Warriors / EMT's/ Police/Firefighter
November 16, 2016
The wounds of war don't always look like a scar on flesh, there are the invisible wounds that go unseen, however, they do not go unfelt. The warriors that return home don't all have Post Traumatic Stress, however the ones that do suffer and greatly. Not only do they suffer, their loved ones suffer as well. The symptoms of the invisible scars can range from hyper-vigilance about almost everything, to feelings of impending doom or always feel that the world is an unsafe place and staying isolated is the only option. Many Veterans fall into maladaptive patterns of coping with these symptoms that seem to hijack them almost every day. Some use the medications they are prescribed to them from the VA, others use alcohol or even drugs of abuse they find on the street.
For Officers, Firefighters and First Responders, maintaining optimum mental wellness is a critical part of remaining active and effective on the job as well as at home. Constant exposure to trauma, life-threatening situations, and the physical strain of working long hours on little to no sleep can negatively impact overall mental health, increasing the vulnerability and risk of substance abuse and addiction among firefighters and first responders.
ART and first responders go together like peas & carrots! The body response to traumatic scenes is an issue of the past when ART is applied after a "tough shift." Ideally, a station or department would have a trained ART Therapist on staff to process through events as they happen and the cost of trauma never compounds. Beyond the benefits of eliminating negative images, according to Kip, (2014) ART "may have benefits as a therapy to increase performance", which would be of exponential benefit to first-responders.
Being a first responder and experiencing regular exposure to trauma living in a small community means holding on to the information. Talk therapy and the first responders never worked. Even if the first responder was willing to say the traumatic event, there is the issue of dumping the event in the lap of another person with the possibility of a breach in privacy. ART therapy means not having to say anything about the event in order to realize relief. The first stage of ART means desensitizing the emotion (permanently), the second pass through the imagined scene is the realization that the emotion has been peeled away and the third time through is the installation of the new way to see the image. The science behind the process can be observed in the NOVA production Memory Hackers seen here. If you or someone you know is a first responder, do them or yourself a favor and contact an ART therapist today to heal and free them or yourself, from the images that hijack the brain and emotions. Your family will thank you!
"The images are tied to the sensations and emotions; the sensations and emotions, cause the symptoms. If we can change the images, we eliminate the symptoms; its just that simple."
- Laney Rosenzwieg, Founder of Accelerated Resolution
Today science has an alternative to Prolonged Exposure (PE) and Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) that are less than effective with rates of remaining symptomatology as high as 60 - 72% (Steenkamp et al., 2015). ART has the highest rates of all modalities to date in eliminating symptoms.