Monday, November 22, 2010

University of Connecticut Tries New Approach to Educating Vets with PTSD

This is one of the most interesting and in-depth articles about the troubles vets with PTSD have re-integrating into society that we've seen in a while. Take this passage about one vet who tried to start taking classes:

Looking to continue the physical discipline of the Army, Matt enrolled in a six-month program to become a personal trainer. However, his conduct in the classroom caused his classmates to recoil and ultimately keep their distance. He repeatedly buttonholed them to listen to his ravings and tales from Iraq. He screamed at the television when an Arabic speaker came on and jumped when someone dropped a pan in the training school’s pantry.

He was a stocky, sinewy soldier, with a martial arts Ultimate- Fighting-Championship build, who always donned the same GI-Joe cartoon T-shirt and stocking hat. He had a brooding and sullen stare and remarked, incessantly and uncontrollably, on the stressors of his war experience as his one and only life experience. His classmates gave him the nickname “McMurphy” after Jack Nicholson’s iconoclastic, charismatic mental patient in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

“Those guys on the side of the road with the cardboard signs — I can see how they get there,” Matt says. “I’m afraid of losing everything I came home to.” The 35-year-old soldier bitterly calls himself a poster child for PTSD.
To help better understand how to offer education to people with PTSD, the University of Connecticut is studying a new technique called Trauma Affect Regulation: Guide for Education and Therapy (TARGET). The two-year study will be funded by a $750,000 grant from from the U.S. Justice Department, and the school is seeking 90 male vets to participate.

The study will put half of the participants through "traditional" therapy ("prolonged exposure" therapy, which we haven't actually heard as having many good results), while the rest will be taught techniques to increase skills for controlling anger and other emotions.

Click the link above to read more.

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