Psychological Self-Help

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Given the right circumstances, there is little doubt that reviewing
and thinking through traumatic events that have happened to us can
be very therapeutic. What are the favorable conditions? With an
empathic therapist or friend who encourages gradual disclosure and
understanding of the events and feelings, as might be done by an
arts.org/tir/). (Try to avoid talking to people who fuel the fires of
hatred and self-blame.) There are also many reports and studies
documenting the healing that frequently comes through writing (in
detail or over and over) about stressful, traumatic experiences--see
When traumatized, we are, of course, highly emotional. The task
isn't to stop emoting; we need our emotions. We need to be able to
handle our emotions--to be aware of them, to control certain excessive
emotions that make us irrational and to increase other emotions that
motivate us to act wisely, and to understand and use our feelings
effectively. For instance, learned optimism helps us overcome
helplessness and to see solutions. Optimism may also help us accept
some setbacks, failures, and faults, especially if we can make up for
want we have done. As in depression, the pessimist can learn to
identify his/her negative thoughts and challenge them. Also, life skills,
like problem-solving and self-change, can be acquired. Hope and
confidence go up when you get things done, make good decisions, and
communicate well (all learnable skills!). Wise persons have observed
that crises, even awful ones, often offer opportunities and benefits (in
the middle of a really bad situation, you are likely to resent being told
this, but in time you might see some truth to it). If you can come to
see some possible "silver lining," it will help. 
Trauma reactions are exhausting, causing us to lose our self-
control much like in learned helplessness. We need to regain some
control. It is usually important to talk to trusted, empathic, non-
directive friends, often telling our story over and over again. Maybe
see a counselor. A change of environment, sleep, having a good time
with friends, and just rest are often helpful. Many things can reduce
the effects of trauma. There are many books and Web sites to read.
There are many sources of help and many things to learn. We need a
concrete, doable plan to cope and improve our lives. An assorted list of
Safe Horizon (http://www.safehorizon.org/index.php) services
provide help to persons who have been assaulted, stalked, abused,
beaten up, robbed, and so on. 
Becoming Absorbed with One’s Wounds
Some people can't remember the original trauma that started their
psychological crises; other people can't forget the major trauma in
their life. This section is about the people whose bad memories or
thoughts are the dominant theme of their minds. In some instances,
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