The Hidden War: PTSD on the Front Lines

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The Hidden War: PTSD on the Front Lines

English | July 12, 2018 | ISBN: 1604152680 | EPUB | 240 pages | 10 MB

Driven by her passionate desire to serve, psychologist Connie Louie-Handelman joined the US Army at the age of 56. Disturbed by the high rates of PTSD and suicide among warriors, she wanted to make a difference. After training, she was deployed at a forward operating base in the hot and dusty plains of Kandahar, Afghanistan. There she found soldiers fighting more than the enemies they encountered in the battlefield. The casualty rate from invisible enemies like anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, and fear was high.

When improvised explosive devices killed or wounded warriors near the base, she would journey “outside the wire” to units that were under attack. Besides their shattering experiences on the battlefield, many warriors were also locked in domestic tragedies, with spouses having affairs or wanting divorces, or children going astray.

Connie and her fellow mental health professionals faced enormous obstacles as they treated their patients. Basic supplies were scarce and they worked out of tiny spaces where privacy was impossible. Many warriors were rotating through different duty stations and Connie often had only one session to help them before they moved on.

Besides her conventional psychological training, Connie had a “secret weapon” for treating trauma. Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) combines elements of cognitive therapy with acupressure, in the form of fingertip tapping on acupuncture points. She describes how she used EFT to treat PTSD, anger, insomnia, depression, and stress. Many of her patients calmed down within a few minutes of tapping and were able to make substantial progress, often in just a single session. They learned EFT quickly and many referred their buddies.

In this lucid and compelling account, she shares the knowledge she gained while treating 199 warriors over a total of 574 sessions. She went on to become a passionate advocate for EFT as well as work for the Veterans Administration.

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