The recent Senate hearings that led to the confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh were both riveting and painful for many viewers. It’s difficult to recall another time when sexual assault and its effects played such a prominent role in our national conversation.
The term “triggered” has gotten a mixed reputation in recent years as it has come to be associated with the efforts of many colleges and universities to protect students from upsetting content or ideas. This new meaning of the term started with the best of intentions. Professors covering material that could be upsetting for those with a history of trauma began to warn students beforehand; hence the term “trigger warning.” Gradually, the term’s use broadened as college communities increasingly used it to warn students about the use of anything that might conceivably be upsetting. (This was unfortunate, as ultimately it is impossible to protect all students from ever being upset by the material, perspectives, or ideas presented in class.) However, triggers are a serious [Read more…]
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a serious condition that can set in following a traumatic event (or series of events). Many different kind of events can cause PTSD. These include assaults, motor vehicle accidents, combat experiences, rape, abuse, some medical events, and several other situations. These events do not always cause PTSD. When they do, it is smart to seek treatment. The reason for this is that certain types of therapy can be very effective for PTSD, and can cause significant improvements in quality of life. Very recently, the American Psychological Association assembled a guideline for PTSD treatment options. This guideline is based on extensive reviews of high quality research. (Learn more about why research is important for psychotherapy.) The four treatment options that were “strongly recommended” were: [Read more…]
In recent years, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) has become a hot topic in the military and the media. For many, PTSD conjures up an image of a combat veteran who has returned home with troubles after being exposed to land mines and air raids. Indeed, statistics show that 11-20% of veterans coming back from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from PTSD. But PTSD is not just a military problem. People who have experienced a life-threatening experience may have PTSD and not even know it. [Read more…]
Psychotherapy is more effective today than it was 50 or even 25 years ago. Why? Because of research. In the United States, National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other agencies fund clinical trials of specific types of psychotherapy for various problems. One example of such a clinical psychotherapy trial can be seen in the work I have been involved with at Mount Sinai School of Medicine and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. We conducted [Read more…]