Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is classified by the NHS as a type of anxiety disorder, which comes about as a result of a distressing event. People with PTSD may experience flashbacks or nightmares as well as concentration and sleep issues.
One of our clients who experienced PTSD kindly provided a testimonial explaining how a combination of factors, including cuddle therapy sessions, helped them overcome their PTSD symptoms. While cuddle therapy may indeed have played a role, we aren’t claiming this therapy to be a solution for all PTSD sufferers and medical advice should always be sought in the first instance. As the client states themselves, “It is obviously difficult to distinguish the contribution cuddle therapy has made.”
My Cuddle Therapy Experience
“When I had my first cuddle therapy session, I had been diagnosed with anxiety disorder. I was later re-diagnosed as suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). I was constantly anxious and would jump at sudden sounds such as the dropping of dishes or the siren of an ambulance. I had a negative self-image, constant negative thoughts, and the belief that people were conspiring against me. I didn’t trust anyone. I also had difficulty travelling in public for fear that someone would knock into me or something terrible would happen.
Meeting my therapist for the first time had a dramatic impact on me which led the foundation for the rest of my sessions. We were both meeting strangers for the first time and were about to embark on a session involving physical contact. I was immediately struck by the overwhelming sense of trust from my therapist. This had a reciprocal impact on me, and I found myself enjoying a sense of trust in someone that I had not experienced in nearly two years. This lay the foundation for everything that was to come as this trust enabled me to confront thoughts and feelings in a safe way that would not otherwise have been possible.
At the end of most sessions I experienced an amazing sense of calmness and lack of anxiety. This had a major impact on me as it made me realise that a state of non-anxiety was possible. The feeling was temporary, lasting into the evening or occasionally into the next day. But it helped change my mindset. On some occasions it was accompanied by an incredible sense of positivity and, uncharacteristically for me, future planning.
Having regular sessions also gave me something to look forward to. I knew that I was going to feel good at the end of the next session and it helped me get through the week. Just imagining my next session could make me feel calm. The feeling of trust gave me a safe space to release my feelings. There was a lot of crying from me, but my therapist made me feel is was “okay”. The major turning point in my therapy came when my therapist encouraged me to write down an account of my trauma. Previously no-one had asked about my trauma and I was unable to talk about it. By articulating the trauma, it became something more objective rather than something just inside my head. I was simultaneously receiving cognitive behavioural therapy, and this acted as a catalyst for both.
There were ups and downs; times when I said the wrong thing and upset my therapist and made myself anxious. But cuddle therapy is an incredible journey. Unlike other therapies, my therapist would share things about her own life. Cuddle therapy is a very reciprocal therapy. I found this very helpful at times as it gave me a different perspective and helped me escape from my own bubble.
I am now in remission from my disorder. It is obviously difficult to distinguish the contribution cuddle therapy has made. Probably, cuddle therapy isn’t for everyone. But for people like me, I can strongly recommend it. It has helped change my life and it continues to make me feel there is a safe place when I need it.”
This review is published with the permission of our client and remains anonymous for confidentiality purposes.
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