PTSD: When It Comes to Finding Help, Choice Matters

Biblical Counseling Coalition | 11/16/2018 | Charles Hodges
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BCC Staff Note: Today’s blog is the final article of a four-part series on the BCC Grace and Truth website on the topic of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Monday, Greg Gifford addressed the importance of holding a biblical anthropology for counseling those with PTSD. Wednesday, John Foldberg shared his methodology of crisis counseling for those experiencing PTSD, and yesterday Rachael Rosser discussed counseling individuals with Complex Post Traumatic Stress.

A research article was recently published that dealt with the issue of choice in the care an individual might receive when struggling with the problems of Post-Traumatic Stress.[1] Researchers at the University of Washington[2] designed a study that looked at the outcomes for care when the patient could choose between prolonged exposure therapy[3] and taking medication. This is an interesting study because it pits counseling—albeit secular—against medication.

Counseling - Medication - Study - Group - Exposure

Remarkably, both the counseling and medication helped those who were in the study. In the group who received the exposure therapy, 70% were free of the diagnosis of PTSD for two years after the study began. Fifty-five percent of those who took the medication were free of the symptoms of PTS at the two-year mark in the study.

The research also introduced an interesting factor of how the free will choice of entering into counseling or taking medication affects the outcome. It was not a surprise to me that when the patient/counselee is allowed to choose which direction they might go that they will do better. Of those individuals who chose to be in the counseling, 74% were symptom free at the end of two years.

Patient - Medication - Group - Preference - %

When a patient was assigned to the medication group against their preference, only 37% made it to the end of two years without symptoms. Further, when patients received their choice of care, 75% of them completed the two years program. When they were...
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