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This section will guide you in understanding some treatments for disorders of consciousness (DoC), who may be involved in their treatments and what they do, and kinds of medications that may be helpful.
Showing the fronts and backs of masks made by veterans with PTSD and TBI, Art Therapist Stephanie Clark talks about how through the process of making, a veteran can process and better understand their traumas.
LoveYourBrain Retreats is a novel, free, five-day multimodal program designed to benefit people with traumatic brain injury (TBI) and their caregivers. This study showed the integration of mindfulness, gentle yoga, brain health nutrition, art therapy, and community is an effective rehabilitation model to improve quality of life and has significant potential for expanding access to complementary therapy after TBI.
Army veteran Victor Hurtado has had a very successful career as a musician, producer, and talent coach, but suffered from emotional challenges living with PTSD. It wasn’t until he met Holly that he began to find hope for greater happiness in his life.
Due to its relatively brief course of treatment, written exposure therapy may be a more efficient method in reducing PTSD symptoms among U.S. military members, according to a randomized clinical trial published in JAMA Network Open.
Somatics is a movement therapy that refers to the internal sensations of the body, how you're moving your body, what you feel inside your body. When teaching yoga to veterans through the Emory Healthcare Veterans Program, Marty Yura focuses on interoceptive awareness—the ability to identify, access, understand, and respond appropriately to the patterns of internal signals, which can provide a distinct advantage to engage in life challenges and on-going adjustments. He explains: "When you are focusing on somatics, you are not working against gravity which offers you more space, more room, and more awareness to home in on what you are feeling."
Yoga is a physical practice, but equally a mental practice. The possibilities that can arise from any yoga practice are infinite. Yoga can help you learn ways to calm yourself down. It can release discomforts that you may have been resigned yourself to always having to endure. It can instigate a willingness and openness to try new things, or to access parts of yourself you thought were forever locked.
I keep hearing that I need cognitive behavioral therapy—talk therapy— to treat my symptoms of PTSD like hyper-arousal, depression, avoiding life, and being irritable all the time with my friends and family. Frankly, I don’t want to talk to someone for weeks and months. My wife keeps pressuring me, but the thought of therapy makes me feel weaker than I already am. Why do I feel this way? I’m not sure what to do. Dr. Klassen answers your questions about mental health treatment.
Providers in the Road Home Program got involved with treating men and women who have suffered military sexual trauma out of necessity as the need was enormous. In the two-week intensive program, survivors of MST receive many effective treatments, in particular cognitive processing therapy where they can finally open up about their experiences in a safe place and redirect blame away from themselves. And being in a cohort of other MST survivors makes this program unique and incredibly effective.
One of the most powerful aspects of the two-week immersive Road Home program is group therapy for veterans and service members. Along with the help of clinicians like Dr. Klassen these sessions, vets and service members in these sessions can share their experiences, questions, and perspectives in a safe space. Powerful transformations and healing can occur when one veteran, for example, can shed light on the experience of another, helping that individual better understand a trauma and change the narrative.
During Road Home's two-week immersive program, clinicians see great signs of improvement in the veterans and service members they treat. These signs might include fewer nightmares, better sleep, decreased anger or irritability. They might also be more concrete like a date night with a spouse, a trip to a museum, an afternoon in the park—something an individual with PTSD may not have done in years.
Midway through the two-week immersive Road Home Program when veterans and service members have told their stories of their traumas several times and more details and context emerge with each telling, sometimes the "hot spots" surface. These hot spots are the parts of the trauma that are particularly provocative and upsetting, the memories and emotions that are keeping the person stuck. By focusing on those hot spots, clinicians can help accelerate the therapy and move the person toward healing.
Starting in the first few therapy sessions in Road Home's two-week immersive program, veterans and service members with PTSD work with a clinician to share the narratives of their traumatic experiences. They repeat the story, letting it unfold, adding more context and details, feeling the associated emotions and memories. They also work with their therapist on "in vivo exposure," such as taking steps to ride public transportation or eat in a restaurant, activities that may have been impossible pre-therapy.