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hedgey

Prolonged Exposure Therapy

Question

My VA therapist is really pushing this Prolonged Exposure Therapy. He keeps telling me that PET is soooooo tremendously effective and that EVERY one of his vets who have been through it have had EXCELLENT results.

Now he's got a 'new' dvd from the VA that supposedly shows real vets talking about how much PET helped them (as opposed to the actors they had in the 'old' dvd...). He thinks that if I'd watch the dvd I'd feel more comfortable about going through PET.

I wonder if the VA made a dvd of real vets who talk about how PET has made them worse? Probably not.

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Hedgey

It is such BS. Every few years there is a new cure for this or that emotional illness. They used to believe that lobotomy was the cure for anxiety neurosis. Before that chemical shock and before that they just threw people into the river to see if they floated. It is all barbaric and based on ignorance. They don't know how to cure PTSD or schizophrenia or bipolar but that does not stop them from trying all manner of things on people.

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Carlie bless your heart you have always been so direct and bluntly honest, yes the PET program is currently the ray of hope the VA keeps grasping for and yes once again they will finally admit is not the "wonder cure" for severe and chronic PTSD. But at what cost ? Everytime I have been asked to consider PET my response simply begins with a question. " have you ever been personally envolved in mortal combat? I mean in the kill zone!!! Of course the response I get back is always the same, " but we have studies and thousands of success stories with PET" Have you ever been a part of a kill zone in a firefight? The response is always no but I served. Stop!!! Maybe if I live long enough and we develop a great Dr. & patient relationship based on mutual honesty and trust, I may consider it only if the numbers are good enough especially if Vietnam Vets show marked improvement. Until such time, as far as the VA and I are concerned I am rated 100% PTSD P & T, 30% hearing and on and on. The bottom line is until there is verifiible sufficent evidence of success to a large degree with the PET program, anyone going with the program must realize the risks associated with the therapy. Thats my take on this PET program. What veterans must realize is although the Dr. is a very well educated professional with the best intentions can not know how you feel mentally, they think they can but I don't. The best advise I can give you is just tell the Dr. you're not ready for the intense therapy, lets take it slow and easy, and maybe after we get to know & trust each other we'll revisit the program then.

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Once again, Carlie hits the nail squarely on the head, not a single miss.

Yeah, that's what my gut is telling me. I can't imagine getting through the first 5 minutes of what he says I'll have to do, let alone doing it over and over again.

This seems like it could POSSIBLY be helpful for a person who had one, brief moment of trauma, that happened within the past few months at the latest. So maybe for accident victims it could maybe help.

But how can it help if the trauma was itself dragged out over days and months? How can it undo years and years of conditioning to PTSD responses? How can it fix all the damned pain we've lived with for years? And the guilt? How can it fix all the times when our "over-reacting to a perceived threat" were actually justified, reinforcing our responses?

I want to know how reliving a traumatic experience for an hour, then driving home to wait a week for the next session is a good plan. I want to know how I'm supposed to drive at all, after that. "Sorry, it looks like our time is up for today.... have a good week and I'll see you next Wednesday."

Sure. You bet.

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Bottom line Hedgey is they can't make you. I've heard it has helped some people who had 1 count'em 1 traumatic experience and nothing else. Now for veteran that have had multiple trauma's I haven't seen anything except the VA's own advertising about how great it is.

For one thing how in the heck do you expect a veteran with PTSD to go to any therapy that starts with the word exposure, I mean really. It may work for some, I'm not dissing the veterans on the DVD,

However, I tend to agree with Carlie who has put it so succinctly.

Once again, Carlie hits the nail squarely on the head, not a single miss.

Yeah, that's what my gut is telling me. I can't imagine getting through the first 5 minutes of what he says I'll have to do, let alone doing it over and over again.

This seems like it could POSSIBLY be helpful for a person who had one, brief moment of trauma, that happened within the past few months at the latest. So maybe for accident victims it could maybe help.

But how can it help if the trauma was itself dragged out over days and months? How can it undo years and years of conditioning to PTSD responses? How can it fix all the damned pain we've lived with for years? And the guilt? How can it fix all the times when our "over-reacting to a perceived threat" were actually justified, reinforcing our responses?

I want to know how reliving a traumatic experience for an hour, then driving home to wait a week for the next session is a good plan. I want to know how I'm supposed to drive at all, after that. "Sorry, it looks like our time is up for today.... have a good week and I'll see you next Wednesday."

Sure. You bet.

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