Do you notice anything unusual about this statement?
“Despite the stresses of deployments, many soldiers find their deployment experiences rewarding.”
During a recent talk I attended by retired Air Force psychologist Carroll Greene, these types of statements, which are often found in a pre-deployment briefing, predispose both Service Members and healthcare providers to automatically think about deployments negatively. What if the statement was turned to “Because of the stresses of deployments, many soldiers find their deployment experiences rewarding”?
For those looking to understand the first-person experience of a veteran returning to college, the website Half of Us is an outstanding resource containing dozens of video snippets of interviews of returning vets at school. The website, funded and designed in collaboration by the JED Foundation and MTV U, aims to educate and enlighten students on campus regarding subjects as diverse as depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and sexual orientation. Included in the Half of Us web site is an extensive area devoted to veterans on campus.
Some time ago I was in a family’s living room talking to a group who had come to the US as war refugees. Many had been tortured before fleeing their homeland, before finding safe haven in the US. I had been invited there to talk about PTSD and effective treatment. Many in the room likely suffered with the disorder, but if so, called it “nervousness” and referred to themselves or those with the problem as, “he’s crazy now…too bad.”
The horrors of war, the deaths, imprisonment and torture leave an indelible mark on the human psyche. PTSD, however, a psychiatric diagnosis, does not have to be part of the lingering legacy of war. That was the main point of my talk…and to share resources for help.
Assessing and treating suicidal clients is one of the most anxiety-producing professional challenges faced by mental health providers. Doing so conjures up fears about competence, risk management, and the time demands that come with working with suicidal clients. While there is a wealth of literature to guide mental health professionals in this area, it can be difficult to find a resource that covers theory, assessment, and treatment in a concise form. Recently, I discovered a resource that should be a part of every mental health provider’s library: The Assessment and Management of Suicidality, by M. David Rudd. Dr. Rudd is a renowned scholar in the area of suicidality and is a prolific researcher and author. However, his straightforward and simply written pocket resource for this challenging work may be one of his greatest contributions.
As I work with clinicians who are trained in evidence-based treatments for PTSD, one query is raised repeatedly…Should I use Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) or Prolonged Exposure (PE) to treat patient X?
PTSD is one of the signature disorders of the OIF/OEF conflict. PTSD is characterized by symptoms of re-experiencing, avoidance/numbing and hyperarousal. As many as 20% of the US service members returning from Iraq or Afghanistan since 2001 may have PTSD (www.iom.edu/militaryptsd). We may safely assume that a significant number of veterans from the current conflict and other eras will need effective treatment to alleviate PTSD symptoms. Let’s review…