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Success with Imagery Downloads for Traumatized Soldiers

15 Feb

Hello, again.

We continue to see truly exciting results from Dr. Jennifer Strauss’ research, investigating the impact of self-regulation & guided imagery downloads on returning soldiers suffering from posttraumatic stress.  She’s on her fourth investigation (all of which are summarized in this week’s Hot Research) and it just keeps getting better and better, the more she refines and tweaks the imagery protocol, based on feedback from the earlier studies.  So far, she’s found similar results with Vietnam vets, women suffering military sexual trauma and returning soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan with combat stress.
 

To summarize briefly, we’re seeing is a steep, consistent drop in all three clusters of PTSD symptoms – (1) avoidance/numbing, (2) re-experiencing (nightmares, flashbacks), and (3) arousal (terror, agitation, temper etc) – and 80% of the improvement happens by week six.  Retention is very high - on this latest round, only one out of 14 dropped out.  For PTSD, this is remarkable. 

Best of all is the accessible, user-friendly and unprecedentedly low-cost method of delivery.  It’s done by digital download to an MP3, PDA or iPod, with a social worker calling to check in once a week, to see how it’s going.

The only thing that keeps us from raising the rooftops, and pushing to get this into the ears of all active military and vets, is that the numbers in these ongoing studies are still low – consistent, predictably positive, clinically persuasive, but, in hard-core, deep dish research terms, not statistically robust enough to declare certitude.  This will happen; Jennifer is on her way to these larger numbers. The problem is, it could be another 4-5 years before we have the 500 - 1000 subjects you need to affect wide scale policy.  And this makes us a little crazy, because we could be alleviating a lot of suffering now.

But we are getting the word out. A lot of advocacy groups, V.A.’s and vet centers, army and marine bases, and military families are getting these downloads to those who need them, lumbering bureaucracies notwithstanding.  The newest and most successful version, by the way, uses the self-regulation and imagery tracks from the Stress Hardiness Optimization CD. Some also opt to additionally use the more intense, emotionally evocative Healing Trauma imagery (but that’s not for everyone – some are not yet ready to feel their feelings, and most can get what they need from the Stress Hardiness CD).

So we’ll continue to broadcast this as much as we’re able, and we’re hoping you’ll check out the recap of Dr. Strauss’ PTSD studies at Duke and forward this to those you think could use it. 

Shifting gears, I want to tell you about some terrific new resources posted on the site.  A new, stress-reducing, Caregiver Relief CD by Donahue Vanderhider, a national expert in eldercare and related family stresses; a dazzling DVD, Radiant Heart Yoga by Shiva Rea, master teacher of vinyasa yoga; and our popular, new Sleep Basket, the perfect, multisensory gift for your favorite insomniac. (And you can get that terrific little microwaveable Heart Pillow separately, aromatherapy scented or not).

Okay, that’s it for now.  Do check out the recap of Jennifer Strauss’ PTSD studies at Duke, and forward it to those you think could use it.

Take care & 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