Quick Links

Veterans Crisis Line Badge
My healthevet badge

Veterans Health Administration

 

Coach helps Manage PTSD Symptoms

A Veteran looks at a laptop screen, considering options

Veterans can access “PTSD Coach Online” from their personal computers.

by Hans Petersen, VA Staff Writer
Monday, October 28, 2013

A coach is someone you can trust. Someone who can help you build the skills you need.

How about a coach who can help you manage your PTSD symptoms? Privately. Online. Any time. No appointment necessary.

If you’ve read this far, you may have PTSD and know you need help.

Or, you think some of the emotions you are going through may mean you have PTSD and you would like to learn more.

It’s so personal, so internal, that many Veterans put off coming in to see a doctor and they let things get worse.

We hear you. That’s why VA’s National Center for PTSD has developed a very helpful, easy to navigate program called PTSD Coach Online that you can access from your computer at home.

Here a Veteran can learn to manage troubling symptoms.

Let’s walk through the way it works with Sergeant Petersen.

First, he goes to the PTSD Coach Online website and discovers a gateway to the self-help tools that build coping and problem-solving skills. Here he can learn to manage troubling symptoms following trauma, such as trouble sleeping, trauma reminders and anger.

He can choose from 17 tools to work on a problem, from topics like:

  • Change how you think about sleep
  • Deal with trauma reminders
  • Notice your thoughts and feelings
  • Weigh the pros and cons

Sergeant Petersen has had some trauma flashbacks so he clicks on: Deal with Trauma Reminders.

A unique feature of PTSD Coach Online is the inclusion of videos from coaches who provide introductions for each tool and offer video help through each tool. On that page, a click on the video and “Coach” Robert Jenkins (a VA Psychologist) helps him understand how to deal with trauma reminders:

“From time to time, you may be triggered by reminders of scary or uncomfortable things from the past. Your mind and body might act like you’re right back in the situation.

“When you are reminded of the event, these automatic reactions can make the situation worse. “Deal with trauma reminders” will help you learn to cope if this happens to you.”

Close up of a laptop screen, showing the PTSD Coach application

PTSD Coach Online is a private place to find self-help tools that build coping and problem-solving skills.

Sergeant Petersen then continues in the tool and finds three steps he can use to deal with his trauma reminders. The steps are:

  1. Relax
  2. Identify the trigger
  3. Decide what to do

As he surfs through, Sergeant Petersen discovers things like worksheets he can print out and fill in to help him fully understand how to deal with his situation. The worksheets are private and don’t go anywhere — they are just there to help him stop and write down his own ideas to help him heal. That’s just one example of one of the helpful tools that thousands of Veterans are using every day to help them cope with PTSD.

There is also a PTSD Coach mobile app, but you don’t need a smartphone for PTSD Coach Online. Anyone who has Internet access can access its tools.

PTSD Coach Online can help you with symptom management, problem solving and skill building, but it is not a substitute for professional mental health treatment and care. You can start here and then contact a VA healthcare provider.

To find PTSD Coach Online, the PTSD Coach Mobile App and other resources on trauma and PTSD visit www.PTSD.va.gov.