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The PTSD Workbook: Simple, Effective Techniques for Overcoming Traumatic Stress Symptoms

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Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an extremely debilitating anxiety condition that can occur after exposure to a terrifying event or ordeal. Although many know that this mental health issue affects veterans of war, many may not know that it also affects victims of domestic violence, sexual violence, natural disasters, crime, car accidents and accidents in the workplace. No matter the cause of their illness, people with PTSD will often relive their traumatic experience in the form of flashbacks, memories, nightmares, and frightening thoughts. This is especially true when they are exposed to events or objects that remind them of their trauma. Left untreated, PTSD can lead to emotional numbness, insomnia, addiction, anxiety, depression, and even suicide.

In The PTSD Workbook, Second Edition, psychologists and trauma experts Mary Beth Williams and Soili Poijula outline techniques and interventions used by PTSD experts from around the world to offer trauma survivors the most effective tools available to conquer their most distressing trauma-related symptoms, whether they are a veteran, a rape survivor, or a crime victim. Based in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), the book is extremely accessible and easy-to-use, offering evidence-based therapy at a low cost. This new edition features chapters focusing on veterans with PTSD, the link between cortisol and adrenaline and its role in PTSD and overall mental health, and the mind-body component of PTSD.

This book is designed to arm PTSD survivors with the emotional resilience they need to get their lives back together after a traumatic event.

360 pages, Paperback

First published March 31, 2002

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Mary Beth Williams

19 books8 followers

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5 stars
287 (41%)
4 stars
241 (34%)
3 stars
114 (16%)
2 stars
36 (5%)
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12 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 33 reviews
Profile Image for Lisa Wright.
90 reviews
June 5, 2015
I was disappointed in this workbook. There was a lot of great information for recognizing and understanding the symptoms of PTSD, but not so much on how to overcome them. The questionnaires are helpful to get you in touch with how you feel and react, and why...but I think most people already know that. My hopes were to learn techniques to overcome those feelings and reactions, since, you know, that is the title of the book! Unfortunately, the only techniques offered were very simplistic, and were really more about how to distract yourself from your feelings than how to resolve them. I really can't recommend this workbook.
Profile Image for Jennifer.
258 reviews7 followers
March 27, 2013
*I received my copy of this workbook through First Reads. That does not guarantee a positive or rave review, just because it was free.*

By no means should a person self diagnose a psychological or medical condition. That said, PTSD is one of the easier illnesses to recognize or to self-realize. "Oh. I've been through a Bad Thing. When I am in a similar situation - or when I am just walking down the street and I hear a noise that is similar to the noise in that situation, I freak out. I should probably get some help in coping with the Bad Thing."

I am quite lucky that I have not been in a Bad Thing. My family is healthy, my husband is not in the armed services, and I had a very good childhood. I know that a traumatic experience could still happen. Even reading the introduction to this workbook is helpful to non-trauma-sufferers, so that a person could immediately reach out to support, and to be prepared for the experience of flashbacks or triggers or dissociation.

Many of the exercises in the introduction are also good for non-trauma-sufferers to get a better image of how you deal with people and everyday events. The self analysis is useful for everyone.

This book is not just for veterans. PTSD can come from many more personal and smaller scale events than deployment to a war zone. I plan on donating my copy to a local chapter of the VFW or a women's shelter (when I am through with the book, that is).
Profile Image for B.  D. Satterfield.
Author 3 books1 follower
March 23, 2018
A very easy and yet difficult workbook to go through. I chose to unlearn the toxicity of my childhood sexual abuse with the help of an LPC and weekly assignments from this book for about 5-6 months.
Profile Image for Teri Uktena.
62 reviews7 followers
July 25, 2019
This is labeled as a self-help book, but I wouldn't recommend it being used by someone on their own. If you're trying to come to terms with whether you have PTSD, are in the throws of suffering from it or trying to deal with it, this book's exercises will trigger you in a variety of ways. The exercises are geared to have you remember trauma, relive it, confront coping mechanism symptoms, make yourself aware of negative behaviors, all of which is more than likely to enhance trauma, trigger further negative experiences, and escalate issues if done without a support framework.

I would recommend using this book in tandem with a therapist or other professional who is versed in trauma processing and supporting those with PTSD. This not only provides the safe space most sufferers struggle to create for themselves and which is absolutely necessary for this type of work, but helps retrain and heal the Limbic system to expect positive results from going through difficult and triggering situations.
Profile Image for Clare Elise.
6 reviews5 followers
August 23, 2022
0 out of 10, really helped with my PTSD which sucks because now i don’t have a personality! bring it back
2,033 reviews25 followers
August 22, 2016
This is a workbook which means that if you really want to get the most out of it you have to have your own copy and fill all the blanks and answer the questions. It's big, over 350 pages, and will take some time but the exercise will probably be worth it. If you have PTSD and want to work at dealing with it, this would probably be one relatively inexpensive way to do that. It looks very promising and I plan to try it myself, although it's difficult to give it a rating before actually doing it.
June 16, 2016
*I received my copy of this workbook through First Reads. That does not guarantee a positive or rave review, just because it was free.*

I found the exercises helpful and it is a good workbook to have in the home to refer back to. If you have PTSD but still are relatively mentally stable you can work on this alone at your own pace. But I would recommend anyone with severe PTSD or multiple mental health and health issues to use this book in conjunction with their therapist and doctors.

Profile Image for Ashlie Gillis Nelson.
20 reviews14 followers
April 19, 2013
Great workbook for those in the mental health field. I think this would be great to use in classrooms for teaching also. The techniques are explained very well and I think this would also be wonderful for someone who is struggling with PTSD. I plan on sharing this book with others and would recommend it.
Profile Image for Julie.
119 reviews19 followers
November 2, 2013
I won this book through a Goodreads giveaway. I refer to it constantly in my work with survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence; it's highly informative and readable. My only critique is that it fails to give a simple definition of trauma before delving into defining PTSD, an important clarification for anyone newly exploring trauma and PTSD.
Profile Image for Rook.
1 review
October 21, 2021
Has a couple of good suggestions, but is filled with woo woo nonsense and religious idiocy - which is more than counterproductive for someone like me who has PTSD issues related to religious indoctrination and abuse. Multiple sections even tell you to pray for therapeutic purposes and other such absurdities.
Profile Image for Chelsea Merkley.
100 reviews30 followers
June 25, 2012
Honestly, I read a a few chapters and was not impressed.

There were several unneeded swear words which curtailed my interest.

Taking the online course at the U of U was on Dealing with Traumatic Experiences; was way more informative than this Workbook.

Chelsea Merkley
Profile Image for Mary Allen.
14 reviews1 follower
July 8, 2007
My top pick if you're looking for info on PTSD. It's a do-it-yourself therapy guide.
Profile Image for Valiree.
25 reviews
March 22, 2013
I have found this book a wonderful help. My husband was deployed and we've been doing this together.
4 reviews
June 6, 2013
Love the updates and additions and the layout is more user-friendly. This book is a must for therapists!
Profile Image for Rosalinda.
30 reviews1 follower
June 22, 2016
It had good information but I was hoping it would have more about PTSD from domestic violence.
February 9, 2017
For anyone who has ever experienced any type of trauma in their iLife, this book is a must have on your road to recovery.
11 reviews
May 21, 2023
This guidebook is something I could easily envision sharing with clients who are struggling with PTSD. Chapters are thorough and encourage gradual progress marked with patience, self-acceptance, and grounding techniques to maintain a sense of safety throughout. CBT seems to be the foundation of many included practices.
Profile Image for Vahe Torozyan.
15 reviews
June 21, 2021
Comprehensive guide about traumas and toolbox

Great big book about ptsd, author provided comprehensive guideline about ptsd symptoms and solutions, both cognitive and physical solutions to issues. great job!
Profile Image for Chareise Lynn.
15 reviews
June 9, 2020
Not much on how to overcome PTSD. Has worksheets but doesn't explain how to use them very well.
Profile Image for Emily.
740 reviews12 followers
February 4, 2021
Lord of great tools and worksheets for clinicians and clients. Would recommend for any trauma focused counselor.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 33 reviews

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