What is the theory behind this PTSD Coping Skills worksheet?
The term Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) describes a host of maladaptive emotional, psychological and physical symptoms that occur after an individual experiences a traumatic event. People with PTSD suffer from frequent intrusive memories or flashbacks of the traumatic event that trigger distressing emotional and physiological symptoms. Due to this, they remain in a constant state of fear and anxiety of re experiencing the pain associated with the trauma..
During therapy, along with a combination of other techniques like cognitive restructuring and targeting maladaptive beliefs, individuals are also taught coping skills to equip them with the necessary tools for controlling their symptoms. One such coping skill is ‘Progressive Muscle Relaxation’ which has shown promising results in research literature.
How will the worksheet help?
This worksheet will help provide a step by step guide to a calming technique known as ‘Progressive Muscle Relaxation’ which works by easing the built-up tension in one’s muscles, an automatic reaction of the body in presence of anxious emotions.
How to use the worksheet?
This worksheet is a guide to practice ‘Progressive Muscle Relaxation’ as a calming tool against the body’s natural reaction when it feels threatened or anxious. This technique is very helpful in lowering anxiety and bringing yourself back to a calm state.
Mastering the technique requires practice so it is recommended to practise daily for at least two weeks. You do not have to wait to be in an anxious situation, in fact it is better to practice when you are calm so that it can be effectively used when needed.
PTSD Coping Skills worksheet
- What is Progressive Muscle Relaxation? It is a calming technique that uses deliberate tensing and relaxing of different major muscle groups in the body in a structured sequence. You tense each muscle for 10-15 seconds and then relax for 10 seconds. In this period you focus on how the muscle feels as it tenses and relaxes.
As you practise, you learn to recognize the signs of how a tense muscle differentiates from a relaxed muscle.This ultimately means that as you become more aware you will gain control of your automatic physiological reactions to your anxiety or stress and be able to relax your body when needed. Practice for at least two weeks.
Jacobson, E. (1938). Progressive Relaxation: A Physiological and Clinical Investigation of Muscular States and Their Significance in Psychology and Medical Practice (1st ed.).Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
Bernstein, D. A., Borkovec, T. D. (1973). Progressive relaxation training: a manual for the helping professions. Champaign, Illinois: Research Press.
Anxiety Canada. (n.d) How to do progressive muscle relaxation.
You can download this worksheet here.