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PTSD Treatment in Dubai: We resolve traumatic experiences


Trauma and PTSD

When a traumatic event occurs, a certain set of responses tend to follow. Firstly, you may find yourself avoiding reminders of the event. This could include avoiding certain people or places and trying not to think about what happened. The trouble with avoiding thinking about the event is that it means we can’t process it. When a memory is not fully processed, it remains raw and easily triggered by sounds, smells and colours. You may find yourself experiencing flashbacks, in the form of intrusive involuntary images which cause the person to recall the event as if it is happening again in the present. This is highly distressing and leads people to try even harder to stop thinking about it, which results in a vicious cycle of trying but being unable to avoid thinking about it.

Other common responses to a trauma fall under the hyper-vigilance umbrella. When a terrifying incident(s) occurs, it leaves our brain and body is a state of constant alert, expecting and assessing for another threat any moment, and activates the fight or flight response in the body. This sustained activation of the fight or flight response is typically experienced as anxiety or stress and can be exhausting.  Being hyper-vigilant to threat can manifest itself in irritability and anger, difficulty sleeping, decreased concentration and being easily startled.

Changes in mood and thinking are also often evident. People may find they no longer find pleasure in activities they enjoyed prior to the trauma. Negative thoughts about oneself and the world and a distorted sense of blame often result.

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Should I seek help for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?

Not always, no. But sometimes. If the event happened within the last 4 weeks, it’s best to wait and see what happens. The brain has a natural capacity to heal and make sense of traumatic memories by itself. If your reaction is severe, then do seek professional support, but make sure there is no work on resolving the trauma per se in those first 4 weeks.

The support needs to be about helping you manage the symptoms you’re experiencing symptoms that are getting in the way of your usual level of functioning and it has been more than 4 weeks since the event, then it’s a good idea to seek professional support. The evidence and international guidelines recommend seeking support from a professional trained in trauma-focused approaches such as Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioural therapy (TF-CBT) or EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing). These are the most effective methods psychologists use in the treatment of PSTD symptoms.

Can I deal with this myself?

Absolutely. Either alone or in tandem with professional support. Our blog about coping with PTSD provides some tips as to how to manage common symptoms of PTSD, such as flashbacks.

Trauma-Focused CBT

TF-CBT is a trauma therapy that involves working with your psychologist to identify particularly difficult parts of the traumatic event. She will talk with you about how this has affected you and think with you about the beliefs you have developed about yourself, the world and other people as a result of your experience.

You will be encouraged to think about the event(s) and by thinking of the event over and over again in a particular way and guided by your psychologist, you will notice that it becomes less painful. You will also work on developing alternative beliefs about yourself in relation to the memory, which has a positive impact on how you can move on from the event.


Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing is as effective as TF-CBT but tends to achieve results more quickly. Using this method of trauma treatment involves thinking about the memory and the beliefs about yourself and others, much like TF-CBT. However, the way in which this is achieved is quite different.

The key component to EMDR is bilateral stimulation. While you think about the memory and your beliefs about it, your psychologist will invite you to follow her hand with your eyes. In so doing you activate both hemispheres of the brain at the same time, allowing the memory to be processed more quickly.


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Not feeling quite right?


The first things people notice usually relate to the fundamentals. They might find it more difficult to sleep, eat or be around others. This is often the case for a wide range of issues. Below is a list of symptoms often indicative of PTSD.

Common symptoms of PTSD include:

  • Flashbacks
  • Nightmares
  • Avoiding thinking or talking about the event(s)
  • Low mood
  • Anxiety
  • Being constantly on guard, anticipating future threat to safety
  • Negative thoughts about oneself, other people or the world e.g. I am vulnerable, other people can’t be trusted, the world is unsafe.
  • Smoking or drinking more than usual.

You can read more about PTSD symptoms in our blog post “Normal responses to an abnormal event”.

Symptoms of PTSD

What should I look for in a person treating PTSD?

If you’re receiving EMDR trauma therapy, make sure the person has completed an accredited training course in EMDR to Level 3

Whichever PTSD treatment you receive, it is important that the person is licenced to practice as a psychologist or as a counselor in Dubai. This means they are held accountable to professional standards of practice.

Once you know the person is properly trained and licenced, you need to make sure you can trust them and feel comfortable. Use the assessment session as an opportunity to get a sense of the person to see if you feel you can work with them.

Our team of trauma experts led and worked in leading Traumatic Stress Centres in London. 

Dr Marie Thompson

DHCC Psychologist & Clinical Director

Dr Rebecca Ferguson
Dr Rebecca Ferguson

DHCC Psychologist

Dr Monica Thompson

DHCC Psychologist

+971 (0) 4 4403844

Unit 203, 2nd Floor, Building 49
Dubai Healthcare City, right next door to City Hospital

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Let us know if you have any questions about our services or would like to book an appointment with one of our team.