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July 28, 2008

16 Aug
The PTSD imagery research atDuke continues apace, and super-productive principal investigator, Jennifer Strauss PhD, is discovering some clinically useful and highly applicable things (I like to think of her as the Nancy Drew of clinical trials, so focused, energetic, resourceful, plucky and sleuthy is she...but I digress...). I can’t jump the gun too much and blab the whole story before it’s published (extremely bad form in research circles), and besides, the big, chimichanga of data analysis that compares pre- and post-intervention changes in the neurosteroid markers from blood work and the fMRI studies can’t be done until the last subject is tested (it’s too expensive to do any other way).

But suffice it to say, we’re learning a lot about the highly adaptive usefulness of guided imagery for PTSD, and for whom it works best and in what iterations. Some populations (newly returned males from Iraq and Afghanistan, for instance) have done well with modifications of the guided imagery protocol used in the first 2 studies, which primarily involved sexually traumatized women vets from the Vietnam era. So we’re learning a lot about the differences that gender, number of years since traumatization and - perhaps - type of traumatization seem to determine. This is heady stuff. I’ll have more specifics for you as soon as I’m allowed.

And now, a new study at Scripps is starting up as well, with 225 traumatized navy and marine returnees from Iraq and Afghanistan. This study will test the effectiveness of a combination of interventions - healing touch, guided imagery and journaling - on PTSD symptoms. That’s all I can share for now. But we’re very pumped about this study as well.

More PTSD research data is coming in all the time now -almost weekly - and plenty of new results will be available by fall - and I’ll be sharing these fresh findings at my upcoming weekend workshop: Reversing Panic Attacks, Acute Stress and PTSD: Powerful New Solutions to Formerly Intractable Problems. I’ll be in New Orleans on October 4-5; Denver on October 11-12; and Salt Lake City on November 22-23.

These weekends provide a pretty comprehensive overview of how imagery is a best practice for posttraumatic stress, acute stress and panic attacks; provides multo research evidence to back this up; offers practical tips on how to most effectively use it; and offers samples and demos. It’s for clinicians (and provides 9 CE hours) but it’s also for regular folks, too, who are looking for help for themselves or their family members and colleagues. We usually get a lot from both groups at these seminars, and it works well. And, believe it or not, it’s a lot of fun too. There’s considerable laughter and camaraderie to be found at these wonderful Conferenceworks events.

More info about the content of this workshop is here; participant feedback is here; and online registration here.

So please come join us if this topic interests you, either as a health or mental health practitioner; or as a lay person with personal concerns.

Okay, that’s it for now.
Take care and be well!
Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award