Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
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While historically post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has been addressed chiefly as an issue faced by veterans, it has only been quite recently that the awareness of the impact of war has begun to increase. As veterans return from combat, we are learning even more clearly the dire need for mental health approaches to address the impact of war on soldiers. The media has started to highlight the need for interventions to address this mental health issue, publishing the staggering statistics on veteran suicides. According to the Suicide Data Report, 2012 (Kemp & Bossarte, 2013, p. 18), veterans and active duty military are taking their lives at the rate of 22 a day. This number can be reduced with the proper type of prevention and intervention strategies. Consider Jake Levy and his struggle with PTSD, and the most recent interventions used to address its symptoms.
Respond to at least two colleagues with your thoughts on the skills they suggested, and how they were empowering to the client. Provide specific examples. (Use 2 peer reviewed references, ask a question in response for additional conversation)
Response to Kelley
In the case of Jake Levy, he seems to be having a very hard time dealing with things since his time in the military and his three tours in Iraq. It is evident that Jake is suffering from PTSD symptoms and has a hard time talking about the issues that are bothering him. When he is speaking with the therapist, Jake begins having a hard time focusing and speaking when he begins to relive the hard times that he has experienced. The therapist does a good job of keeping a calm demeanor when talking with Jake and using empathy and understanding. She shows that she is understanding of what he is going through by suggesting the use of exposure therapy to help him work through the difficulty that he has with retelling his experiences. Jake seems very receptive to finding ways to helping himself work through his feelings and trusts what the therapist is telling him. The therapist talks about teaching him breathing techniques to allow himself to calm down when he starts to feel anxious about his experiences. In the video as he learns to do this, he is able to relax more and feel less anxious (Laureate Education, 2013).
I feel that cognitive processing theory would also be beneficial to Jake to work through his feelings of PTSD. Talking with the therapist in a non-threatening environment along with writing down his own feelings could greatly help Jake in better understand what he may not be able to express verbally. DBT therapies obtained through Veteran’s support groups, Individual therapy, couples and family therapy, AA meetings, and family support could also be very beneficial. Having others who have experienced similar situations to talk with may allow him to feel more comfortable about talking about what he experienced. Going to counseling with his wife and son may teach him ways of expressing his feelings with them, and give them a better understanding of what he is feeling. Going to AA meetings could help him to reduce or quit using alcohol as a bandaid for his feelings and teach him better ways to work through his issues. Support from his family and friends can allow for Jake to feel less alone and like he has others who have his back no matter how he is feeling. After all other therapies, Jake may be in need of medications to assist with his issues and allow him the ability to overcome his emotions and feelings.
Response to Tiffany
Post your description of the interventions used by the practitioner. Identify the specific skills and tools used with Jake to address PTSD.
The practitioner in the case of Jake was very polite, soft-spoken and showed empathy during the session. She attempted to use deep breathing therapy with him and explained to him the purpose of such techniques. She ensured he knew how he could utilize this later as well. The practitioner used Prolonged Exposure (PE) which an approach intended to reduce PTSD through a modification of the memory structures underlying emotions such as the ubiquitous fear found in PTSD (e.g., Foa & Kozak, 1986). I feel she used open-ended questions which kept the dialogue continuing so that she could get all the information needed to assist him with his PTSD.
What other skills might you use with Jake to address his symptoms? Explain why these might be important to help Jake heal emotionally.
I would use open-ended questions to get Jake to discuss what he experiences and to help him to identify triggers of his PTSD. Reiterating what Jake is stating shows my attention to his needs and empowering him to live his life without stress and worry. I would continue to practice boundaries while assessing Jake to ensure that I am not creating a harsh session for him and remaining unbiased by his situation. As a social worker, I must be willing to get a clear understanding of Jake’s feelings and provide him with great resources. It’s important that clients feel that their needs are being met and that they are not being left to fend on their own. I also think building trust in a client-professional relationship would help Jake to trust me and know that I am just helping him to get what he needs.
Sharpless, B. A., & Barber, J. P. (2011). A clinician’s guide to PTSD treatments for returning veterans. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 42(1), 8-15. Doi:10.1037/a0022351