Posted 27 October 2015 in StressPoints by Daniel Schechter, MD
ISTSS member, Daniel Schechter; MD, a child, adolescent and adult psychiatrist at the University of Geneva, won three international awards this summer for two papers. These papers both discuss how maternal violence-related PTSD can affect the parent-child relationship and child social-emotional development. In the following article, we asked Dr. Schechter to describe his two winning papers briefly and what inspired the intriguing ideas they represent.
Posted 27 October 2015 in StressPoints by Berthold P.R. Gersons, MD, PhD
Traumatic events like war, being nearly killed, surviving a disaster, or being sexually abused for years are complex events with often long-lasting consequences. Brief Eclectic Psychotherapy for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (BEPP) has been developed to encompass the complex consequences of traumatic events and subsequent PTSD in a comprehensive way.
The roles of emotions and of meaning making of the event are central themes in BEPP. The aftermath of experiencing traumatic events may lead to overwhelming emotions, the longing for comfort from others, and acceptance. However, traumatized people are often afraid of these intense emotions. They even apologize for becoming sad or crying. Also they can feel lonely because of the traumatic experiences which made them lose faith in others, the world, and even belief in themselves. In BEPP fear is interpreted as being much afraid of the strong emotions associated with the trauma.
Posted 27 October 2015 in StressPoints by Patrice Keats, PhD, and Jen Vishloff, MA
Tara Singh Hayer was a Canadian journalist who wrote for and published the Indo-Canadian Times, the largest and oldest circulating Punjabi weekly newspaper in Canada. After the 1985 Air India bombing, he became an avid critic of Sikh fundamentalist violence both in Canada and India. He made an important contribution in strengthening and promoting press freedom through his courage to speak out against their terrorist activities (Committee to Protect Journalists, n.d.).
Subsequently, his life was threatened numerous times; he survived an attempt on his life in 1988, which partially paralyzed him, and ten years later, he was shot dead in the garage of his home in Vancouver, BC. Although police had connected suspects in the attack to militant international organizations working for an independent Sikh homeland in India, there remains no suspect charged in his murder (Bolan, 2012, 2015). For this horrendous act, the person or persons responsible for killing Mr. Hayer have been free of punishment or consequences for the last 17 years since his death.
Posted 27 October 2015 in StressPoints by James A. Naifeh, PhD, Holly B. Herberman Mash, PhD, and Gary H. Wynn, MD
The suicide rate in the U.S. Army began a sharp rise in 2004 following the invasion of Iraq and surpassing that of civilians in 2008 for the first time in decades (Nock et al., 2013). In response to this public health crisis, the Army partnered with the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) to fund the Army Study to Assess Risk and Resilience in Servicemembers (Army STARRS)(Ursano et al., 2014), a multi-institutional epidemiological and neurobiological study that seeks to understand the determinants of suicidality and provide the Army with actionable recommendations to mitigate suicide and suicidal behaviors.
The largest study of mental health risk and resilience ever conducted among Army personnel, the study surveys more than 100,000 soldiers (with blood samples from 52,000) and integrating 40 Army and Department of Defense (DoD) data systems containing administrative records for all 1.6 million soldiers on active duty from 2004 through 2009 (more than 1.1 billion records). Army STARRS has thus far generated a number of important findings regarding the influence of trauma, deployment, time in service, and mental health history.
Posted 9 October 2015 in JOTS Highlights by Katherine Dahm, PhD
This JTS Commentary discusses a recently published article by Dahm et al. (2015) focused on associations of mindfulness and self-compassion with PTSD symptoms among combat veterans.
Posted 27 October 2015 in StressPoints by Nickolas Armstrong, MA
When I began my doctorate, I had certain expectations about how the training would look. I saw myself studying advanced and complicated theories from heavy and imposing leather-bound books. I imagined myself practicing therapy under the supervision of a seasoned and intimidating doctor behind a one-way mirror. I pictured what it would be like as the stereotypical doctoral student who complains to everyone about the dissertation-induced dystopia he exists in as he shuffles around campus with a briefcase full of important looking papers. What I did not anticipate was the extent to which travel abroad courses geared toward the study of trauma would profoundly impact my views of the world, the future, and even myself.
During my undergraduate work, I never traveled abroad. When I applied to graduate school, I made a deal to myself that, if I were to embark on this five-year life-encompassing adventure, I would somehow incorporate traveling abroad into my studies. Lucky for me, my school offers a variety of study abroad courses. I heard about a trip to Belfast, Northern Ireland with a focus on suicide prevention and intergenerational trauma. Given my interest in trauma, along with the fact that the Northern Irish and I share a common language, this seemed like a natural choice.