For years the Department of Defense and the Veterans’s Administration have both approved EMDR Therapy for the treatment of military PTSD and PTSD of Vets. The strange thing is, they do not make it available at all treatment centers, as would make sense.
This is what we have been dreaming of, advocating for, discussing with leaders at the DoD and the VA for years. It hasn’t happened yet because of a thing I call “therapy politics.” Unfortunately our field is not all based on research, but on who you know and who gets to be the therapy “darling” first. This of course is not right and has needed correction for a long time.
Research has demonstrated that veterans prefer EMDR Therapy because:
1. They don’t have to talk about the trauma (how appealing is that! since they haven’t talked about it for years)
2. There is minimal homework.
3. It results in more Post-traumatic Growth (better self-esteem, better sense of the meaning of life, improved relationships, etc.) than any other method.
4. Thus, the dropout rate for EMDR therapy is 0 (in one study), it’s higher for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and it’s highest for Prolonged Exposure Therapy (which requires repeating the details of the trauma over and over again in the session and in one hour of homework a day until the story doesn’t bother you anymore. It does work, but it’s grueling.)
Please spread the word to all you can. Eventually EMDR Therapy should be available to all who serve or have served our military, now or in the past. Let us take heart from the success story of Tricare. For years Tricare was the only insurance that did not cover EMDR Therapy. In 2007, they decided to cover it retroactively. That took courage, to acknowledge an error.
Our soldiers risk death and they also risk Military PTSD in order to serve the cause of freedom. If they get PTSD, it shouldn’t become an ongoing sacrifice they must make every day for the rest of their lives.
To learn about the varying PTSD rates from different conflicts, please link to this article from the VA’s PTSD page and scroll down:
However, the data given in the article above have been reassessed with surprising results. The conclusion? But a 2003 re-analysis found that “contrary to the initial analysis of the NVVRS data, a large majority of Vietnam Veterans struggled with chronic PTSD symptoms, with four out of five reporting recent symptoms when interviewed 20-25 years after Vietnam.” (see also NVVR review) To read the full source of this quote, please link:
Please share this with anyone who cares about our military and veterans. Advocate with your Congressperson, your Senators, and organizations for soldiers and vets. Eventually this wrong will be righted.
Together we can serve the real and ongoing needs of our soldiers!
Dana Terrell, LCSW
P.S. Another great way to help is to LIKE our Facebook page. The interesting updates on EMDR posted there may help one of your friends, when you comment
on it. Link, and LIKE: