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Monday, February 19, 2007

PTSD Training Arrives in the Pacific Theater

From Stars & Stripes:

YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — Training in a new therapy touted to cut recovery time for U.S. troops suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder will be brought to the Pacific for the first time next month.

The therapy — Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing — allows troops to tackle trauma in brief sequential doses while moving their eyes back and forth. Positive imagery is introduced and reinforced during the eye movement, and eventually replaces the trauma in eight sessions, according to the EMDR Web site. ... “EMDR tends to be fast-acting and does not require [the] client to disclose the details of the painful event,” Smith said. “EMDR is cited for its potential rapidity, efficiency, and well-tolerated treatment effects.”

It is one of four therapies recommended in the 2004 Veterans Affairs/Department of Defense Clinical Practice Guidelines for Management of Traumatic Stress report. However, many mental health professionals have not been trained in EMDR nor in the top three other methods (cognitive therapy, exposure therapy and stress inoculation), said Cmdr. Mark Russell, a psychologist at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni. “Out of 133 mental health providers I surveyed, 90 percent of them had no training in the top four treatments the DOD recommends for PTSD,” Russell said in September in a speech given to the Multinational Medical Conference in Yokosuka.

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