Using positive psychology to cope with trauma

Using positive psychology to cope with trauma

This is not so much about happiness, but it’s very much about applications of positive psychology to dealing with trauma and stress. This article outlines how positive psychology can be used to prevent PTSD. Actually, now that I think about it, if stress and trauma are prevented or reduced then maybe this is about happiness…!

The Army News Service formally announced last week that the U. S. Army has a new approach it hopes can prevent the psychological effects of warfare from turning into post traumatic stress disorder. The first official _ã–master resilience training_㝠program is one part of the Army_ã_s Comprehensive Soldier Fitness approach aimed at enhancing physical, emotional, social, family, and spiritual soldier fitness. The resilience program is being developed and customized for the Army by the University of Pennsylvania_ã_s resilience program. Details can be seen here.

Why train military personnel to become more psychologically fit? PTSD is crippling for many soldiers back from deployment. Moreover, according to the military, posttraumatic stress disorder affects about one out of every five returning personnel deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan. Symptoms include recurrent intrusive memories, emotional numbing, and a hyperfocus on avoiding the disorder_ã_s symptoms, all likely to have costs to the veteran_ã_s unit and family. Fortunately, more people who go into combat have post-traumatic growth. They_ã_re confronted by something very difficult, and they emerge stronger as a result.

Martin Seligman says, _ã–We can teach people to recognize the most catastrophic, unrealistic things they say to themselves when adversity strikes and to argue against the most catastrophic thoughts; realistically, to put them into perspective. This is a well-defined technique that_ã_s been validated with tens-of-thousands of people in cognitive therapy procedures._㝠The US Department of Defense, in conjunction with the Veterans Administration, agrees. They list cognitive therapies with their top evidence-based interventions for PTSD.

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