The Best Medicine? Focus on What’s Bothering You, PTSD Monthly Update - July 2019

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PTSD Monthly Update

In This Issue

Feature Topic

For Providers

Research at the Center

PTSD in the News

July 2019 Issue


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Feature Topic

The Best Medicine? Focus on What's Bothering You

Three Veterans: two men and a woman - portraits from AboutFace

Treatment Can Help You Heal

It's common to hope that PTSD symptoms will just go away over time, but this is unlikely if you’ve had symptoms for longer than a year. Even if you feel like you can handle your symptoms now, they may get worse over time. Seeking treatment and talking about a traumatic event may seem hard, but confronting difficult memories can help you heal and move forward.

Trauma-Focused Psychotherapies

Man talking to a therapist

With trauma-focused psychotherapy you work with a trained provider to face exactly what is bothering you.

There are three specific treatments that have the strongest scientific evidence showing they are safe and proven to work. These therapies are:

Each therapy is different, but they all teach you how to process your trauma-related thoughts, memories, and feelings so that you can move on. For more on how these therapies work and evidence based treatment watch our short, informative videos.

Treatment: What to Expect

Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT)

After a trauma, it's common to have negative thoughts — like thinking what happened is your fault or that the world is very dangerous. CPT helps you learn to identify and change these thoughts. Changing how you think about the trauma can help change how you feel.

Christopher J. Tyler, US Army (1996-2004)

"Before, I had my blinders on and I'd see all the things I had [done] wrong. And now, when I go through it, I see the experience as a whole... The way I think about this completely changed."

- Christopher J. Tyler, US Army (1996-2004)

Prolonged Exposure Therapy (PE)

People with PTSD often work hard to avoid traumatic memories and things that remind them of the trauma. This can help you feel better in the moment, but in the long term it can keep you from recovering from PTSD by preventing you from processing what happened to you. In PE, you expose yourself to the memories, feelings, and situations that you’ve been avoiding. It sounds scary, but facing things you’re afraid of in a safe way can help you learn that you don’t need to avoid reminders of the trauma.

Sarah Humphries, US Army (1994-2012)

“It unlocks the ugly stuff. It’s in there eating away at you anyway, so it’s better just to purge it in your therapist’s office. Honestly it felt like a weight off of my shoulders. It was phenomenal.”

- Sarah Humphries, US Army (1994-2012)

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

EMDR can help you process upsetting memories, thoughts and feelings by having you focus on images of the trauma. At the same time, the therapist introduces brief sets of back-and-forth eye movements, taps or tones. This helps your brain work through the traumatic memories. Over time, it changes how you react to memories of your trauma and how you feel about yourself.

Rogelio “Roger” Rodriquez, Jr., US Navy (1987-1993), US Air Force (1993 – 2013)

"My traumatic thoughts don't come to the forefront of my everyday life and consume my thoughts…they have been processed and placed into long- term memory, where they belong."

- Rogelio "Roger" Rodriquez, Jr., US Navy (1987-1993), US Air Force (1993 – 2013)

AboutFace: Veterans Talk About Getting Help

To hear more about these and other Veterans' experiences with trauma-focused psychotherapies visit AboutFace, where Veterans who have been through them, will tell you about their experience.

How Can You Decide Which Treatment is Right for You?

The online PTSD Treatment Decision Aid is a great way to learn about your options and consider which treatment is right for you. You can watch videos of providers explaining how treatments work, then build a personalized comparison chart of the treatments that appeal to you. You can share a printout of the chart with your provider as you decide together which treatment best meets your needs.

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For Providers

PTSD Consultation Program

Consult with PTSD Experts

PTSD Consultation Program offers free PTSD consultation to any provider who treats Veterans in any setting.

This program is open to Community Providers.

PTSD Lecture Series

  • August 21, 2019: Focal Brain Stimulation for PTSD, Paul Holtzheimer, MD

Register for Continuing Education Credits

Registration is free and is required before the lecture to receive continuing education credit. Credits are available from: ACCME, ACCME-NP, APA, ANCC, NBCC, ASWB, and NYSED SW.

Mark Your Calendar

Third Wednesday of the month at 2pm ET. Download a calendar reminder to save the date.


Sign up to receive monthly emails that include a registration link and instructions for joining the live lectures.

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Research at the Center

Participatory System Dynamics for Evidence-based Addiction and Mental Healthcare

Researchers are working to identify innovations to improve the implementation of evidence-based practices in healthcare systems. Two outpatient clinics are evaluating improvements in scheduling practices, referral procedures, patient flows, and staffing allocations as part of this research.

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PTSD in the News

8 Things to Know About PTSD . About 8 million Americans have PTSD in a given year, and nearly 8 percent of the population will experience PTSD at some point in their lives. Here are 8 things to know about PTSD and effective treatments. Read more.*

Be sure to forward this update to others so they can subscribe. We send one update per month to keep you informed of the latest PTSD developments.

Thank you,

The Staff of VA’s National Center for PTSD

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Produced by VA’s National Center for PTSD - Executive Division
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VA does not endorse and is not responsible for the content of these linked websites.