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Trauma Therapy Meets Theater

An Unusual Program is Helping Vets Rewire from War

Ryan Howes • No Comments

By Ryan Howes - Therapists know that words can heal. But what if the words were in iambic pentameter and delivered from a stage? Veteran and professional actor Stephan Wolfert is testing a PTSD intervention that for decades has been pairing classical theater training with the science of trauma.

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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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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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VIDEO: Bill Doherty Explains Why Therapy Isn't a Science...

...It's a Conversational Craft

William Doherty • 3 Comments

What do the masters of truly good therapy have in common? According to couples therapist Bill Doherty, they know how to balance their desire to guide therapy with their ability to empathically listen. It's this quality that drives home the truth about therapy—at its heart, this work isn't a science. It's a craft.

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Could You Connect with This Client?

A Guide to Doing Couples Therapy When One Partner Won't Open Up

Kathryn Rheem • 1 Comment

By Kathryn Rheem - Probably no aspect of couples work is more critical, or more difficult, for therapists than engaging a distant, emotionally shutdown partner. Since the feelings being avoided are often regarded as terrifying, humiliating, and deeply threatening, doing this work is a delicate therapeutic balancing act. It requires moving forward with both gentleness and persistence, without being deflected by clients’ profound unwillingness to become engaged.

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A Look Back at the Evolution of Trauma Treatment

Are Clinicians Still Turning a Blind Eye to a Key Factor?

Mary Sykes Wylie • 1 Comment

By Mary Sykes Wylie - In the 1970s, no sooner had the definition of PTSD been signed, sealed, and delivered, than many clinicians began to realize that the new diagnosis by no means encompassed the experience of all traumatized clients. In the case of trauma expert Bessel van der Kolk, many of his traumatized clients shared one other feature: they all reported histories of childhood abuse.

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Is Virtual Reality a Game Changer?

VR is Therapeutic. But Could It Change Therapy as We Know It?

Michael Greene • 1 Comment

By Michael Greene - Virtual reality challenges some of our physical and emotional boundaries, altering our immediate experience of what’s real and blurring our sense of being separate from what we’re watching. Put on VR goggles and headphones and you enter a new environment, experienced from a first-person, 360-degree perspective. Researchers have already been tapping into this powerful sense of immersion to pioneer various types of VR-based therapies. But is VR really a game changer?

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The Free Therapy Movement of Give an Hour

Therapists Extend Their Reach to Veterans in Need

Chris Lyford • 4 Comments

By Chris Lyford - Since its founding in 2005, the Give an Hour organization has created a nationwide network of nearly 7,000 social workers, psychotherapists, psychiatrists, couples therapists, and substance-abuse counselors who’ve committed one hour a week to doing free counseling with members of the military and their families.

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Therapy Enters the Digital Age

Is Telemental Health the Future of Psychotherapy?

Kathleen Smith • No Comments

More and more clinicians today are adapting to meet the demands of the digital world and fit into the schedules and lifestyles of clients no longer willing to follow the traditional pattern of once-a-week sessions in a therapist’s office. In a consumer-driven mental health marketplace, individuals with anxiety disorders want services from the comfort of their homes. For veterans living in rural areas, remote group and individual psychotherapy for trauma offers treatment possibilities that weren’t available even a few years ago. But although telehealth has been around for decades, many clinicians are still unsure about the clinical, ethical, and legal issues that emerge as distance therapy becomes a more accepted practice.

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Bridging Mind and Body in Trauma Treatment

How Bessel van der Kolk Pioneered a New Trauma Therapy

Mary Sykes Wylie • 1 Comment

Bessel Van der Kolk first became aware of the world of trauma in 1978, when he decided to go work for the Veterans Administration, not to study PTSD (it hadn't been recognized yet as a formal diagnosis), but to get the government benefits to pay for his own psychoanalysis. While there, he discovered the reality of PTSD---and the beginnings of a stunning, nationwide phenomenon. Since then, the trauma field has gone from obscurity to become one of the most innovative and supported specialties in mental health. Trauma researchers have set off an explosion of knowledge about psychobiology and the interaction of body and mind. And van der Kolk, as much as anyone else in the field, has defined the current framework for understanding trauma.

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