Today we know that PTSD is a complex and difficult aftereffect of trauma, which requires intensive and precise treatment. In this state the trauma is ‘frozen’ in the body and is expressed by pain and additional symptoms of stress which affect more and more areas of the person's daily life: difficulties in relationships, falling or staying a sleep, concentrating, a decrease or increase in appetite, rage, difficulty spending time in busy and crowded environments and more.
The body-mind will keep reliving the battlefield, returning to the terror attack or the place where he or others were wounded or killed. He will keep remembering the explosions, pictures and noises. These will cause over-vigilance, constantly preparing for the next threat. This tension will lead to a tendency to escape or close windows and doors and stay at home, yet the stress only increases.
These veterans are our sons, our husbands, our brothers and our grandchildren. At ITI we consider it our mission to help those who froze in the wake of this monster that is called war.
Somatic Experiencing® and (EmotionAid™) provide knowledge of what takes place in the brain and in the autonomic nervous system following trauma. These methods teach us how to minimize the feeling of being overwhelmed, complete the gestures of flight or fight and release the trauma from the body in a regulated manner.
Using SE®, veterans can work with the symptoms presented by their body and mind, as a reaction to the trauma, one step at a time. We work on strengthening the veterans’ resiliency before approaching and dealing with the exact moment when everything froze: the traumatic event that happened too quickly and powerfully without enough space and time to react.
SE®’s refined methods avoid re-traumatization by returning to the traumatic event’s pictures, sounds and scents, using a regulated approach. We release the trauma in a controlled manner, thereby strengthening the veteran’s ability to cope in a resilient way.
The Ministry of Defense’s professional team, at the Sheba Medical Center’s psychiatric department, includes psychologists, social workers, psychotherapists and art therapists who have undergone the Emotional First Aid course. They have learned how to decrease devastation, stress and tension which is essential in handling PTSD.
At ITI – International Trauma Healing Institute, we believe that trauma can be healed. During the process new strength and resiliency can emerge that otherwise might never have been experienced.
ITI's EmotionAid™ for Veterans program benefits various members of society:
The Project: The Back to Life Program
Cut off from a functional life, traumatized veterans end up dependent on society. The Back to Life program provides an end-to-end solution targeted at bringing back our soldiers to being functional individuals and contributing members of society. The focus of the project is to help participants regain their self-image and sense of belonging, while returning them to an active life. Current and veteran soldiers, who have suffered from trauma, have multiple medical, social and personal needs that are not being met, and therefore slowly destroying their lives and burdening our society.
- Soldiers' trauma often goes undiagnosed, only to emerge at a later time
- The system believes that trauma cannot be cured
- It can take time – even years – before diagnosis and approval for treatment
- Current treatment frequency is insufficient or unavailable
- The modalities used are not state-of-the-art
Stage 1: Treatment and Training
- 60 patients receive SE treatment
- 25 PTSD therapists are trained to use the SE technique
Stage 2: Community Integration
- Soldiers receive complementary activities for trauma and trauma-related conditions (Hypnotherapy, Physiotherapy, Osteopathy, Yoga, Martial Arts), according to each individual's needs
- 24/7 Helpline available
- Back to Life Program collaborates with industry sectors, partnering with Israeli companies and their employees, to get support from fellow IDF veterans and their employers.
State 3: Ongoing Program Research
- Continuous clinical supervision of therapists
In a multi-year, scientific research study, SE was proven to have significantly reduced PTSD symptoms. Data analysis of the First Randomized Controlled Outcome Study on the use of Somatic Experiencing for PTSD, undertaken by the International Trauma-Healing Institute, shows that SE brings significant changes in symptoms of PTSD and depression, even after only 15 sessions.