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Providing the Coping Tools to Manage Stress, Anxiety and Grief
Ascellus regularly serves those who have suffered the emotional and physical stress of contracting or exposing loved ones to Covid-19. A typical psychological evaluation is the first step to treatment, which is then followed by an average of seven work-focused CBT sessions. These sessions address and provide tools to manage stress, anxiety and grief. An overwhelming majority of Ascellus program participants have reported improved abilities to cope with stress and anxiety and have used the enhanced communication tools learned through W-CBT practices to re-enter the workplace with a sense of emotional wellbeing.
No. In fact, the vast majority of people exposed to trauma will recover. Research shows that up to 12 percent of these people may develop PTSD. Among those affected, about half recover within 8 to 12 weeks with appropriate care, such as work-focused cognitive behavioral therapy (W-CBT). Some people do not recover because they do not receive appropriate care, or have pre-existing and comorbid issues that prolong and perpetuate the symptoms.
Psychosocial risk factors gone unchecked can be debilitating, leaving the injured worker in chronic pain and unable to function much at all. Work-focused CBT is an invaluable tool to help injured workers with destructive thinking patterns that cause or perpetuate their chronic pain. More than anything, it engages the patient and teaches him to take charge of his pain and his life. The techniques teach the injured worker first to be aware of and monitor his thoughts, then to change them. By taking control of their thoughts, injured workers can take charge of their lives and their pain. The positive thoughts help decrease the stress arousal response.
This occurs when the emotional part of the brain essentially hijacks the thinking part of the brain. Pain travels through various areas of the brain; first the primal area — where the flight/fight/freeze response is located. Next it goes to emotional part of the brain where memories of past occurrences of pain stimuli are stored. It heads next to the thinking area of the brain, where all options are considered. Finally, it goes to the action part of the brain which sends a signal telling the body what to do. This acute pain comprises about 5 percent of each area of the brain. With some people, the body and brain response continues for months, causing changes in the brain. Those 5 percent areas of the brain with pain grow to about 25 percent. Pain maps in the brain begin to smudge from one part of the brain to the motor area. Even though the actual tissue damage has healed, the brain continues to act as if the body is still being harmed. Injured workers with chronic pain often have a variety of surgeries, treatments and medications — none of which work. What is needed is a strategy to change the person’s thoughts and behaviors to reverse the changes to the brain.