New methods for treating PTSD

By Laura Ann Sills - email

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - As soldiers return from combat, it is said that nine out of ten of them suffer from PTSD, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  But, it is not just the soldier that is affected by the stress.  Family life is also being disrupted.

Local counselors are training to help the whole family recover from the trauma at a training held at Troy University on Friday and Saturday.

Columbus Psychotherapist Harold McRae said, "It is the first war we have had that we have not had a draft.  And, so we are recycling the same guys.  The 3rd brigade is coming back and this is their 5th tour."

McRae explained the repetition increases the trauma, in turn increasing the effect on the family.  The process is called secondary trauma.

Sarah Bird is a Stress Management Consultant in Ireland.  She came to Troy's campus to help the students and professionals learn positive energy psychology.  "I have heard some heartbreaking stories from families who are really, really coping with very, very difficult circumstances and there just does not seem to be enough support for them," said Bird.

Psychologist and counselors from the Valley area are learning a new method of treating trauma and stress for the whole family.

"We have discovered a way of working with the body's energy that helps to make long lasting change because if there is disruption in the body's energy it causes a disruption in emotions and physical body," explained Bird.

McRae uses and is teaching this new method.  It is very different from the old way, you no longer have to sit on a couch and talk about your deepest darkest secrets. Instead, the method focuses on re-channeling those traumatic experiences to positive thoughts.   "You do not have to re-experience the trauma emotionally and you do not have to relive the situation."

And, it is sparing soldiers from that kind of pain that could make a real and lasting difference in the quality of their lives.

The people that put the training event together said it was as much for the counselors as for the patents they work with every day.  Treating traumatic events can be as draining as experiencing them.

The training continues Saturday from 9 am to 1 pm at the Higg Building on Troy University's campus.

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