Changes In Treatment Approaches For PTSD


Below is an article taken from the APA website that I find extremely interesting and reassuring that the military is not restricting themselves to CBT and EMDR in treating serving personnel struggling with PTSD.

A psychodynamic treatment for PTSD shows promise for soldiers
March 2012, Vol 43, No. 3
Print version: page 11

PTSD
While cognitive-behavioral therapy remains the most well-researched treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder, it doesn’t help all patients. That’s especially true for service members who have been perpetrators as well as victims of violence, says Russell B. Carr, MD, an Army psychiatrist.
“It’s a much more complicated experience, and they often feel a lot of shame in addition to the usual PTSD symptoms,” he says.

For the past six years, Carr has been working with soldiers who haven’t responded to cognitive-behavioral therapy, and he’s developed a new treatment rooted in intersubjective systems theory. This modern take on psychoanalysis pioneered by Robert Stolorow, PhD, posits that the heart of trauma is shame and isolation.
Carr’s therapy, described in the October 2011 issue of Psychoanalytic Psychology, has shown promise helping soldiers who haven’t responded to CBT by addressing the existential dread dredged up by trauma, and the feeling that their entire world has lost meaning. Though Carr’s goals are ambitious, his intervention is relatively short—requiring twice-weekly sessions for up to three months. As a result, the therapist must clearly define goals, keep conversations on track and quickly establish rapport with clients, Carr found.

Short-term therapy—which is typical of CBT, but less common with psychoanalytic approaches—is often the only option in military settings, he says.
“In the military, there is frequently the situation where a patient or therapist is leaving soon,” says Carr. “It’s a transient population, and it limits the length of time we have to work together.”

A key part of intersubjective therapy is helping clients put their feelings around traumatic experiences into words. These feelings aren’t always negative. One patient described in the article found he enjoyed the smell of burning human flesh, and was later horrified and ashamed of his initial reaction. By expressing empathy and not rejecting the soldier, Carr helped the soldier process the experience and reconnect with the civilian world.

Convincing soldiers that a therapist—as well as friends and family—can understand a little of what they are going through lessens their PTSD symptoms, Carr found. In some cases, soldiers even learn from the experience, he says. “Recognizing the fragility of life, you can refocus on what’s important to you, and not waste time on things that aren’t.”
—S. Dingfelder

Common Myths About Mental Illness


There are many myths and misconceptions about mental illness and stereotyping people and stigmatising them is extremely unhelpful fallout of these, which very often makes the symptoms and conditions worse for the individuals.

It’s human nature to judge people from first impressions, but, before you make your mind up about someone, take a few moments to think again about why that person might be behaving and or speaking the way they are.

Here are a few popular myths and the facts about mental illness.


Myth #1: Mental illnesses are not true illnesses like cancer or heart disease.

Fact: A physical illness like a heart attack can easily be detected by some simple tests. In contrast, mental illness is invisible and can’t be observed by the general public. This can lead to judgment and to prejudice.


Myth #2: People with diagnosed with a mental Illness tend to have a lower IQ.

Fact: Mental Illness affects people across the entire IQ spectrum. In fact, many extremely intelligent people have been diagnosed with mental illness, are able hold down powerful jobs, and carry a high level of responsibility.


Myth #3: Most of those who suffer from mental illness are violent.

Fact: Very few sufferers are actually violent. In fact, research indicates that they are more likely to be victims of violence than perpetrators of violence.


Myth #4: It is mainly women who suffer from mental illness.

Fact: There are millions of people – both men and women – in all of the different mental illness categories.


Myth #5: Most people diagnosed with mental illness were abused as children.

Fact: Although the incidence of some types of mental illness is more highly correlated with childhood abuse, there are many, many people who have never been abused.


Myth #6: A lot of those who claim to be mentally ill are basically just selfish, or self-centred, individuals.

Fact: Many forms of mental illness have been shown to have their roots in chemical and neurological problems in the brains. They are not character defects.


Myth #7: People with mental illness can get better if they just work a bit harder at getting over their issues.

Fact: Although mental illness symptoms can often be managed successfully through a combination of medication and counselling, it is likely that suffers will continue to struggle throughout their life. It’s not just a matter of “trying a bit harder”.


Myth #8: Those who suffer from mental illness will never recover from their disorder.

Fact: Although many sufferers will continue to battle, or will find their symptoms resurface overtime, they can often manage these successfully. Thus, most of them will lead a fulfilling life.


If you’re struggling with any mental health issues and not getting the help you need then please get in touch with me and I will do my bets to get you the help you need.

Simon