Non-chemical interventions for PTSD

It’s interesting how things don’t always turn out the way you think they will.

We are in Bristol and came here to attend the Colston Research PTSD Symposium.  We wanted to find out more about current research, how best to structure a study of our own work and, potentially, make links with people who may help us.

We stayed until just 11.30 in the morning after hearing that almost all speakers were talking about research studies aimed at finding new chemical interventions for PTSD.  We appreciate that the speakers are experts in their field who believe they are helping people with PTSD. However, through our experience with over a hundred survivors of concentration camps with severe trauma, we have learned that with the right support, survivors can heal past events with empowering tools and learn to self-regulate, return to health and have happy and fulfilling lives.

Unlike this symposium that was funded by a drugs company, Caroline was also recently at a conference run by the University of Lancashire about innovations in treatment for PTSD in servicemen and women and veterans.  There seemed a genuine desire to look at both  prevention and recovery from PTSD without involving the use of additional medication.

We both found our response to this symposium very interesting and have spent quite a while reflecting on what it means to us, personally and for our work.

Although the presentations were pretty high brow, it was quite easy to look past the language to understand their purpose. We didn’t leave because practically every speaker seemed to talk about testing on animals, or because the presentations were mostly geared to proving the need for new chemical medication, or because it seemed far from our own view, we left because we instinctively knew we had already moved beyond this model.

So, what have gained by being here?  Far from being a wasted journey, the experience has helped us clarify what we do and don’t want to do in our own research. It also brought sharp focus as to who we do and don’t want to associate with and, has confirmed our vision for our future work.

In order to move on from the past, we first need to feel in the present. The best way to hep people do that, it to really listen to them, meet them where they are at and empower them with self-sustainable, non-chemical intervention.

Rather than spend energy at an event that is not beneficial to our work, we are using this gift of extra time to work together on phase two of the Heart Resilience Project.