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Surviving Trauma and Tragedy: Lessons for Future Physicians and Mental Health Professionals
Surviving Trauma and Tragedy: Lessons for Future Physicians and Mental Health Professionals

Product #: GIST
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By Gift from Within

Victims of violence often feel shame, self-blame and rejection. Some develop Posttraumatic Stress Disorder; a psychological wounding that is oftentimes unrecognized and misunderstood. Unlike rituals for birth, death and other significant occasions, there are no ceremonies for survivors of violence to help them regain their sense of self or celebrate their progress and humanity. This program reminds us that those who endure human cruelty have lives of dignity and meaning -- even though they were mistreated by perpetrators, and, on occasion, by professionals and by family. This compelling program, filmed in a live classroom setting at Michigan State University is a unique teaching tool for educators in the health field. Aimed at medical students it is also equally suited for nurses and allied health professionals.

The audience is the Class of 2007, College of Human Medicine , at MSU. The speakers are trauma survivors, members of the Michigan Victim Alliance, discussing details of personal traumatic events that led to their being diagnosed with PTSD. The moderator, Mike Walter, is an award winning morning anchor and reporter for WUSA TV in Washington , D.C. The teacher and expert commentator is Dr. Frank Ochberg -a psychiatrist and the former Associate Director of the National Institute of Mental Health, and a member of the team that wrote the medical definition of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Dr Ochberg is a founding board member of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies.

The 4 panel members include: A pregnant woman who was abducted at gunpoint while shopping for her family, and then raped; A man whose fiancé was murdered in front of him, in his home by intruders; A couple whose 20 year old son was a victim of homicide; A man who was shot outside his home and his wife who shares his long and continuing battle to overcome his physical and psychological wounds.

These extraordinary survivors tell their stories with candor and courage; all demonstrate a deep commitment to helping other survivors. Their stories will help future health professionals realize how important doctors, nurses and members of the medical team can be in the diagnostic and recovery process for survivors of extreme trauma.

The purpose of this program is to provide insight about the profound effects of PTSD, and the role of the health professional. It explains the cluster of symptoms that physicians need to know in order to diagnose PTSD; how PTSD symptoms affect the victim and their relationships; the role of dignity, caregiver burden, compassion fatigue, and medication. It also touches upon Dr. Ocbherg?s treatment philosophy, including the "Counting Method" for ameliorating flashbacks. The program is also suitable and excellent for a general audience, survivors, victim advocates and clergy. It was produced by The Michigan Victim Alliance, a non-profit organization dedicated to the healing and protection of victims of violence, trauma, and abuse. All featured participants donated their time.

Format: DVD 82 minutes


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