CBI Health is providing essential virtual care/telehealth services to our clients in need of access to vital treatment, including psychotherapy, at home. The team in Mississauga, ON, was able to provide virtual prolonged exposure therapy to help *Connor, a client struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Connor survived a traumatic accident while driving his ATV that left him on the brink of death. He had a mild traumatic brain injury (post-concussion) and required numerous surgeries and specialized rehabilitation treatments spanning several months.
The accident caused significant changes in his lifestyle and affected his career, as he was not able to return to his job due to follow-up surgeries and his slow recovery. It was also particularly difficult not only on him, but also on his family as they grieved the changes in his physical health. Connor was no longer able to be as active in his family life as he was before the accident.
He became overwhelmed with symptoms of PTSD following the accident, with intrusive thoughts, distressing flashbacks, irritable behaviour and difficulty sleeping, coupled with anxiety and depression.
Connor was connected virtually to a psychotherapist at CBI Health, who began prolonged exposure therapy (a form of cognitive behavioural therapy) with him online to help him identify and manage the triggers causing him distress.
During the therapy sessions, Connor became aware of his cognitive, emotional, physical and behavioural responses to specific triggers. His therapist did a desensitization activity exposing him to traumatic noises and sounds from his accident. She monitored Connor’s heartbeat, and observed his breathing and other non-verbal cues over video chat to measure his responses to re-experiencing the trauma.
Connor and his therapist then worked on helpful coping mechanisms for managing his triggers, including improving his self-awareness, problem solving skills, self-compassion, emotional tolerance, and cognitive restructuring. He is also working to strengthen his relationship with his family.
Through his treatment, Connor was able to find a safe outlet to release all his uncomfortable thoughts and emotions without feeling judged or criticized. He was able to process his trauma at his own pace, which empowered him to feel that his thoughts, voice and needs truly mattered. The various psychotherapeutic interventions have given him resiliency, courage, and inner strength.
His therapist reports that Connor is doing much better at practicing emotional regulation and has been engaging with more peaceful and loving relationships at home. He has found the power to challenge negative thoughts to limit their impact on his emotional and physical well-being and relationships. His family is also learning to better understand the impact of Connor’s injuries while supporting him.
Connor’s happiness is returning, as he is beginning to enjoy waking up in the morning to face a new day in his second chance at life.
*Client’s name has been changed