Sunday, 26 April 2009

FAQ

The official purposes of Resolution

Resolution was established with three objectives: to treat veterans with mental health difficulties; to promote research into better ways of treating stress-related problems of ex-service people, in particular PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder); and to educate the public in the nature, causes and potential cures for these problems._

When did you set the charity up?

The Resolution project has been running since January 2007. It has operated to date as a project inside another well-established mental health charity, the Human Givens Foundation (www.hgfoundation.com) - Resolution is now incorporating as an independent charitable body with the Charity Commissioners.

What exactly does the charity do?

We provide one-to-one confidential sessions with one of our therapists on an out-patient basis. In the treatment, the objective is to break the link between the memory and emotional response. By reducing anxiety levels connected to the memories the patient is enabled to re-experience the traumatic event without further distress.

Resolution treatment is brief, so that there is no continuing reliance upon therapy. A course of treatment usually involves between two and six sessions, each of around one hour's duration. The goal is to enable each patient to return to as normal a family, social and work life as possible, in the shortest possible time. Progress is measured at the start of each session using the 'Impact of Events Scale', commonly used by trauma therapists.

Resolution treatment is based upon well-established methods developed for HGT (Human Givens Therapy), a branch of psychology and psychotherapy initially focused on the treatment of mental distress in the general population since 1997.

Resolution has access to a network of 150 therapists who are trained by and registered with the Human Givens Institute: It specialises in helping only former services personnel. The treatment programme is sensitive to the particular cultural background and trauma issues associated with the armed services. The methods used do not require the therapist to have any knowledge of the particular traumatic event: this ensures confidentiality and protects both the patient and therapist from further trauma. Unlike some other treatment settings, Resolution therapists work with all conditions that may co-exist with PTSD, such as alcohol and drug use, depression, anger and relationship issues.

Treatment uses a combination of 'deep relaxation', 'imaginal exposure' and 'cognitive reconstruction', all of which are components of treatments recommended by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE).

Why was it set up - a reflection of poor MOD/NHS care?

Resolution was set up to make therapy more available and more quickly to people who need it: the provision of NHS and other treatment services can be patchy in terms of waiting times and effectiveness.

A distinctive quality of Resolution's methods is that therapy is as 'humane' as possible: alternative treatments often require the patient to talk about the traumatic events responsible for the PTSD. It was found that with HGT (Human Givens Therapy), on which Resolution is based, that this is not necessary in order to deal effectively with the symptoms.

A further aim of Resolution is to promote more research through a Randomised Control Trial in two selected prisons, in order to qualify for formal approval by NICE.

What makes the charity different from others - (e.g. Combat Stress)?

Resolution offers treatment that is quicker, cheaper, more convenient, more private, and more effective than any other generally available treatment. Resolution is complementary to treatment offered by Combat Stress, (www.combatstress.org.uk) which provides longer term, in-patient support. Resolution offers an option for out-patient treatment which will usually enable the patient to be symptom-free in a very short period of time. A course is often available close to where patients live, through a large network of therapists around the UK, rather than requiring residential care, perhaps far from the patient's home.

There are no lengthy procedures to assess entitlement to help by referral, service record, or medical history, as in the case of most alternative services in the field: all ex-service people are eligible for treatment by a qualified therapist through Resolution, free of charge.

How many soldiers have you treated?

To date 50 ex-service people have received treatment from Resolution - although many thousands of stress-related cases from the general population have been treated with Human Givens Therapy, on which the Resolution treatment is based. There is outcome data on 599 of these in the HGIPRN study, showing a similar success rate and treatment duration to the Resolution cases.

Can you evidence the success that you have had?

Resolution is the outcome of a pilot project with The Falklands Veterans Foundation which helped a number of ex-service people to recover from PTSD after 25 years of symptoms: these can include nightmares, alcoholism, marriage breakdown and criminal convictions.

The method Resolution uses has better than 80 per cent success rate in treating PTSD in 50 UK veterans of the armed services to date, as measured using the 'Impact of Events Scale', a trauma measure recommended by the Department of Health. Over 600 further stress-related cases from the general population have been treated in a study using Human Givens Therapy, on which the Resolution therapy is based, available at http://www.hgiprn.org. HGT achieves a recovery rate of over 70 per cent, with a mean of 3.6 treatment sessions.

There have been several studies examining the success of the same core method in trauma treatment: including A new technique for treating post-traumatic stress disorder, Muss, D.C., 1991, BJCP, 30, 91-92, a report on the treatment of West Midlands Police officers with PTSD, and Elimination of post-traumatic symptomatology by relaxation and visual-kinaesthetic dissociation, Hossack, A., and Bentall, R. P., 1996, Journal of Traumatic Stress, 9, 1, a report on treatment of victims of the Hillsborough disaster.

What are the costs

A single treatment programme with Resolution costs £600: this is considerably less than almost every other form of private treatment currently available for PTSD, which often involve residential care. Resolution currently provides this treatment free of charge to the sufferer, and is seeking donations to pay for treatment for more ex-service people suffering these symptoms - many of whom may have been out of work for a considerable period of time.

For further information: www.ptsdresolution.org

There follows a personal story from the first person to be treated by Resolution. His is one of those cases where the sufferer would, in all probability, now be in prison if proper help had not been found. It is just one person's story, an anecdote in medical terms, but it shows how big a change can be achieved when things work well - which they usually do.

"It really is difficult to know where to start when telling my story so forgive me if any of it rambles. There are certain vital components however, these being:

I am a retired soldier of 22 years service from 1983 - 2005

I experienced traumas which at the time of occurrence I had no apparent problem dealing with.

I was not diagnosed with PTSD until I left service, I knew something wasn't quite right but had no intention of seeking help within the Army and jeopardising my career.

I joined the Army in 1983 and spent 15 years deployed in recognised areas of conflict, from Sierra Leone to the Gulf wars.

During this time my marriage deteriorated which in itself is unsurprising, however my behaviour which led to its inevitable break down after 22 years is typical of someone suffering from PTSD. I dissociated myself from almost all my family and friends took refuge in drink, all of these things considered normal by most of my colleagues.

There is really no need to relate the specifics of my service or particular incidents which created my PTSD. Rather more important is the difficulty I had finding the appropriate effective treatment.

By the time I came to my first session of treatment I had become homeless, started drinking heavily shown symptoms of manic behaviour, become far more familiar with members of my local constabulary than I ever would have wished. I had also self funded a two week course of treatment in the Woking Priory; this had recently become the services first line of treatment for servicemen suffering from mental health issues. I was quickly re-diagnosed with PTSD and informed by a charming consultant what my treatment would entail and how much it would cost. I spent the time enduring CBT sessions, (cognitive behavioural therapy) which in my case had no impact whatsoever. The therapists seemed at a total loss to really know what to do with me, and at least one confided in me that they where ill equipped to deal with returning soldiers, they still took my money! Interestingly whilst I was there 5 still serving soldiers where also supposedly receiving treatment at great expense to the British tax payer, none of them attended any of there sessions as they where not compelled to, they laid in, watched TV, went to meals and that was it, I was disgusted at the waste.

I returned to live with my parents. I continued drinking my nightmares and flashbacks intensified I sought physical confrontation and at one point goaded three men into beating the living daylights out of me which they did. I hated myself!!

I had been attending my local community mental health team talking in detail about events which had traumatised me, all that happened was that my flashbacks, nightmares and re-enactments intensified, I questioned the treatment but was told it was a normal reaction. Then my ex wife told me of the Human givens therapy she had heard of, I reluctantly agreed to give it a go.

I had my first session which did not involve any in detail discussion about my trauma; indeed my therapist still has no knowledge of the events which traumatised me. After the session I went away not knowing what to expect, that night my nightmares ceased, I became much calmer and to this day have not had one flashback or re-enactment episode, I threw out my anti depressants. I have re connected to those around me and been able to hold down a job. I can control my drinking.

I feel extremely sad about the two years I drifted through and wasted, and regret all the hurt I caused to those around me. But I now feel that I am able to get on with my life without the intrusive effects of PTSD.

I hope that the detraumatising therapy which healed me gets the recognition it truly deserves, and that it is the people suffering who get the opportunity to prove that. Not some stuffed shirt or bean counter in Whitehall. The treatment is quick and effective, the alternative is wasteful, and a large group of people who will put burden on an already overstretched NHS, a massive amount of money is already being wasted.

For someone suffering from PTSD there is nothing to lose in having this treatment, and the opportunity to get their life back".

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