physical abuse as factors in adult psychiatric illness. Am. 1. Psychiafry 144: 1426-1430.

Briere, J. (1988). Long-term clinical correlates of childhood sexual victimization. AnnaL New York Acad Sci 528: 327-334.

Herman, J. L. (1992). Complex PTSD: A syndrome in survivors of prolonged and repeated trauma. Journal of traumatic stress5(3), 377-391.

Blanchard, E. B., Jones-Alexander, J., Buckley, T. C., & Forneris, C. A. (1996). Psychometric properties of the PTSD Checklist (PCL). Behaviour research and therapy, 34(8), 669-673.

Rauch, S. A., Eftekhari, A., & Ruzek, J. I. (2012). Review of exposure therapy: a gold standard for PTSD treatment. Journal of rehabilitation research and development, 49(5), 679-688.

Mingyuan Zhou
Mia is a third year Computer Science undergraduate at Georgia Tech. She focuses on Artificial Intelligence and Computational media. In her free time, she likes playing video games, watching animations and sometimes can design simple games and anime.