I would like to start with a qualification; I do not believe there is only one “cause” for PTSD, therefore there should not be one “therapy”. The causal circumstances, the surrounding context, individual psychological states, genetic proclivities, and the potential for a wide range of differing factors can make the basis for each individuals PTSD unique and probably difficult to define. It follows, then, that dealing effectively with an individuals PTSD would require exposure to as wide a range of therapeutic approaches as possible, and treatment should involve a team of therapists from a variety of disciplines.
Given the kinesthetic realities I outlined in the previous blog, several physical approaches should be offered; exposure therapy, EMDI, Yoga, tai chi, physical therapy and Aikido all have their strengths, and different individuals may respond effectively to one or more. When offered along with talk therapies and medication in an integrated team approach, sort of a therapeutic smorgasbord, a “prescription” can be developed that is most effective for each individual.
This would mean that the instructors would need to be fully integrated in to the therapy team. There should also be an initial two way training/familiarization program between the instructor and the therapy team. This is to enable both sides to understand the basics of what they both have to offer. It will allow the instructors to structure their programs to complement other aspects of the veteran’s therapy programs, and give therapists a deeper understanding of what the veterans are experiencing, and how they can best take advantage of this during their sessions.
The best example of this would be “relaxing to center”. This is a key aspect to aikido and the vets soon experience it when a technique works best when they do it successfully. A therapist, observing a vet begin to tense up, should be able to tell him to relax to center, to inhale and as he exhales slowly let his muscles to open and allow the energy to flow down to his center.
As I have indicated above, there are any number of lessons, behaviors, attitudes, mind-sets, etc., absorbed kinesthetically in the practice of Aikido techniques that can be utilized in conjunction with more traditional therapies to excellent effect. The end result will be to provide a more holistic approach to a causally differentiated disability.