Monday, December 6, 2010

"A Guy Burned Alive in Front of Me"

"A Guy Burned Alive in Front of Me": Treating Traumatized Vets
The way we understand and use PTSD tempts all of us -- providers, society, and veterans -- to view the veteran as a victim, which may hurt them more than help.
November 29, 2010
By Roy Clymer

At eight o'clock on Tuesday morning, I walk into a nondescript room at Walter Reed Army Medical Center to greet seven soldiers and marines who've been back from Iraq or Afghanistan for a year. Sprawled around a large, coffee-stained table, looking wary, the vets are here because they, or someone else, said they have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

This is the first meeting of an exposure therapy group I'll be facilitating, and I'm anxious because if the treatment goes well, it'll be painful for them, and everyone prefers to avoid pain. These men and women have been treated with medications or intermittent counseling to help them deal with the emotions and conflicts they fear, but they remain symptomatic. Now they've landed at Walter Reed's Deployment Health Clinical Center to participate in a three-week, multidisciplinary program that helps vets adjust to life after combat. They're guarded, skeptical, but not without hope.
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A Guy Burned Alive in Front of Me

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