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Is the PTSD Diagnosis Sending the Wrong Message?

Helping Veterans Move Beyond Victimization

Roy Clymer • 7 Comments

By Roy Clymer - My main objection to the way we understand and use PTSD is that it tempts all of us—providers, society, and veterans—to view the veteran as a victim. We owe it to veterans to give them a form of help that fully acknowledges their experience of unimaginable terror and horror. More than this, however, we must convey to them that they're affected, but not damaged, and they're capable of responsible, rather than simply reflexive, behavior.

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A Look Inside MDMA-Assisted Therapy

A Trauma Specialist Straddles Two Worlds

Marcela Ot’alora G. • 1 Comment

By Marcela Ot’alora G. - As every trauma therapist knows, getting free of the debilitating symptoms of PTSD, if it happens at all, can take years. In my work on an MDMA-research project, I’ve observed close-up the profound effect psychedelic drugs can have in facilitating—and sometimes transforming—the often lengthy and difficult process of healing from PTSD.

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Four Strategies for Working with Vets

...And the One Question You Should Never Ask Them

Alison Lighthall • No Comments

By Alison Lighthall - Despite good intentions, therapists working with combat veterans face several challenges. To start with, engaging combat veterans in counseling of any kind. The first session may afford your only opportunity to ease the suffering of the veterans you encounter. You have to make every interaction with them count. Here's a blueprint for making it happen.

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My Greatest Clinical Learning Experience

Finding the "Genuine Hero" in Even Your Most Troubled Clients

Lisa Ferentz • 1 Comment

By Lisa Ferentz - In the early days of the trauma field, clients were seen as one-dimensional bundles of dysfunction and pain, who needed to relive their trauma before progress could be made. But an increased interest in post-traumatic growth has allowed many therapists to see that insight and healing can occur not only in the midst of devastating experiences, but even because of them.

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Facing Disaster in Your Own Backyard

Sometimes the Best Intervention is Not Intervening at All

Patrick Dougherty • No Comments

By Patrick Dougherty - I went to the TV and turned it on. There to my horror was a bridge that I'd crossed hundreds, maybe thousands of times, and it was sprawling in a twisted heap. My clients were handling what was happening as well as they could. I didn't see any need to "help" anybody. In fact, I realized that the best help I could give was staying out of the way.

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VIDEO: Maggie Phillips on the Four Levels of Traumatic Pain

Exploring an Uncommon Side Effect of Trauma

Maggie Phillips • 1 Comment

When Maggie Phillips and Peter Levine co-authored Freedom from Pain, they aimed to explore what’s been missing from the field’s treatment of chronic pain. According to Phillips, trauma can hide in the body and manifest as lingering pain that doesn’t respond to conventional medical treatment. In the following video, she explains how the two conditions intertwine, and shares her approach to dealing with this unusual side effect of trauma.

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Why the Current Trauma Model Fails Victims of Abuse

A New Way to Help Traumatized Clients Relieve Guilt, Shame, and Isolation

Susan Clancy • 5 Comments

Today, after more than twenty-five years, predictions based on the trauma model have not proved accurate. There appears to be no direct, linear relationship between the severity of the abuse and the psychosocial difficulties victims experience in adulthood. Worst of all, we have developed no clearly effective treatments for sexual abuse victims. They continue to suffer from psychological and social problems in the aftermath of their abuse, and mental health professionals still have not reached a consensus as to exactly why or what precisely to do to help them recover. Here's what needs to change.

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Challenging the Stereotype of the Paralyzed Trauma Victim

A Review of Jim Rendon's Upside: The New Science of Post-Traumatic Growth

Diane Cole • 1 Comment

In Jim Rendon’s new book, Upside: The New Science of Post-Traumatic Growth, he challenges an all-too-common stereotype: that most trauma survivors remain forever stuck in place, embittered, broken in core ways. As psychotherapists know, the emotional (and sometimes physical) damage may sometimes be so vast and entrenched that repair comes slowly, if at all. But as therapists also know, this isn’t always the case. Many trauma victims have managed to make life go on---and even thrive.

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What the PTSD Diagnosis Leaves Out

Broadening Our Understanding of Trauma

Mary Sykes Wylie • 6 Comments

Back in the late 1970s, a motley crew of Vietnam War vets, sympathetic psychiatrists, antiwar activists, and church groups undertook a crusade to have a hastily assembled new diagnosis almost completely void of scientific research included in the DSM-III.

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The ACE Studies: Calculating the Effects of Child Abuse

How the Effects of Child Abuse Have Become the Biggest Public Health Issue in America

Mary Sykes Wylie • 10 Comments

Since the publication of DSM-IV in 1994, a massive body of neurobiological research has accumulated, revealing how protracted childhood abuse and neglect can cause pervasive, devastating, and lasting biological and psychological harm.

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