1. Knights in Shining Armor: A Phenomenological Exploration of the Experience of Trauma in Emergency Service Personnel and the Impact of Psychophysiological Deactivation (Zettl, 1998)
The experience of trauma in 14 firelighters, police officers, and paramedics was explored through a self-administered questionnaire and a semi-structured interview. The impact Psychophysiological Deactivation, a body-centered psychotherapy, was examined in those who continued in the study. Three psychological lenses were used to explicate the experience of trauma: archetypal, self psychological, and psychophysiological. A theme that emerged from the interviews is that the archetypal energy of the hero allows the emergency workers to do their jobs, which involve sacrifice, skill, strength, and courage. The role of emergency service workers provides a psychological armor which consists of assumptions about courage, helping, control, and protection. When a critical incident punctures the armor, making it difficult to stay in the role of rescuer, the workers are more likely to be traumatized. Several developmental themes emerged out of the interviews with the participants, whose childhood histories were strikingly traumatic and difficult. Working in the emergency services field can be seen as a recapitulation of derailments at mirroring and idealizing in childhood. The individuals in this study are more prone to develop PTSD not only because of their exposure to trauma but also because of their childhood histories. The experience of trauma was more deeply understood by exploring the psychophysiological symptoms which the participants were trying to manage consciously and unconsciously. These symptoms were categorized into the four constituents of a traumatic reaction: hyperarousal, constriction, dissociation/ and freezing response in association with the experience of helplessness. Psychophysiological Deactivation provided dramatic relief from the symptoms of PTSD for all but one of the participants. Most of the participants reported an improved ability to deal with stress both on and off the job, and to love and nurture their significant others. Approximately 80% of the participants noticed a decrease in mood swings, anxiety, amnesia, flashbacks, or intrusive imagery, and an increase in the ability to concentrate.
2. Self Regulation Therapy® Improves Quality Of Life and
Reduces Symptoms of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
This study looks at reduction of symptoms of PTSD and improvement of quality of life. Clients are administered a PTSD Scale and the Quality of Life Indicator. Clients are selected for the study based on positive indicators of PTSD. Clients are in treatment with an SRT practitioner who has had at least one year of SRT training. Measures are taken at the onset of treatment, at one month, three months and six months.
3. Monitoring Changes of Problem Solving Style During Therapy
Using Self Regulation Therapy®
The Rorschach’s introversive/extrotensive/ambitensive style is used to indicate changes in problem solving preference. In the Rorschach literature, it is suggested that the problem solving style is fairly stable across the lifetime. An ambitensive problem solving style is considered to be the least efficient; however, a strongly introversive or extroversive style may not be flexible and is therefore less adaptive in some situations. It is suggested that problem solving style becomes more efficient as one is more adaptive in their life. It is hypothesized that in the case of those clients with an ambitensive style, there will be a shift toward an introversive or extratensive style, while in the cases of clients with strongly introversive or extrotensive styles, there will be a shift toward a less introversive or extratensive style, indicating a more flexible problem-solving style.
4. Decrease of Anxiety and Depression Using Self Regulation
Anxiety and depression are among the primary reasons for entering therapy. In this study, clients will be administered the Beck Anxiety and the Beck Depression Test. Subjects will be selected randomly as they begin therapy with any SRT practitioner who has at least one year training. Dependent measures will be sampled at four times: 1) before beginning therapy; 2) after five sessions; 3) after ten sessions; 4) after twenty sessions. Any other possible significant variables that contribute to change in client conditions will be recorded, such as medication, change in relationship and, change in job.
5. Sleep Problems
It is suggested, through clinical observations, that sleep problems are often related to a client’s experience(s) with anesthesia and surgery. In this pilot study, several clients, with a history of sleep problems, will be monitored for changes in sleep while working with previous surgical experiences using SRT. Clients will keep a daily sleep log before, during, and after treatment.
6. Physiological Activation In Therapists Using Self Regulation Therapy® vs. Therapists Using Other Trauma Therapies
It is hypothesized that practitioners using SRT as a treatment for trauma are better regulated than practitioners who use other methods to work with trauma. In addition, as practitioners become more dysregulated, they are prone to transfer negative feelings to their clients. Heart monitors will be used to measure the heart rate of practitioners using SRT vs. practitioners using various other methods of trauma therapy, including: EMDR, Cognitive/Behavioral, Thought Field Therapy.