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Thursday, October 29, 2015

PTSD, EXPOSURE THERAPY AND 12 STEP PROGRAM STRUCTURE

Wow - this tape I saw today on TV blew me away because it just validated why our 12 step program can be more effective than, or certainly enhance, just straight counseling with respect to the PTSD that our members, or those exiting the sex industry who are suffering from PTSD, suffer from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9lg2mf6FcJc

In this video, Dr. Thomas Neylan goes over "Exposure Therapy".  He contrasts someone who has been through a trauma who gets a "one time debriefing" vs. someone who talks about their experience over and over and over again, or "exposure therapy".  The study found that "exposure therapy" or "talking about the trauma over and over and over again" significantly reduces the long term effects of the trauma on the person.

In the 12 step group, when the person first calls the hotline they're ask to "identify".  We have to make sure that reporters, pimps, cops, informants, etc. don't get into the rooms.  So they're asked to talk about their story there.  From there, they go into their first meeting.  At most first meetings - they again tell their story so that the older members get to know who they are.

There is sharing time at each meeting.  When one has some "time" they're asked to do "outreach" which is basically telling of one's story.  To do outreach, one goes out to jails, treatment centers, shelters, other meetings, programs, etc. and tells their story.  When we do panels in the jails - we go in telling our story.  When we hold an "open house" or a "public information" event - we stand up and tell our story.

So our members get a lot of chances to tell their stories over and over.  I also ask them if they want to be interviewed for our radio show at www.leavingtheliferadio.com  Or make a video.  In the early 1990's we had a weekly cable show where I invited members on to tell their stories.   I'm in the process of putting that back together - videotaping interviews with members to put on public access TV and social media.  I've set up the site for it at www.leaving-the-life-tvshow.com.

I've compared our members recovery with those I meet who are "trafficking victims" who are just given therapy.  In therapy, one generally tells their story maybe once or twice.  Then it goes into more current events and feelings.   Those I've met and spoken to are frankly a mess - even years after the original truama.

What this lecture does - is validate how the 12 step program is VERY effective for us because of our high levels of PTSD.  I further went online and googled Dr. Neylan's name and found some fascinating work on PTSD.

Enjoy.

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