March 2, 2009

Combating a Simple Cure for PTSD

The other day I was tooling around the Internet and came across another website proclaiming to have found the"cure" for PTSD. That in three or four treatments they will be symptom free, ooo ooo ooo, and many in less! I just had to post a comment for people who would buy into this crap, to give some perspective on the misguided who may want to purchase this hopeless endeavor.

Below is the comment as I lay out a foundation and briefly discus the why and how's of chronic traumaitzation as it relates and conflicts with a possible "simple solution",
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) centers on skill building and the restructuring of the cognitive scaffolding that has been damaged by constant neurophysiological interactions mediated by the nervous system; the sympathetic, parasympathetic systems and regulated by the endocrine system (Clinician’s Guide to PTSD: A Cognitive-Behavioral Approach by Taylor, 2006).
In cases with extensive traumatization such as chronic childhood abuse of an interpersonal nature, results in complex trauma based disorders. The cognitive structure of the brain has not fully developed as it has been arrested by the violation of relational attachments vital to interpersonal relationships. Further, the forming of the personality stems from the interactions with others as we engage with others to find our identifications and identity (The Dissociative Mind by Howell, 2005, and The Haunted Self by Van der Hart, Nijenhuis and Steele, 2006).

I have done expensive research into the causes and treatments of trauma based disorders and have found that, no one treatment can cure chronic or complex traumatization. Simple trauma based disorders may be treated on a short term basis, and this “treatment” that you claim to have perfected and can “cure” PTSD, without an evidence-based credibility does nothing to add to cutting edge treatment modalities.

As noted in Van der Hart et al. (2006) the Theory of Structural Dissociation of the Personality (Lee, 2009) and the Phase-Oriented Treatment modality covers most of the symptomology and co-morbidity.

It will take years to integrate multiple traumatizations where the personality has been impeded developmentally and dissociatively compartmentalized.

Again I state that, no one treatment, can cure a chronically traumatized person of their maladies.


  1. Ha! I've seen these sites, too, and thought it was ridiculous to claim that without anything else a few taps will change your life in 15 minutes.

    The truth is, it can take a cocktail of therapies, plus tough internal work to find relief and/or release. I do believe it's possible, but not in 3 or 4 sessions where there's been no deep digging, no recognition of the problem or the self, no integration of the memories, or even some basic trust built up with the practitioner.

    The thing I hate most about these sites is they promote the idea that trauma is simple to get over. As you and I know, it is not.

  2. Michele, you are so right on about the cocktail of therapies. The thing is that many practitioners themselves stop at coping strategies and basic psychotherapies.

    Chronically traumatized persons will respond to these therapies and receive much needed relief from major--presenting--symptomology. By not addressing the underlying dissociated parts of the personality that drove the presenting symptoms, the survivor will be left with forever coping with and managing the structural dissociation.

    Without appropriate interventions and therapies to address the structural dissociation, such as the Phase-Oriented approach, this can lead to periodic relapses into crisis and revictimization.

  3. It's messed-up that people will try to scam emotionally traumatized people for a little cash. Isn't there anyone with dignity out-there anymore? Are there any people who truly care about a person's feelings more than "getting rich fast"? Ugghhh, people make me sick.

  4. How do we heal? Where do we begin? Who can we trust? Who will we let love us? How can we look at multiple issues at the same time that have caused major trauma in our lives? Sometimes issues come from other origins like being an Adult Child of Alcoholics (ACOA. When do we allow ourselves to move through the grief process of denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Sometimes we are so focused on the trauma we forget to focus on healing.

    All my love,

  5. Is CBT the same as Cognitive Processing Therapy?


  6. Caty, sorry I dropped the ball on this one.

    Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is about changing behaviors, CPT is about processing memories and emotions. CBT is needed in the beginning as a foundation before CPT can be applied.


Please share your comments, stories and information. Thank you. ~ Scott Lee