A recent American Thinker article by Larry Alton, “get serious about PTSD,” is right on the mark. Most V.A. and DoD programs have not produced significant results, and they use drugs. Is it possible that the drug companies are part of the problem?
Four years ago, I became aware of work being done to treat the most significant PTSD problem: chronic nightmares. Dr. Frank Bourke, a prominent psychologist and founder of Research and Recognition Project, had been using a neurolinguistic protocol called Reconsolidating of Traumatic Memories (RTM) to treat PTSD patients. His method teaches the patients to distance themselves from the emotional part of the incident or incidents causing the chronic nightmares, lack of focus, and irrational behavior. He told me he does this usually in three hour-and-a-half sessions, a day apart. Sounds like snake oil, right?
Our Blue Angels Foundation supports the Warrior Foundation in San Diego. This terrific group of volunteers provides assistance to the Naval Hospital and also facilities for those warriors needing a transition after receiving a medical discharge. Many of these warriors have PTSD. After talking with Dr. Bourke, we flew him out to San Diego to treat two of these warriors and see for ourselves.
We put them all up in a hotel for three days. Each one received an hour-and-a-half session with Dr. Bourke each day. At the end of the last session, I had a video conference with each warrior. Both had been having nightmares to the point where it was seriously affecting their lives, one to the point where he was considering suicide.
I asked them how they had slept the night before. One of them told me just fine. The other said not too much. I asked, “Why?” He told me he had so much sleep after the first session the previous night that he didn’t need much last night!
Both of them told me the treatment at the hospital had been a bag full of drugs, which they didn’t want. I chatted with each individually for about ten minutes and became convinced that there clearly was something there.