Last Updated 8/8/2016
Treatment of PTSD in the holistic community is all over the map. There are ceremonial/spiritual solutions that are well known to work (read Lakota initiation and post-battle ceremonies). The intense spiritual “cleansing” rituals practiced by most aboriginal cultures and various other practices borrowed from “traditional” peoples. In addition, we are only recently begun investigating the effects of various holistic healing modalities on PTSD. Hypnotherapy shows a great deal of promise, and Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP), a subset of Hypnosis, has shown dramatic efficacy and has enormous potential. These modalities are effective on the more serious and destructive symptoms of PTSD that “traditional” weapons like CBT bounce right off of.
Other symptoms or aspects of PTSD that are less dramatic (but no less destructive) also respond well to simpler tools. Prominent among these is the Peer Support group. The fundamental driver of Peer groups is empathy, and that is not as easy to come by as one might suppose. Combat Veterans are well known to be suspicious of, if now downright hostile toward, civilians in general and medical personnel in particular (suffice it to say, they came by it honestly). On the other hand, a Combat Vet sits down with another warrior, and in a matter of minutes, they’re finishing each other’s sentences — it’s like old home week, like they’ve known each other for decades. That’s empathy ! In some situations, some people can manufacture empathy. In some, it’s very difficult and in some, patently impossible. A prominent case in point (aside from combat veterans) are alcoholics and addicts. The most prominent minds in the medical and healing worlds thrashed their brains out for eons trying to find a cure or solution to alcoholism and came up empty. Along comes a couple of relatively ordinary guys and they come up with the most ordinary, unscientific solution in the world: empathy.
It’s that way with PTSD as well. Combat Vets can empathize with one another like nobody else can. Other sincere, well meaning, thoroughly trained, highly intelligent people thrash their brains out trying to come up with empathy for these folks and the best they can conjure up is sympathy. And we all know that a warrior all eat up with PTSD can find all the sympathy he will ever need in his Webster’s Unabridged ~ right there between Shit and Syphilis.
But I digress. We can all intuit that a guy with a gun in his mouth is untreatable for anything. But once we take suicide off the table, all manner of paths are available and show great promise for optimal outcomes. We are totally convinced that the primo path to success, the “weapon of choice” is and will remain Peer Support Groups. They can be singularly flexible and adaptable to whatever is in your lap at any given time. Unlike “Therapeutic” peer groups (where one of the ‘peers’ is all credentialed and usually does most of the talking, the groups like AA, NA, etc. are flat . . . No hierarchy, Nobody telling them what to do, basically, No ‘Adult Supervision’.
Various purposes for Peer meetings suggest themselves:
PTSD Discussion — deal with someone’s ‘problem du jour’ or whatever anyone wants
Open Discussion — discuss issues around dealing with ‘earth people’
Book Study Read together a book about PTSD (or whatever) chosen by the group.