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A Method Vets Can Use To Help Deal With Trauma

A study found more than half of all West Virginia veterans reported serious symptoms of PTSD or depression. (Pixabay)
A study found more than half of all West Virginia veterans reported serious symptoms of PTSD or depression. (Pixabay)
September 21, 2017

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – On Friday in Charleston, a WVU professor will be teaching a method veterans can use by themselves to deal with traumatic memories.

Betsy Kent says about three quarters of her private practice deals with post traumatic stress and similar issues, often with veterans and their families.

She says there is a way to tap on places on your body that becomes a process to help manage out-of-control thoughts and feelings when they show up.

Kent says the tapping – with two fingers, about like you would with a computer keyboard – can work reduce stress, as a relaxation technique.

"What's surprising is that it relaxes you in relationship to the issue that you're tapping for,” she states. “It's quick and effective and the people don't even have to tell you all that they went through."

A 2014 study done for the Legislature found that from 40 to 50 percent of West Virginia vets of all ages reported serious symptoms of PTSD or depression.

Kent's Friday afternoon session is being organized by the National Association of Social Workers West Virginia Chapter.

Psychotherapists report high levels of untreated trauma in the population. Kent stresses that it's not limited to vets, but can include others, even those in the family of people who have gone through incidents of trauma. She says men here often go without the treatment they need.

"Men, particularly in West Virginia, are taught to be really tough and throw their bodies around,” she points out. “The culture works against them, because the culture says that they should be tough, self-sufficient men and they shouldn't have problems like this."

Kent says people don't often know how common and damaging untreated trauma is.

"How many women are sexually abused in childhood?” she says. “How many men go to war? But I also have policemen and nurses and EMTs."

A recent law now requires counselors, social workers and therapists to know how to treat vets with trauma, and requires that they have time for them in their practices. The national Veterans' Crisis Line is or veteranscrisisline.net.

Dan Heyman, Public News Service - WV