How to Get Rid of Shock After a Car Crash

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To get rid of shock or post-traumatic stress after a car crash, avoid fighting the traumatic thoughts, think about the situation and try to accept the reality of what happened. Recognize natural feelings that occur after a car wreck using advice from a licensed mental health counselor in this free video on shock.

Part of the Video Series: Psychology Careers & Treatments
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Video Transcript

Hi, my name is John Bosworth. I'm a licensed mental health counselor, in St. Petersburg, Florida. I'd like to talk a little bit about how to get rid of shock, after a car crash. Shock can be considered from a psychological perspective, post traumatic stress. The old school term for it, after World War I I think, was shell shock, or whatever. They have a bunch of terms, but basically it's all the same thing. You've witnessed the traumatic experience. It tends to be very vivid when you recall it. You tend to have some autonomic nervous system arousal, associated with thoughts related to the shock. Some of the most effective ways to get over any kind of post traumatic stress or shock like that, especially after a car crash, is to not try to fight your thoughts. A lot of people will say, they'll see it, they'll keep picturing the accident, or hear the sounds, or smell the gas, or whatever the senses are associated with the crash. We're finding through new research, especially in relational frame theory, it's not a real good idea to try to suppress those thoughts, or get rid of them, so from a cognitive behavioral perspective, and acceptance and commitment therapy, which is a new form of therapy, specifically designed for anxiety associated with post traumatic stress. We find that the best thing to do, is to think about it. If you've witnessed a car accident, or if you were in one, think about some of those things that are the most disturbing, but not in a over catastrophizing way. Kind of recognize that at this point it's just a thought, and the thought really can't harm you, and it's not taking place now, so maybe working on it from more of an acceptance position, and this is a thought that I have, that's been conditioned in my nervous system, because it's so traumatic, and the less I pay attention to it, in a catastrophizing way, maybe I can start to enjoy my life, and start to do other things, even when that thought pops up, so from a cognitive behavioral perspective, the best thing to do with some of these thoughts that we have, or intrusive thoughts, or shock, so to speak, is to kind of accept it, that that's what your body did, and that's the natural fight or flight response. My name is John Bosworth, and we've been talking about ways to get rid of shock, or trauma, after a car accident.


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