War Combat Trauma Seems to Last Forever – But EMDR Therapy Gives Hope

By Michelle Gottlieb, PsyD, LMFT, Fullerton, CA (link to profile)


In 2001, I was listening to Senator Bob Kerrey and other Viet Nam vets talk about war combat trauma and how it has impacted their entire lives.  I get very upset when I listen to the vets talk.  I get upset, not because of their actions.  War is traumatic, and unless you have been in their situation you do not know what you would do in the same circumstances.  No, I get upset because these people are still suffering flashbacks and disruptions in their daily life due to the trauma that they were involved in almost 40 years ago.


There is now a very effective treatment option available for victims of trauma, whether it’s war combat trauma, rape, earthquake, a crime, childhood abuse or any other thing that humans or nature can throw at us.  It is called EMDR Therapy or Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing.  EMDR has been researched for the last twenty years and it has been found to be very effective for the treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD.  One of the studies that touched me the most was one that they did with Viet Nam vets. After 12 sessions, all of the flashbacks and nightmares and all of those issues that stopped them from living were all gone.  The researchers then did a 15-month follow-up and all of those symptoms were still gone.


EMDR Therapy is a very powerful and can be a very rapid therapy.  It is not a cure-all.  Nor is it appropriate for everyone.  It is extremely important that if you should choose to seek out this treatment that you find a therapist that has been EMDRIA-certified in this therapy.  A therapist cannot learn it just from reading a book.


So, please be aware, if you or anyone you know is still suffering from an old trauma, there is help.  Please reach out and take care of yourself.  You have a choice on how you are living your life.


All of the therapists on this web site are either certified EMDR therapists or in the process of certification.

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