As a Consultant Psychiatrist practising in Cardiff and Bridgend with special interest in Trauma, I see a lot of patients for medico- legal purposes who suffer with psychological consequences of Trauma. The concepts of PTSD have gradually changed over the years and one common myth that PTSD can only occur in natural disasters has gradually disappeared. The trauma could be one occurring from events which are not natural disasters such as significant Road Traffic Accidents. In fact the new DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual- Classificatory System of Disorders) working group has been looking at revising the criteria for PTSD and hopefully the DSM- V will incorporate these issues. As more research is happening, a new tool has been examined to screen PTSD as well, which hopefully should help in better management of patients suffering from this disorder.

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Trauma, Dissociation and EMDR Workshop

As promised, here are some clips of the Trauma, Dissociation and EMDR workshop done recently. The workshop covers main models of processing and the phases of treatment in EMDR. The Preparatory phase is very important and enables an individual to learn some grounding skills which can range from learning Simple Breathing, Relaxation, Establishing a Safe Place to give you some examples. I personally use a combination of Simple breathing and Meditation along with Safe Place as fundamental tools with good results.

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Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Eye Movement Desensitisation & Reprocessing (EMDR)

Experiencing trauma is an essential part of being human; history is written in blood……Van der Kolk & McFarlane

A few weeks ago a junior colleague of mine asked me about the mechanics of EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation & Reprocessing). And I decided to do a workshop for not just one colleague but for all in our department. I believe in the “greatest goodness for the greatest number”. It is important to bear in mind that EMDR is one form of Psychotherapy where ‘desensitisation’ is but just one of the eight phases of the therapy. Of course the desensitisation phase grabs the main attention of any one not familiar with the therapy. In this phase, the dissociated trauma memories are reprocessed and once the memories are completely reprocessed, they do not spark off any distressing emotions. EMDR is one of the therapies which has been subject to neuro- imaging (Imaging PTSD) and has shown changes in the blood flow of the brain in areas which are deemed necessary to dampen the arousal mechanisms of the brain, thus helping in deriving meaning of the trauma in the wider context of the person’s life. I will put the magic movie of the workshop in my next post shortly.

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