urbane mreže :
Savetovanje, Suportativna terapija , Psihoterapija
Psihosocijalni savetnik za traumu & PTSP
Psihoterapeut , TA analiticar
Specijalista Anesteziologije , Hirurgije
radnik , Politikolog
Koordinator projekata, web administrator I generalni
spec. javnog zdravlja
Suportativni konsultant , savetnik
Klinicki Psiholog ,KBP- Bihevioralni modalitet
Analiza, Bracna & Partnerska, Individualna Konsalting :
Traume , PTSP , posledice
Bolesti zavisnosti , postapstinencijalna
Alkoholizam, motivacija, pre / post
Stres , hronicna stresna stanja
q Problemi adolescencije
Anksioznost / strahovi (fobije)
Clanovi Internacionalnih Udruzenja & Asocijacija
Université Sorbonne, L’Unité de recherché,Sociologie
de Civilisation’ Paris
Analysis Association -- ITAA
European Transactional Analysis Association,
Institute of Transpersonal Psychology ,
The Foundation for Human Enrichment
Poverty Reduction, addict behaviour, transition,
city, gentrification, filtration, urban and housing policy, transactional ,
Transactions Analysis and Trauma
Traumatizations, stress, psycho, psychosocial,
war-trauma, Disorder, Psychological, Splitting, Symptomatology, Cognitive capacity, Psychotherapy, Counseling, Coaching
|CATCH the Wind
STA JE TO - PSIHOTERAPIJSKO SAVETOVANJE
What is Counselling?
Counselling offers clients the opportunity to explore their thoughts and feelings. Given a sense
of being deeply understood, people can resolve conflicts that prevent them from enjoying their lives. Counselling creates
the optimum ambiance where people can grow emotionally so that they can flourish becoming confident and happy.
Conditions Can it Help?
Most of us at one point or another feel overwhelmed by life circumstances which can leave us
feeling helpless and alone. It may seem that there is no way out but with the right support and guidance you can regain control
of your life.
Counselling can help people who experience:
· Feelings of general anxiety, depression and being unacceptable to others,.
· Inability to form and maintain satisfying relationships.
· Eating problems
· Life events - such as the loss of a loved one.
· Lack of self-esteem, feelings of deep anger.
What can be achieved by counselling?
A level of caring which endows people with value.
Understanding restores a sense of belonging and help with psychological healing and increases self-esteem. People are helped
to make contact with their inner strengths so that they can make their own decisions and lead more effective and rewarding
People consider seeing a counsellor for many different reasons. Counselling can help you see things
more clearly, perhaps from a different perspective. It can enable you to make choices and reduce confusion. It does not involve
giving advice or directing you to a particular course of action. Everyone has their own answers and that given a safe environment
to explore your issues, you will be able to draw upon your own resources to find your own solutions. A skilled counsellor
can offer caring and non-judgemental discussion where you will be accepted as you are, and allowed to work at your own pace
in discovering more about yourself.
years ago, Plato told the following story to his students:
You, as all mortals, come into this world barren of knowledge
and innocent of all truth. Of reality you know nothing. Like prisoners in a dark and cavernous chamber, arms shackled and
weights about their necks, permitting them to see only the wall in front of them, you are chained in the dungeon of ignorance.
People walk behind the prisoners carrying with them statues of men and images of animals wrought in wood and stone, but they
see them not. Only the shadows of these images fall within their ken. The people speak. Their voices the prisoners impute
to the shadows.In the course of nature, the prisoners are released from their fetters. For the first time they move, stand
erect, turn and face the light. A new world confronts them. The newness of the vision blinds them.
Unseen people are
still passing by carrying with them the statues of men and images of animals. With pain and difficulty the prisoners discern
these statues as the source of the shadows. The people speak again. Their voices the prisoners now impute to the statues.
prisoners are now dragged into the open light. Their vision slowly becomes clear. Instead of phantoms and shadows, in place
of statues and models, they perceive the real. People and objects are distinguished from their images and shadows. Their adaptation continues and they see ever
more clearly until in the distance they discern the source of the light. Now they may understand what has given rise to their
Bewilderment is the lot of us all. Often we perceive only models of the truth. But we must go yet farther and find
the very source of things with which we are dealing. We strive to free ourselves from the shackles of imperfectv knowledge
and attempt to come closer to a clear understanding of human thought and activity.
One View on human nature
What is Personal Construct
Psychology is a way of looking at the world. The founder, George Kelly, presents a theory that gives an account of how people
experience the world and make sense of that experience.
He begins this
account by asking people to put aside their former understanding and enter into the way in which he understands the world
and makes sense of his experiences. Using the scientific model, he places people in the position of scientist who uses his/her
perceptions as data or elements to form constructs. Constructs, in turn, are used to give meaning to what Kelly calls the
"constant flow of events".
a framework of meaning for each person, his/her construct system enables a person to act in the world with a reasonable expectation
of being able to predict and, to some extent, control the course of events. When a construct system, and the constructs within
it, meet this expectation, the system is strenghtened or validated. when the system or any constructs within it, fail to yield
working predictions, the person needs to re-construe, or look for other ways to make sense of the experiences that formed
the basis of the original construct.
Kelly, constructs are formed by each person's way of seeing relationships between things, so it is possible to re-construe
experiences by relating them to one another in different ways, as well as seeking new experiences within any are being currently
explored. In his formal theory, Kelly explores in detail the nature of constructs, the development of a construct system and
the usefulness of seeing the world in this way. He emphasises the importance of human freedom and the unique ways in which
people seek to understand themselves and their world. His theory has direct significance for theories of meaning and knowledge,
and the nature of reality.
Vise od polovine uzroka stresa kod klijenata sa kojima je radjena psiho-socijalna terapija PsihoTrauma
Centra uzrokovano je nemastinom i materijalnim problemima .Svi pravdaju tu pojavu cenom tranzicije.Mi smo imali
prilike da vidimo posledice.Opravdanja ne postoje.Postoji "samo" kompleksni matriks razloga .
Siromašniji stare brže
Ako ste siromašni, ostarićete brže
od vršnjaka s debljim novčanikom. Zašto? Vrhovi hromosoma koji sprečavaju starenje kraći su kod siromašnijih.
Bogatiji su u proseku 7 godina mlađi.
LONDON - Osobe lošijeg
društveno-ekonomskog statusa stare brže od svojih vršnjaka čiji je status bolji, objavili su britanski
naučnici iz bolnice St Thomas u Londonu. Studija je pokazala
kako siromašnije osobe imaju kraće telomere, vrhove hromosoma koji sprečavaju njihovo trošenje, što
takve osobe čini biološki starijim od njihovih vršnjaka iz dobrostojeće socijalne grupe.
"Čini se da socijalni status ne utiče samo na zdravstveno stanje i bolesti povezane sa
starenjem, nego i na sam proces starenja", smatra dr. Tim Spector iz londonske bolnice.
Svaki put kada se celija podeli, telomeri se skraćuju. Gubitak se povezuje sa starenjem. Naučnici
zbog toga veruju da upravo telomeri skrivaju tajnu mladosti i procesa starenja.
su uporedili dužinu telomera kod 1552 Britanke starosti od 18 do 75 godina. Uprkos istim navikama i karakteristikama
jedne skupine žena poput navike pušenja,ishrane sklonost telesnim vežbama,
i slično, što takođe utiče na proces starenja, naučnici su utvrdili da su žene lošijeg
imovinskog stanja imale znatno kraće telomere.
je da je imovinski dobrostojeća grupa prosečno sedam godina "mlađa" od one lošijeg društveno-ekonomskog
je provedeno i na 17 blizanačkih parova koji su odrasli zajedno no kao odrasle osobe su, uglavnom nakon udaje ili ženidbe,
počeli da žive u različitim društveno-ekonomskim uslovima.
je da je organizam onih koji su se bogatije oženili ili udale bio prosečno devet godina mlađi od organizma
siromašnije braće ili sestara.
Spector objašnjava kako psihološki stres ili gubitak kontrole nad nekim važnim faktorom u životu može
imati važan biološki utjecaj na organizam, što znači da može podići nivo hormona stresa u telu
zbog čega ćelije brže umiru. Hormoni stresa oštećuju
ćelije zbog oslobađanja slobodnih radikala, čestica koje nalazimo u okolišu i koje se stvaraju u organizmu
u stresnim situacijama.
|SRBIJA MEDJ" SLJIVAMA
Try Not to Think About This Story
Provided byPsychology Today
It's a particularly vexing variant of Murphy's Law: The very thing that you don't want to think about--money worries
when you're trying to sleep, a cigarette when you're trying to quit--persistently pops into your head. Psychologist Daniel
Wegner, Ph.D., says that the effort to restrict thought is itself to blame: "Trying to control your mind can produce the very
state you are trying to avoid."
Such perversity may be the product of what Wegner, a professor at the University of Virginia, calls the theory of ironic
mental control processes. While one part of our brain searches for a distraction from unwanted cognitions, another checks
to make sure that the taboo thought isn't intruding. Usually, the first system--called the "intentional operating process"--works
in tandem with the second, dubbed the "ironic monitor." During times of stress, however, the operating process may be overpowered
by its complement, bringing all the things we don't want to think about into consciousness.
The solution, says Wegner, is to give up trying to control your thoughts, especially when you're under stress. Better,
he says, to alter your environment to create the mood or thoughts you want. "If I'm depressed, sitting by myself and trying
to think cheerful thoughts will almost certainly fail," says Wegner. "But if I go to a party and I'm surrounded by people
laughing and talking, it won't be so difficult to feel happy."
By: Annie Murphy Paul
Healthy Mind, Healthy Heart
Provided byPsychology Today
When adversity stares you in the face, give it a big smile. New research suggests that maintaining a positive outlook
during distressing times can optimize not only your emotional wellbeing, but also your cardiovascular health.
In a study presented an annual convention of the American Psychological Society, researchers at the University of Michigan
(UM) examined the ability of highly resilient people--those who react flexibly and resourcefully to stimuli--to recover quickly
from stressful events. They gave nearly 60 participants only one minute to prepare a speech on a randomly assigned topic,
leading them to believe beforehand that they would also have to deliver their speeches on videotape for later peer evaluation.
No speeches were actually given, but the researchers monitored participants' blood pressure and other cardiovascular responses
throughout the speechwriting period and for five minutes afterward.
The study's findings show that, in comparison to participants with self-reported low resilience, those who were more
highly resilient not only appraised the task as less threatening than their counterparts, but also experienced faster cardiovascular
recovery times. Says Michelle Tugade, a graduate student psychology instructor at UM and the study's co-author: "it's through
the experience of positive emotions that these individuals are able to 'bounce back' quickly from a negative, stressful experience."
By: Alison Calabia
The Art of Resilience
Provided byPsychology Today
Think you're a prisoner of a troubled childhood? Think again. You need not go through the rest of your life as an emotional
cripple. It is possible to bounce back from adversity and go on to live a healthy, fulfilling life. In fact, more people do
it than you may think.
Resilience may be an art, the ultimate art of living, but is has recently been subjected to the scrutiny of science.
This much is known so far. At the heart of resilience is a belief in oneself -- yet also a belief in something larger than
Resilient people do not let adversity define them. They find resilience by moving towards a goal beyond themselves, transcending
pain and grief by perceiving bad times as a temporary state of affairs.
Experts argue among themselves about how much of resilience is genetic. People do seem to differ in their inborn ability
to handle life's stresses. But resilience can also be cultivated. It's possible to strengthen your inner self and your belief
in yourself, to define yourself as capable and competent. It's possible to fortify your psyche. It's possible to develop a
sense of mastery.
And it's definitely necessary to go back and reinterpret past events to find the strengths you have probably had within
all along. Some evidence shows that it's not really until adulthood that people begin to surmount the difficulties of childhood
and to rebuild their lives.
One problem is, there are elements of our culture that glorify frailty, says Washington, D.C. psychiatrist Steven Wolin,
M.D. There is a whole industry that would turn you into a victim by having you dwell on the traumas in your life. In reality
you have considerable capacity for strength, although you might not be wholly aware of it.
Sometimes it is easier to be a victim; talking about how other people make you do what you do removes the obligation
to change. And sympathy can feel sweet; talk of resilience can make some feel that no one is really appreciating exactly how
much they have suffered.
Wolin defines resiliency as the capacity to rise above adversity -- sometimes the terrible adversity of outright violence,
molestation or war -- and forge lasting strengths in the struggle. It is the means by which children of troubled families
are not immobilized by hardship but rebound from it, learn to protect themselves and emerge as strong adults, able to lead
Resilient people don't walk between the raindrops; they have scars to show for their experience. They struggle -- but
keep functioning anyway. Resilience is not the ability to escape unharmed. It is not about magic.
Most people mistakenly operate on what Wolin calls "the damage model," a false belief about the way disease is transmitted.
It basically says that if your family is having trouble, the chances are high that you will suffer lasting emotional disturbances.
It's a prophecy of doom.
Wolin offers survivors of troubled families a more balanced perspective about their past, based on 20 years of his own
research on adult children of alcoholics. Most of them, he has found, do not repeat their parents' drinking patterns. The
same is true of adults who have survived families troubled by mental illness, chronic marital disputes, racial discrimination
The ground-breaking resilience research of sociologist Emmy Werner, Ph.D., of the University of California, showed that
even at the time about a third of kids never seemed to be affected by the grinding poverty, alcoholism and abuse in the homes
they grew up in. Of the remaining two-thirds, many were troubled as teens, typically turning to petty crime. But by the time
they reached their 30s and 40s, they had pulled themselves together, determined to not repeat their parents' lives.
A troubled family can indeed inflict considerable harm on its children, but resilient people are challenged by such troubles
to experiment and respond actively and creatively. Their pre-emptive responses to adversity, repeated over time, become incorporated
into their inner selves as lasting strengths.
To the degree that it is learned, resilience seems to develop out of the challenge to maintain self-esteem. Troubled
families make their children feel powerless and bad about themselves. Resilience is the capacity for a person to maintain
self-esteem despite the powerful influence of the parents.
It is also possible to be hurt and to rebound at the same time. We human beings are complex enough psychologically to
accommodate the two. What the resilient do is refrain from blaming themselves for what has gone wrong. In the language of
psychology, they externalize blame. And they internalize success; they take responsibility for what goes right in their lives.
One way they do this, Wolin has found, is to maintain independence. Survivors draw boundaries between themselves and
troubled parents; they keep their emotional distance while satisfying the demands of conscience. Resilient children often
hang out with families of untroubled peers. As adults, the resilient children of alcoholics marry into stable, loving families
with whom they spend a great deal of time.
Survivors cultivate insight, the mental habit of asking themselves penetrating questions and giving honest answers. They
also take the initiative. They take charge of problems, stretching and testing themselves.
But they don't do all the work alone. One of the cardinal findings of resilience research is that those who lacked strong
family support systems growing up sought and received help from others--a teacher, a neighbor, the parents of peers or, eventually,
a spouse. They were not afraid to talk about the hard times they were having to someone who cared for their well-being.
Relationships foster resilience, Wolin contends. Resilient people do the active give-and-take work necessary to derive
emotional gratification from others.
Reframing is at the heart of resilience. It is a way of shifting focus from the cup half empty to the cup half full.
Wolin accords it a central role in "survivor's pride." He tells the story of a patient, a woman who felt helpless. She had
been whipped by her father throughout childhood any time he felt challenged. Wolin instead encouraged her to see herself as
smart, an accomplished strategist. She had eventually learned to recognize her father's moods and respond to them.
There are lessons in her tale for everyone, Wolin insists. You re-examine your life story to see how heroic your acts
were as a child. You go back to an incident, find the strengths, and build self-esteem from the achievement.
Psychologist Edith Grotberg, Ph.D., believes that everyone needs reminders of the strengths they have. She urges people
to cultivate resilience by thinking along three lines:
* I HAVE: strong relationships, structure, rules at home, role models; these are external supports that are provided;
* I AM: a person who has hope and faith, cares about others, is proud of myself; these are inner strengths that can be
* I CAN: communicate, solve problems, gauge the temperament of others, seek good relationships--all interpersonal and
problem-solving skills that are acquired.
By: Hara Estroff Marano
Provided byPsychology Today
When I started medical practice as a young cardiologist more than 30 years ago, the term "mind-body medicine" was unknown.
In the late 1960s, my work linking stress to physical health flew in the face of existing medical thought. It is, therefore,
quite gratifying today to be advancing this now scientifically validated field at a time of unprecedented interest in the
unity of mind, body and spirit.
My own work in establishing the mind-body connection started when I noticed that my patients had elevated blood pressure
during regular checkups. To test my hypothesis that stress was the cause, I returned to my alma mater, Harvard Medical School,
to try to establish a model for stress-induced hypertension. We trained squirrel monkeys to either raise or lower blood pressure
using operant conditioning technology. We found that the monkeys that were "rewarded" for higher blood pressure went on to
develop hypertension, due to their own behaviors.
While this study was under way, I was approached by young practitioners of transcendental meditation who asked me to
monitor their blood pressure. They believed they had lower blood pressures as a result of their meditation practice. This
type of study was unheard of, but I did consent, after much deliberation. Robert Keiter Wallace and I measured blood pressure,
heart rate, brain waves, metabolism and rate of breathing--both when the subjects sat quietly for 20 minutes and when they
meditated for 20 minutes. What we found was astounding.
Through the simple act of changing their thought patterns, the subjects experienced decreases in their metabolism, breathing
rate and brain wave frequency. These changes appeared to be the opposite of the commonly known "flight-or-fight" response,
and I called it the "relaxation response."
The relaxation response can be elicited by a number of meditative techniques, such as diaphragmatic breathing, repetitive
prayer, qi gong, yoga, progressive muscle relaxation, jogging--even knitting. There are two basic and necessary steps which
I found to be present in practices in almost every culture: the repetition of a sound, word, phrase or prayer; and the passive
setting aside of intruding thoughts and returning to the repetition. From the earliest studies to the present, our work shows
that by using your mind in a certain way--to elicit the relaxation response--measurable, predictable and reproducible physiological
changes occur that can be useful in countering the unhealthy flight-or-fight response.
Psychosocial Responses in Serbia
Social upheavals also represent a catastrophic event, but, if we can ensure that every individual and every nation is
welcome and respected by the human community, that life is placed highest on the scale of human values and if we optimize
the period of incubation and transition to a new society, avoiding the frustration of basic needs, aggression and exploitation,
rather, empowering the people with knowledge, and confidence in themselves and in their fellow human beings, the result could
be a more stable and non-violent world.
What happened in the former Yugoslavia can certainly be considered as a catastrophic
event, but, if we can see it also as a lesson and as an opportunity, we could actually use this unhappy experience as a stimulus
in our efforts to build a better world, based on dialogue, cooperation, mutual respect and care.
IOM Project:Psychosocial answer on Trauma(PTSD) in Serbia
Noah Wyle and Real-Life Trauma
Provided byPsychology Today
Popularly known for his role as a doctor on television's top-rated drama, "ER," Noah Wyle has put his bedside manner
to the test by helping real trauma victims.
Noah Wyle is not a doctor. Nor is he a psychologist. And he's not suffering from a mental illness. But he has seen, firsthand,
the face of one poignant and prevalent disorder, and it was enough to spur him into action.
"There isn't a face--it's every face," Wyle responds when I ask him to describe the face of post-traumatic stress disorder,
or PTSD, a debilitating condition that some people develop after experiencing or witnessing an extremely traumatic event.
The 30-year-old actor and star of NBC's "ER" had flown to New York City the day before to speak out about recognizing and
treating the disorder. And these days, everyone is listening.
When terrorists attacked the country on September 11, naturally our first concern was rescuing victims, particularly
those who might be alive amid the World Trade Center rubble. Soon, however, it became apparent that not only had few survived
the collapse but that there was another population of survivors to worry about: those left to grapple with memories of the
tragedy. Mental health practitioners rushed to Ground Zero to aid those on the front lines--firefighters, police officers,
even journalists covering the story--and soon many were predicting an epidemic of PTSD.
The disorder is by no means a new one. It was first described during the Civil War as "irritable heart" by an army surgeon
treating soldiers displaying symptoms including chest pains, disturbed sleep, depression and irritability. Many refer to it
as "combat fatigue" or "shell shock," and it's often associated with war veterans.
But PTSD isn't always a result of an act of war or terrorism. In fact, some of the most common traumas that lead to the
disorder include being raped, being sexually or physically assaulted and experiencing the sudden, unexpected death of a loved
one. About 20 percent of people who experience an extreme trauma will develop the disorder, according to one study published
in the Journal of Consulting Clinical Psychology, and women seem twice as susceptible to PTSD, most likely because they are
more often victims of rape, sexual assault and child abuse.
Women also make up the majority of PTSD sufferers with whom Wyle has come into contact. In 1999, Wyle spent three weeks
in a Macedonian refugee camp during the war in Kosovo with Doctors of the World, a nonprofit organization that provides medical
care to the needy and had approached him about doing charity work.
"I was supposed to be there in an observing capacity so that I could speak intelligently about their work," Wyle admits.
"But a bus would pull up with 600 people in it and women were handing their kids to me, people were running for ambulances
and medical supplies, and I'm there just to watch? I don't think so." Of the camp's 10,000 refugees, most were women and many
of them had witnessed the murder of their husbands or confided they had been sexually assaulted.
"There was a certain hollowness in their eyes, a certain manic behavior," Wyle says. "I would see women scrubbing the
wash, the same patch of a piece of clothing, for two or three hours. They were trying to get back into some routine of normal
life, but in the refugee camp nothing was familiar." This kind of behavior is typical of a PTSD sufferer and falls into one
of three sets of diagnostic symptoms associated with the disorder: avoiding reminders of the traumatic event.
"PTSD is stimulus-driven," explains Matthew Friedman, M.D., Ph.D., the executive director of the Department of Veterans'
Affairs National Center for PTSD and a psychiatry and pharmacology professor at Dartmouth Medical School. "Stimuli that resemble
the trauma are going to bring that trauma back to the victims. So part of PTSD involves numbing, emotional shutdown and avoidance."
The second set of symptoms focuses on sufferers' tendency to continually relive the event, both while sleeping in the form
of nightmares and while awake, when flashbacks occur. These images cause extreme emotional or physical reactions, including
shaking, chills, heart palpitations and panic. The final set concentrates on hyper-arousal, as victims are prone to irritability,
sudden anger, startling easily or being unable to concentrate.
How an individual responds to a traumatic event depends, in part, on what he or she brings to the table, Friedman points
out. For instance, people who have experienced a prior trauma, have a family history of psychiatric problems or grew up in
a disruptive household or with abusive parents are at greater risk for developing symptoms. Amount of social support and degree
of resiliency--which has both a genetic and experiential component--also play important roles.
"Most of us were impacted by September 11," says Ray Monsour Scurfield, D.S.W., L.C.S.W., an assistant professor of social
work at the University of Southern Mississippi. "But after a few months, it started taking somewhat of a backseat for some
people and less of a backseat for others. The key is questioning whether a person feels their memories are beyond their control.
If they're wallowing in isolation and denial and painful memories--if they're a prisoner to them--it's time to seek help."
This psychological imprisonment is something Wyle likens to piecing together jigsaw puzzles. "If you do the same puzzle
every day, you get the same picture every day because you've got the same pieces," he says. "But if you wake up one morning
and something traumatic happens, when you put your pieces together, nothing fits right. And when you do get them to fit it
makes a different picture, one somewhat grotesque. Ultimately, you just want your picture to look like it always did, but
it's never going to look that way again."
After witnessing the refugees' anguish, Wyle knew he wanted to do more to help victims of trauma and violence. So when
he returned to the U.S. he began working with Human Rights Watch, a human rights advocacy group. Then Dr. Carter, the character
he plays on "ER," was stabbed on the show, and Wyle found himself portraying many of the symptoms he'd witnessed in Macedonia.
That's when Moving Past Trauma (MPT), a community outreach program that works to increase awareness about and treatment of
PTSD, asked him to be one of their spokesmen. He agreed and soon began working with Kellie Greene, another program spokeswoman.
What's noteworthy about Greene is that she's also a PTSD survivor, though by looking at her today one would never guess
that there was a time when she was afraid to step foot outside of her apartment. The energetic, outgoing, 36-year-old is constantly
smiling and seems ready and able to take on the world. But on January 18, 1994, Greene was attacked and brutally raped by
a stranger who had followed her home. She was traumatized and subsequently unable to concentrate or make simple decisions.
She also began isolating herself from her family and friends and was plagued by nightmares and flashbacks of her rape.
"Flashbacks are powerful and very frightening," Greene tells me the same morning I meet Wyle. The two were scheduled
to speak throughout the day at several venues including "The Today Show" and the YWCA, which helped launch MPT's program.
"You go back to the moment the trauma was happening and re-experience it; your body has all of the senses of it reoccurring."
Her symptoms were unrelenting for about six months, until one night she found herself sobbing uncontrollably in the shower
and contemplating suicide. Greene called her mother for help, who made an appointment for her with a psychiatrist the next
"I told him everything I was going through, and then he opened a book and read all of my symptoms back to me," Greene
says. "He said, 'It's post-traumatic stress disorder,' and just having him validate it calmed me down." She was prescribed
Zoloft, an antidepressant and selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor (SSRI), to help assuage her symptoms. Zoloft and Paxil,
also an antidepressant and SSRI, are currently the only two drugs approved by the FDA for treating PTSD. Greene's psychiatrist
then worked with her for six months using cognitive restructuring--a form of cognitive behavioral therapy--along with teaching
her breathing exercises that helped alleviate her panic attacks.
"The classic principle that applies to almost every PTSD therapy is therapeutic re-experiencing of an aspect of the original
trauma," explains Scurfield. "The person has to learn to master the memory and be able to revisit the trauma in a way that's
not overwhelming." Fortunately, the rate of recovery from PTSD is high--particularly if recognized early on--and there are
numerous types of therapy for treating it. But because this field of research is relatively new, there is little empirical
evidence confirming what works best and for whom.
"The evidence suggests that cognitive behavioral treatments are most effective for PTSD," Friedman says. "But a large
number of people in treatment receive two types of treatment, maybe even more." The most typical combination is some form
of psychotherapy plus pharmacotherapy, one that seems to have done the trick for Greene.
"I feel really good today," Greene now says. Fully recovered, she devotes her time to promoting awareness of PTSD. She
began speaking publicly about her own experiences seven years ago when she joined the speakers' bureau of the Rape, Abuse
& Incest National Network. She also formed her own organization, Speaking Out About Rape, where she works daily with other
"It was difficult at first to talk in front of a large group because the wounds were so fresh," Greene confesses. "But
by sharing my experience, it was no longer a random act of violence; it had a purpose." That purpose has taken on added meaning
since the events of September 11, which Greene watched unfold on television.
"I could really identify with what firefighters were feeling," she says. "I knew the dark place that these people were
going to go in the months that followed. It's hell." Wyle, too, had a strong personal response to the attack. He observed
the aftermath while in Los Angeles after his mother called and told him to turn on his television.
"I was shocked when I saw one shot of a thousand people walking across the Brooklyn Bridge; it looked just like a thousand
refugees going across the border from Kosovo to Macedonia," Wyle says. "I was pretty dedicated [to MPT] before the attack,
but if anything, I feel validated in that what we were talking about before was timely and important."
Fortunately, research suggests that most people will not develop PTSD in response to September 11. Studies show that
the severity and duration of an individual's exposure to a traumatic event strongly influence the likelihood of developing
PTSD. Consequently, people closest to it--those in the World Trade Center when the planes hit, for instance, or those who
witnessed people jumping from windows--are more susceptible than are the majority of Americans who watched the tragedy on
For those who develop PTSD, symptoms most likely appear within a few days of the traumatic event. Friedman emphasizes,
however, that symptoms can take months and sometimes years to surface. Even so, experts now assert that the original prediction
of a PTSD epidemic after September 11 was premature and that most of us should expect normal and full recovery to take place.
They also stress that experiencing symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression is a fairly predictable, well-understood response
to a catastrophic event. But that doesn't imply we should ignore symptoms if they arise and linger.
"New York City has been inspirational in so many ways to people in the rest of the country," Wyle says. "But if I was
going to speak to anybody here about PTSD, I'd say, 'Really check in with yourself.' If you're having trouble sleeping, if
images are invading your life, if you find yourself becoming desensitized, then definitely seek out medical help. The city
seems to be coping very well, but that doesn't mean we should forget that there are a lot of people suffering that need not
A healing tool
Over the past 20 years, my colleagues and I have treated many thousands of people for medical problems poorly addressed
by the two modes of conventional medical practice: pharmaceuticals and surgery. I view medicine as a three-legged stool, with
mind-body medicine, the third leg, essential in holding up medication and surgery, the other two. Since roughly 60% to 90%
of doctor visits are for conditions related to stress, it is vital not to neglect a mind-body approach.
The Mind/Body Medical Institute's (MBMI) clinical programs treat patients with a combination of relaxation response techniques,
proper nutrition and exercise and reframing of negative thinking patterns, in conjunction with the beliefs of patients. Clinical
studies over the years have shown the effectiveness of interventions on a wide range of medical problems caused or made worse
by stress, such as hypertension, cardiac arrhythmias, pain, insomnia, allergies, repetitive stress injury and infertility,
among many others. Practicing the relaxation response daily can boost the immune system and make one more resistant to the
harmful effects of constant stress.
Through the deeply meditative practice of Tum-mo yoga, Tibetan monks are able to dry wet sheets placed on their bodies
in near-freezing temperatures by raising their skin temperatures 17 degrees. How the human body can perform this remarkable
feat is still unknown, yet it serves as a striking demonstration of the awesome mind-body powers we all possess.
Herbert Benson, M.D., is the Mind/Body Medical Institute Associate
Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Chief of the Division of Behavioral Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical
Center, and the founding president of The Mind/Body Medical Institute.
By: Herbert Benson