NATO seminar enhances treatment of trauma victims

  • 14 Jul. 2010 - 23 Jul. 2010
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  • Last updated: 03 Aug. 2010 14:27

From 14 to 23 July 2010, a NATO science seminar analysed the culturally sensitive treatment of people suffering from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

A U.S. soldier (R) of 1st Squadron, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment, cries during a memorial service for three fellow soldiers who were killed during clashes last March 25 and April 7, at a military camp in Baghdad April 16, 2008.  REUTERS/Erik de Castro  (IRAQ)

The event, which took place at Bahçeşehir University in Istanbul, Turkey, addressed issues commonly faced by psychologists, clinical social workers and psychiatrists dealing with traumatised patients.

A total of 37 participants from NATO, Partner and Mediterranean Dialogue countries and from the International School Psychology Association studied the theory behind treating and diagnosing PTSD. The workshop included a series of lectures, demonstrations and practical exercises on topics such as:

  • trauma and its responses: from acute stress reaction to PTSD
  • the impact of trauma on the body, thoughts and feelings
  • trauma in children, youth and adults
  • a psychodynamic perception regarding trust in treatment
  • cognitive behavioral therapy in PTSD
  • fantastic reality use in desensitization
  • fantastic reality use in imaginal reconstruction using therapeutic cards

PTSD can affect up to 15 to 20 per cent of a given population following mass disasters such as terrorist acts and wars. The workshop was evidence-based and equipped the participants to train and support other professionals in using these techniques when needed.

Each attendee received articles and case studies, which were discussed during the event, as well as specialised manuals comprising the most up to date and effective trauma treatment methods, including:

  • Somatic Experience - a method focused on "the body's memory"
  • A method based on the Fantastic Reality model
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy theories, such as the prolonged exposure principles of in-vivo and imaginal reconstruction

This model was tested among PTSD patients, both children and adults, traumatised by rape, robbery, road accidents, terror, war and military service in various countries around the world.

The event’s participants have already reported positive results from patients treated with methodologies taught at the seminar. An on-line supervision is open to all practitioners who attended the seminar, either in written or video conference format.

A forum will soon be open at to facilitate the discussion of common issues and to help address cultural differences and adaptations.

The seminar was funded through NATO’s Science for Peace and Security Programme. For more information, visit (link: (see “Calendar” for organisers’ contact details).