Amid pushback over failed suicide prevention efforts, VA is moving forward in shutting down its long-term PTSD therapy groups in favor of 12-week talk therapy.

The agency says specialized 12-week talk therapy is an effective PTSD treatment that is evidence-based. These shortened therapy approaches will now replace the open-ended PTSD therapy treatment enjoyed by many veterans.

VA is now turning toward short-term PTSD therapy modalities that include cognitive processing, prolonged exposure, and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing. However, it has made the change without studying the effectiveness of the respective group therapy groups, contrary to its pledge to follow patient-centered therapy.

Carlo Castro, director of USC’s Center for Innovation and Research on Veterans & Military Families, said the unilateral decision. “The VA has gobs of money to do research,” Castro said. “It was a unilateral decision and goes against patient-centered therapy.”

The change is impacting veterans in the West LA PTSD program.

Many of these veterans received care from the Greater Los Angeles VA Health Care System and are upset over the disintegration of their support system. The agency disbanded around 20 groups when the combat veterans refused to move into cramped quarters that do not allow privacy during the sessions.

Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie responded with claims the group therapy was simply being “rebranded” while also questioning the efficacy of group therapy.

“Despite the popularity and long history of support groups as routine care for veterans with PTSD and trauma exposure, there is no strong evidence that this modality is an effective treatment,” Wilkie said in a letter to Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance).

Meanwhile, veterans in the LA system will be forced to grapple with an upcoming exodus of up to 50 mental health workers.

In a letter, Lieu raised concern about evidence-based, short-term therapies not being appropriate for many veterans with a checkered record of success. Only 50-60% of veterans complete the evidence-based therapies.

One veteran, Peter Erdos, tried the medication and evidence-based therapies with limited success.

“Medication is something that the VA was OK with me being on for the rest of my life,” said Erdos, a member of the combat veterans group. “Coming back in my 20s and hearing that was just soul-crushing. What worked for me was camaraderie with the guys.”

So, at a time when VA is under intense scrutiny for failing to provide adequate PTSD therapy to veterans due to mental health worker shortages, the agency is moving to a fast food, McDonald-esq, one-size fits all, version of PTSD therapy. Veterans can choose from a variety of options so long as they recover within 12 weeks. Otherwise, the patient will need to start over with a new group.

I am sure some of these PTSD therapy modalities are effective for some veterans, but it is a violation of the agency’s promise to make patient-centered decisions when deciding on treatment modalities.

Do you have any experiences with group therapy versus 12-week talk therapy? Do you think it is a wise move to dismantle long-term group therapy?

Source: https://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ptsd-group-shutdown-20181229-story.html

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37 COMMENTS

  1. Yeah, and I’m betting that in this 12 week “talk therapy”, if a Veteran “talks” in form of complaint, suggesting this is causing more harm than good, or refuses to “play”…the same results of VA fuckery will take place and Veterans continue to take their own lives.
    WHY?
    The VA is still involved in the process…nothing but a PR stent to cover their huge asses.

    RAND Reports: The VA is a known agitator and contributor to Veteran Suicide…this just will increase their performance bonus stats once the new suicide stats come pouring-in and it will be all the talk around the donut brigade.

  2. I stopped seeing my therapist about 3 months ago after seeing her for 2 years when she suggested I join her touchy feely gut spilling group. WAY out of my comfort zone. I’ve gone as far as I can with her and I’m able to cope with my PTSD on my own now with help from my wife. Going to a group would just aggravate my problem.

  3. EMDR – is placebo, and there is a role for placebo treatment in psychiatry but its somewhere near the bottom of the resources, not the top. The results are minor and the studies are extremely small and limited to psychotic and schizophrenic patients, something that I’m gonna bet that most veteran’s don’t have. This just makes me mad that the VA is going to go with woo instead of science based medicine. Patients need high quality evaluation by a psychiatrist, not a social worker, medication support as an adjunct to real therapeutic treatment until results are achieved. I would be more impressed with a VA funded randomized clinical trial of ketamine which has already proven to be more impressive than this EMDR woo that has yet to provide significant or consistent results in PTSD patients that are not otherwise mentally ill. Making it a first line treatment is weak sauce.

    • I so agree Gwen!
      I am a clinical social worker- combat vet who agrees that this short term so called evidence based therapy is b.s. it’s what civilians have been getting for years from private insurance companies.
      It’s cheaper.
      It’s part of the privatization movement.
      It’s what repubs have wanted for years.
      Even the vet centers have effectively been privatized.

      • Jan,
        Wow what world do you live in? The VA “repub” is a joke and any vet knows it is a democratic run mafia driven by unions! The problem in NOT caused by republicans but is due to the hit and miss therapeutic strategies of their mental health gurus. You might be a clinical social worker but I am a 100%vet with PTSD who also is licensed and have a PhD in Psychology and Counseling. The problem is endemic with many “provider” seeing vets as threats and wanting to push them through a system to be able to say they “tried”!

  4. Typical VA stupidity. Take away what is working. Not everyone wants to do CBTI therapy. Alot of us like our groups. We had such a lovely women’s group. When VA shut it down our therapist opened her personal home for us. Sadly she had passed away. What our VA offered in replacement was so far below substandard it was a total joke. Changed the whole format. No one hardly goes. They want us to be a mixed group. NOPE. If we had wanted that we would’ve joined up in the beginning. So now we have zip! Thanks alot VA. Always looking out for number one. Your own damn self NEVER the Vet.

  5. Long term group therapy provides me the opportunity for input. I was 24-26 for my 2 years in Vietnam in 1965-67. The men I served with were up to 8 years younger. Most PTSD groups of Vietnam veterans I attended had considerably less life experience when they faced their PTSD events. There were few if any medics besides myself. Many were totally unaware that they were handicapped in therapy by “organic events” such as mild to severe TBI and Cerebral Malaria. (p. falciparum malaria–the ice shower one)

    Many of those of us with organic problems need life time individual therapy but are being kicked out of therapy in favor of the 12 week one size fits all therapy. Anosognosia causes conditioned responses which are frequently added PTSD events themselves. I can intellectually understand what is happening but I cannot stop it form happening any more than I can stop one of my absence seizures. Knowing they happen doesn’t stop them or provide control. Medication provides significant control of the seizures but not complete control. Most of you would see me as “drifty” frequently off point in conversation although I can write reasonable short conversations on this board.

    Watch for an uptick in suicides, especially on VA campuses.

    • Then there will be proof the 12 week program isn’t evidence based. The 12 week Cognitive Process Therapy program group I attended started with 12 members. The second meeting had 6 including 3 new members. By the 3rd meeting, 2 new members had been added but the group was down to 3 after I and one other member were kicked out. The 50-60% success rate is grossly overstated according to the expectation stated by the therapists. When more than half dropped out after the first meeting they said it was expected.

      It is not a “cure program.” It is kill or cure.

  6. One thing I’d like to know is, where did VA get that “…gobs of money to do the research.” When they complain so much about NOT having any?!?!?
    Y’all noticed that this is being done out in West Los Angeles. Where that 338+ acres, which was “willed to all homeless veterans”! And brought forth by USC, which – if y’all remember – is where the attacks on our Constitution occurred. Because they seem to be teaching radical Marxist viewpoints!
    That being said, what makes anyone believe VHA (anywhere) is out to help veterans. Or to help stop veterans suicide for that matter!

    Just thought I’d let you know!

    • NIH and the drug companies provide the money. Mostly the drug companies. The drug companies want you on drug therapy and that is the 12 week goal. A zombie on drugs isn’t as much of a danger to himself or others. Except long term, like addicts, the drugs take their toll and get you accidentally, purposefully or by organ deterioration.

  7. Is this 12 week program an outpatient program. I attended a 12 week inpatient program at the Topeka VA. I and others with me, found it as a great program. New Veterans came into the Groups. Besides Group therapy, Each had one on one therapy.

    Once a week every one on the PTSD unit was invited to a Families home, where the family and others would make us dinner and just sit around and talk or play games, Country setting. The Male was a Vietnam helicopter Pilot. No Judgment.

    Before going to the program, I attended an outpatient program, that was because I had a DUI, as many others. I did not find that everyone was into it. As you say some stopped going. I was court ordered.

    The Inpatient Program, where we attended class’s most of the day, Different People, speaking about different subjects on recovery was helpful. The Hardest part for me was I first was put into a hospital, where they began giving me Drugs. They had me so drugged up, I was bouncing off walls, could not stay awake. It was trial and error. After a lot of trial and error. Finely I obtained the proper medication and I able to Quit Drinking with the help of Naltrexone.

    I am now seeing the psy Dr. Every six months. The VA has inpatient or did have inpatient Alcohol and Drug program and then sent me to the PTSD program back to back. I found my fellow veterans once they been there a few days to become relaxed as they as I did, we are all in the same boat.

    I met a guy who, would put himself down, if something he did, did not work out. I played Wii game with him and every time he would miss something on the Game, he would put himself down. I told him, you need to quit putting yourself down. So each time you put your self down, you have to put a dollar in a jar, After he seen how much money he was putting into the Jar, he understood.

    I made a lot of buddies from all over the country. We had a first sergeant who was about 5′ 5″ and we got a new guy in who was about 6′ 1″, big dude, who was still in the Army and had struck and officer, who surprised him while he was putting gas in a vehicle and the office put his hand on his shoulder and surprised him and he clocked him. plus he was caught driving in the middle of the Road in his home town.

    The First sergeant, Little Guys during Group, knew this guy may fly of the handle and in front of him asked the Doctor, if he acts up, can we restrain him. That got a lot of laughs, as this guys was huge and the Guy begin laughing too. That little laughter put the big fellow at ease.

    If a veteran acted up over and over or disrupted the group. He was discharged. Over all 99% graduated from the program. One Big Problem I have noticed is we can go to treatment, but all of that can go out the window, by having (1) employee push their button to unravel what they have learned. We can not let any employee unravel what we have worked so hard for.

    I was told Jim, once you finish the program, you are going to look at people, Like they are all Crazy ! So true. I am a family man and I stay home and forget the world. If I do not care for my family who will. Those employee’s I just Snicker or laugh at (silently). Dumb ass !

    That makes my day.

  8. Although I was kicked out of therapy the 7th of December, I’m coping O K now. But then I’m not under any stress right now. That will change by the middle of January.

  9. Any contact I have with the VHA is aggravating. They want to dissuade you from applying for benefits by any means possible, even if you end up killing yourself, that’s more money they can put in their pockets… .

  10. I did the 12 week program of talking. I had night sweats, night terrors, paranoia, unperceived threats and panic attacks in Walmart. The program was harsh but in 12 weeks 80% of my symptoms were gone. The therapist will work with you to find out “”WHY”” you are acting the way you do. You have to want to get better for it to work and really open yourself. I have a friend who goes to a therapist every Wednesday for 13 years and he never got any better.

    • That’s why PTSD is not a cookie-cutter treatment because we are all very different and our experiences are as well.

  11. I am glad that some benefit from Group Therapy. I couldn’t do it. I have 40-45 stressor incidents that have screwed me up. I couldn’t stand to listen to 11-12 other men/women discussing how screwed up their lives are and some are far worse off than me. I can’t even handle my own PTSD. I did the prolong exposure program and it did squat for me because they ignore the other 40 something incidents. Now I am in the CPT Program and I am already fighting some of the crap they are forcing me to accept even though I do not have that particular emotion or problem just like Lem mentioned before. I truly believe they want us to die so some asshole can reap the benefits of the VA saving money. While I don’t agree with it, I understand why some Vets go off the deep end when they have nothing to lose.

  12. I don’t know what all VETERANS think about VAs treatment of PTSD. But i went through about 6 months of HELL and drugs. Didn’t any of it do anything for me. And as far as group session’s they can forget that. The last thing I want to do is set and listen to other people’s problem’s. I read Ben’s article’ avery day and usually don’t make a commit do to I don’t know any of you people who do commit. The VA i am talking about is in Salem Virginia.

  13. I have been a victim of pro-longed exposure. While it may work for some, it left me worse than before by having to relive pains of 30+ years ago. Group therapy has had a larger impact on my injuries than anything else. It has really helped with chasing the ghosts from the closet, or kickin the kids off the bus, as we say in group. The healing from group therapy was only possible from the love of my fellow brothers in group.
    It is a huge mistake to get rid of these programs. Just more proof that beuracracy is the driving force rather than healing. I just wished Wilkie could spend one day inside the head of a veteran with PTSD, I guarantee he would spend more resources to study and promote wellness, than. Figure ways to cut useful programs.
    We veterans need to impose an independent Veterans oversight committee run by veterans for veterans. No major changes or expenditures may take place without committee approval! Just a thought….

  14. The Federal Government through it’s agencies such as DEA, CDC, VA,… is ACTIVELY ENCOURAGING SUICIDES. That they are trying to “remove” those of us with disabilities or conditions requiring long term/permanent care from our misfortune of being a drain on “their” money is the only possible explanation for the Federal Government’s war against chronic pain and other disabled persons. One Republican State Senator (mid west state, you can look it up)has had the balls to come out and flat out say that we are a “drain” on “their” resources. There simply can be NO other conceivable purpose of their war against chronic pain patients under what are KNOWINGLY FALSE statistics that the CDC has since written a much ignored and non-official letter disavowing the numbers used to claim a MUCH larger problem with ILLEGAL USE of LEGAL NARCOTICS involving LEGAL pain control (Hint, HEROIN is NOT a legal drug. Counting HEROIN ODs among the alleged number of “ods” involving legally prescribed pain control, which is what the numbers the DEA/CDC released and that the CDC unofficially wants nothing to do with but have yet to formally revoke narcotic “guidelines” that have been given the force of law DESPITE DEA CLAIMS TO THE CONTRARY that have all but eliminated pain management for chronic pain patients. AND SEN THE SUICIDE RATE FOR CHRONIC PAIN VICTIMS UP TO AS HIGH AS 38% of ALL SUICIDES per the available statistics, especially the study done for and by the State of Montana.
    Our government wants out of it’s responsibilities, so they are just trying to force us to kill ourselves off. That way the Federal Government doesn’t need to explain what their OVENS WERE FOR… (Nazi Germany sent it’s disabled directly to their death since they couldn’t be worked to death)

  15. Sorry. I get foggy outside of the time between when the first dose of pain control comes into effect and before the second dose. Without the pain control that the DEA has CRIMINALIZED for all intents and purposes I do not get even that window to mentally function within

  16. Sounds like the VA has trolls here and messaging. I have never in my life read anything perfect with the VA. Wouldn’t you think If ground breaking it would be national news? I just read the program and it’s the same bullshit used with everything.

    Will meet with a mental health doctor once a week for one on one, talking progress and medication. Will try to identify others with similar issues and put in the same grouping. Which is bullshit because the VA will not leave many open seats. Heading group will meet with 2 therapists, probably in school? One will talk while the other watches body language, participation and reinforce what the other says.

    Nothing new, but common sense says if keep addressing the same problem you will benefit and group is to show not alone. The problem with the VA is they can’t schedule appointments close enough to address the same problems. By the time the next appointment, there’s new stressors keeping away from dealing with core problems. At the end of 12 weeks will write evaluations, who showed progress and who needs more help.

    The VA doesn’t believe PTSD is a life long problem, therefore will write in notes how progressed and if feel a need will set up more aggressive treatment. This is to cleanse the VA of compensation and progress lowers ratings. Don’t cooperate and miss appointments will adjust ratings because failed to adhere to treatment plan.

    They are using for different programs and calling different names. It is impossible to have a serious mental health problem and correct in 12 weeks. Some might show improvement becoming comfortable in group, but if lose that support, everything reverts back. They probably use this as a base and then move on to larger groups. They love programs like this because costs are minimal. If they used as a tool when ETS to help transitioning and help finding employment I think would work large scale.

    Problem is they do shit to be proactive and by the time you seek help it has snowballed into other major problems such as substance abuse. You can go to 50 12 week programs consecutively, if you don’t address substance abuse nothing will work. They are trying to reduce costs with veteran’s lives.

    Need inpatient treatment to address problems caused by not being treated, done correctly can work on the hammer in your head. They then can get a profile and put a treatment plan in place and then start treating on the outside with groups. This is an awful program, I hope works but scars in mental health are often deep. When neglected at the start, they become worse every day that goes by.

    I can’t stand the VA and should be illegal to come on sites as this and social media diagnosing problems with out seeing you. GL God Bless and hope the new year can find peace.

  17. I attended VAMC-Albuquerque: they want you on drugs, groups, and electroshock therapy. They have a nazi-styled Doctor there named Elizabeth Ross who can’t wait to fry your brain. If you complain about care they use Campus Police to ambush you . You think $ 250 in fines is enough to get you to stop attending. It was for me when the cops started lying through there teeth. This very act made me realize these fuckers want blood. Every visit before this , I was offered drugs, more drugs and more drugs. I became a freaking zombie for a while, one pupil the size of a nickle the other BB sized. They thought I was having a stroke – its a possibility. I refused a brain scan. At one point my left leg was dragging on the ground, they put me on chemo for weird tumors growing in my body after pulling a tumor out of my right foot. It turns out i didn’t have cancer after all- I was able to cure it with acyclovir for tumor suppression. My wife would talk to me and I’d pass out right in front of her–geezed out. Suicide was a daily thought occupying much of my conscious time. Walking g around on Polio Braces made my arms strong but they turned me into a morphine addict too; 4850 mgs of morphine per month. One day I woke up and said I can’t do this anymore, the claims people at the VARO were screwing me out of my benefits and the VAMC was killing me. A miracle happened- I fought back. Ready to die I stopped the GD drugs. I found alternative health care and it worked. I’ll tell you, if I can do it , you can too, without the VA drugs. You need a good person to help you through it (n 18 months of the shits , sleeplessness, crawling the wall in pain. It took 2 years of clean living- you guys know what i mean… There is no 12 week or 12 step program that is going to do this for you. Do You think the VA wants to know what my protocols are? Probably , but they won’t adopt them because you will be what they don;t want at the end of this– a healthy person with some disability but no drug dependence and living with a clear mind honestly knowing that you are messed up; the messed up part is what you have to live with and somoen has to help you identify that and how to live with it– the VA is not that someone. Do i have problems? Yup IHD , an enlarged left Ventricle, valve problems and severe PTSD but i manage it and I no longer drag my left leg, not using Polio Braces and can hold a conversation with my wife without passing out drooling all over myself. My pupols are equal and reactive. I look better then I did. I may not have going to live but I am going to live it without DR Mengle telling me she is going to microwave my brain with 440 volts of electricity. Would i be willing to share my knowledge with the VA? Possibly, When and if the VA changes its whole approach to us as a Community of honorable men who gave their best in times of trouble for our country, that they honor and respect the rule of law and restore our rights to fair hearings removing the Tribunal claims process and the overwhelming philosophy called NULL Hypothesis taking us off the Reservation, and this is just the beginning. We should all be getting world class healthcare by private physicians in the communities where we live. God Bless you my Brothers. SHIELDS HIGH!

  18. Well, well, well, now I’m not very sophisticated about the laws in which the mega-government or VA are supposed to be managed, and as such, I have been getting quite an education here on this website, thank you. However when addressing the issues regarding psychology and therapy modalities, let’s just say, that’s where I shine. I have a MS in Counseling, and in addition, personal experience with going through the therapeutic process as well. As a result, I know what to expect from therapy as the professional and the patient.

    Now for my assessment of the VAMH machine. In general, it sucks! I have given it a try numerous times only to be disappointed and feeling more despair than before. The reasons are extensive and as to not distract from today’s topic, I will not disclose them. However with regards to today’s topic, here’s my take on it.

    The 12-week PTSD course is good for veterans in a way that is similar to a 101 course in college. It addresses mostly cognitive distortions which is great, and everybody could take some time learning about this beneficial way of reasoning. The groups are good too. People who are doing the responsible thing and seeking therapy due to a mental injury have a place to bond and support each other. This is not easily obtainable in society where a person who has an issue is degraded, ridiculed, stigmatized and ostracized by the “sane and healthy people” and as a result they seek therapy. FYI this is usually the reason the strong seek therapy in the first place, to heal from the abuse they receive from the healthy people who need therapy but are to “cool and put together” to get it. So the rest of us suffer and seek some comfort and support through therapy. And finally the farming-out of PHD-level therapy to a social worker, well I know they mean well (HAH), but it is far from being efficient or ethical and is against the very principles in the “Code of Ethics” for mental health professionals.

    Next and paramount, PTSD is an anxiety disorder. It is good to learn and understand the disorder in order to improve and gain a better quality of life. However the reason why the typical CBT modality is not very effective is for several reasons. One, to reiterate a previous comment, CBT is not a one-fits-all type of remedy, and two, it victimize the victim in that now you are aware of why you are experiencing mental angst, everything is suppose to go away. This has not been my experience, and for all you youngsters, what I’m about to say, you will come to realize as you get older.

    The real damage from PTSD is how it has negatively effected your life, physically, emotionally, socially, spiritually and financially and is not just about managing intrusive and illogical thoughts. It’s about loss, about the death of the person from trauma who now has to deal with that loss because they’re still alive. The person is grieving the loss of part of their soul due to the trauma and is trying to reconcile this loss.

    They are grieving and experiencing one of the five stages of Death. As a result, it never really goes away. It is similar to when someone who you were close to had passed, no matter how much time has went by, if you encounter something that reminds you of this person, it triggers a fond memory. This happens to veterans with PTSD as well, the only difference is that their triggers, in general, are toxic memories. That’s the problem, and to add gasoline on the fire, the veteran is mistreated and devalued while in the process of trying to get mental health treatment by the very organization that has promised them refuge. Crazy People Making is what they call that in the mental health field.

    In conclusion – I vote let the veterans go to a non-VA provider, if they choose. They already made the sacrifice for this country, now let them heal. Allow them to get the support and comfort their tortured souls so greatly deserved.

    Peace out

  19. My guess is that they can now put out their “Great results! Report.” out on a quarterly basis now. The people they kick out that don’t adhere to the ‘great results’ quota, can start over in another 12 week class. I personally think they want a short term program that they can say ‘cures’ most, if not all PTSD symptoms in the end run.

  20. For God sakes, know the miscreaten, imoraly behaviors. Full swing in my area. Reported malpractice, intentional malpractice and assaults because of it and roaming union players. So sorry for these behaviors. Once we commit to its their va and veterans fucked up but but true. I will never get care considered decent. They stalk me, they enter ways into every part of life. They make sure your alienated. Do not ever leave phone in lock up. Synced. They move into your apt complex. Who will stop this. We know it’s there VA. Who will change this malfeasance? No one I suppose.

  21. Ladies and gentlemen, I warn you espose int national malpractices or assaults afterwards, be it known it is their VA not ours. They will hurt with a nurse watching. Immoral yes, but I guess they don’t believe in hell. I don’t know anything about he’ll. I do know 1st hand abt retaliatory persons from VAMC’s. Sad as it may be healthcare belongs to perpetrators. Not those who it was meant for. I wish I could help each and all, but impossible. Congress doesn’t care no one does, because I suppose the most money being involved. Contractors etc. All will retaliate, check this out leasing Apts agency care nothing. Got many trash from VS unionbto hate me. They attack all abt your physical being and mental. They fucken mov f under and across from me. Have not a law enforcement who cares. Money money more important than citizens welfare. Keep these trash rolling

  22. There are no lobbyist for group therapy in the capitol, only pharma. I feel we are punished on claims filed for refusing the drugs in our c-file. Personally, I practice avoidance and live in constant fear of reprisal if I completely open up. It took me 15 years to get where I am now, to have the trust ability to share in a one-on-one. 12 weeks? No way!

  23. There exists a lot of wisdom regarding PTSD in a great many of the commenters to this articles post – – – should the powers at VA choose to intake and apply it. I’m betting they will not.

    Our PTSD symptoms vary greatly between individuals. There exists no ‘one size fits all’ set of symptoms. This is do to the fact that we are individuals, not objects that were produced on a mass assembly line.

    We each experienced the military differently; yet a huge amount of common overlap exists.

    Like many of you, I think shutting down long-term therapy is a major mistake that clearly demonstrates that the VA’s intention is to fully abdicate their responsibility to the veterans they are chartered to serve. It is a dumb-fuck, knuckle-headed move as we used to say in the service.

    I have spent years in both Group and Individual therapy. Neither really helped. The commonality that I found between them began with every single counselor always stating that they were going to help us – – – followed by the extremely long list of all the things they were unwilling, or simply would not do. That demonstrated immediately to me that I was amid over-schooled, under-educated people. Imagine that. Not once was I ever asked what I needed, I was always told what I needed.

    A big certificate on the wall is only that. It does not mean that you possess practical, useful knowledge. We all know that Australia, Sweden, Japan, United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, and Switzerland provide a far superior education than what one receives in the United States.

    Here are a few lessons that I have learned from my PTSD:

    1. It will never be cured, nor go away. It will manifest itself in unpleasant ways from time to time. The best I can reasonably hope for is to reduce and minimize those intrusions and spill-overs into my life, and those I interact with.

    2. I try to minimize my public interaction with others. Serves as a form of insurance. Both for them, and for me.

    3. One minute is as good as the next. If I have something on my task list that I did not accomplish during the day – – – I (usually) can do it in the middle of the night.

    4. Regular exercise is crucial. One of the main symptoms that I have come to recognize with myself is that I can consume massive amounts (over 6500) of calories daily when in the worst periods of the calendar year. During the year 2004 – 2005, I gained 57 pounds. Lost it through diet and exercise, of course. Since I do not want knee replacements, or to have to continually buy new clothes – – – I tend to work out between 10 to 20 hours weekly. I let nothing short of a broken limb get in the way of my workouts. Even watching the Telly, I can always use my squeeze-grips or dumb-bells and do pushups during the commercials.

    5. I tend to take copious notes. Facts matter. I always carry a small recorder, notebook and pen wherever I go. That way, I always have an accurate record of what transpired. Prevents confusion, or inaccurate recollection later. This has saved my bacon more than once . . .

    6. It will never be cured, nor go away. It will manifest itself in unpleasant ways from time to time. The best I can reasonably hope for is to reduce and minimize those intrusions and spill-overs into my life, and those I interact with.

    Twelve-week ‘Talk Therapy’? It would take at least twice that amount of time for me to even begin to ‘trust’ one of those ‘professional’ bozo’s enough to start opening to them at a deeper level than surface stuff.

    01:55, and 34 degrees outside. Frost on the windows. Nice moon. Laundry time!

    • Correction to my post. Second paragraph. ” This is do to the fact that we are individuals.” should read ” This is due to the fact that we are individuals.”

    • But, James, we Therapistts now use “evidence based” therapy these days.
      The fact is:
      Few therapists even know what the evidence is nor do they know how to read the research the evidence is based on.
      Those of us who can read the research are often blown away by its lack true scientific validity and reliability.
      JM

      • Thanks, JM. But that isn’t something new. Vets have been getting the shaft since the Revolutionary War. If the bankers can’t get the most of it the vets aren’t going to get any. VA Loans, Ed benefits routed through bankers (recent shut down purpose), Choice program corporate medicine for investment bankers and insurance companies beholden to investment bankers.

        Only cure is to get money out of politics and elect real people instead of lackeys for the rich.

  24. I have actually undergone the 12-week therapy modality the VA is pitching. It was helpful. It did not make me better, but it was helpful. I did not respond to the EMDR (a variation of hypnotism therapy), but talking was helpful. I also did a pair of their 12-week Group Therapies which I found some help, but because they were not for Combat Veterans, their applicability was restricted.

    The real key was that I had an outstanding therapist—who. like the outstanding Primary Care physicians I had in those days (2003-2010), have all now been forced out by the new head of clinical services.

    I fail to understand why this has to be an EITHER/OR decision. Why is it necessary to destroy one effective form of therapy to institute another? Evidence-based medicine is cost-centric, not results-centric. The only view of results is “cured” or “not cured”. What happened to understanding that some things can only get better, not get over?

    Sadly, I must agree with those who assert that individual therapy in the now-VA increases the risk that Veterans will be persecuted. The VA’s “Providers are always right” policy means that any time a combat veteran gets upset, we are liable to find ourselves facing the “police” from the VA, who know how to escalate a problem, but not how to de-escalate one.

    This is a decision having to do with “economies” and nothing to do with patient care

  25. Fuck the VA!!! Besides not having enough Psychiatrists and Psychologists, they’re taking away one of the only mechanisms to share PTSD issues with those having simalar experiences. Once my Group hears about this there will be a revolt!!! What about those with hidden suicidal thoughts? Watch the suicide rate increase… If it weren’t for being able to attend Group, I would probably be dead by now. The VA doesn’t give a sh!t! about Veteran’s…. It’s a cloak for VA Politicians to divert more money to ‘their’ pockets. Let’s see, how many Vets have to travel to get to Group? Cha-ching!!! This is a total disregard for Vet’s mental wellfare. Any guess as to how long it takes for this to change? Or, increase in calls to the suicide ‘hot – scam’?!?!

  26. I glad you people are at least getting some help with your PTSD. The Salem VA padded me on the back and said they couldn’t help me and sent me out the door.

  27. I just read all above and all the Vets are right. Your going to fix PTSD in 12 weeks just like the 16 pills I take daily repaired my 4 TBI’s. Oh and I dont have any brain damage at all. See the new therapy is lie and tell us we dont have the problem any more. The money for doctors, now we have 59 minute tell a video Dr.’s. They tell you the more pills you take the more problems you have. I personally have went to the street to get the drugs I need illegally. Or I’m afraid I’ll shoot my self to kill the pain. Chronic Migraine too. See in Atlanta choice program expired. Loss contract and I cant get a consult wrote to go to community care either. So I loose all the way around. Someone better listen to the Vet talk or your going to lose more than 22 per day.

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