There has been a 50 year struggle to legitimize the diagnosis
of PTSD. It has been called many things at different times. War
neurosis, combat fatigue, shell shock, etc. It is a difficult
concept to fully objectify, and even its legitimacy as a diagnosis
has been questioned. Many of us veterans have been struggling
with issues related to our war experiences, and most recently,
better definitions and treatments for whatever you want to call
it have arisen. From a diagnosis with little foundation, it has
become an accepted concept, and after 9/11, even more so. Doctors
in Guatemala as well as Israel, countries that have been facing
internal as well as external attacks on its civilian population,
are very well versed in understanding the concept, the symptoms
and many of the treatments available. In the summer of 2001, I
went to a 3-day conference dealing with the concepts of psychological
trauma and its effect on people. I found it to be very interesting,
many knowledgeable people, and as usual, the multiple books out
on the topics (well over a hundred). I picked out several to add
to my library and want to share with you some of the books. This
is neither endorsement nor validation, just something some of
you might find interesting reading, and maybe even therapeutic.
I am sure that are hundreds of others out there equally, if not
better, in form or context.
The Body Remembers, the Psychophysiology of Trauma and Trauma Treatment, by Babette Rothschild; WW Norton and Company. ISBN 0-393-70327-4. 190 pages. An overview of the various theories of PTSD, brain development, and some techniques. Easy to read and understand. A good starter book
Treating PTSD: Cognitive-Behavioral Strategies. Edited by David W. Foy; the Guilford Press. ISBN 0-89862-209-3. 172 pages. A more technical manual, outlining diagnosis and treatment in various settings, such as veterans, battered women, child and adult sexual abuse survivors. A good basic reference book.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: Psychological and Biological Sequelae; edited by Bessel A. Van Der Kolk, MD. 134 pages. American Psychiatric Press. ISBN 0-88048-053-X. A brief compilation of the various theories and views of how psychological stress effects the body. A bit on testing patients with suspected PTSD. A decent overview of the filed. Very brief, readable.
Assessing Psychological Trauma and PTSD, edited by John P. Wilson and Terence M Keane. the Guilford Press. ISBN 1-57230-162-7 576 pages. A much more thorough book on evaluating trauma, measuring instruments, validity of them, various factors that are part of the stress reactions. Diagnoses, not treatment focused.
Soldiers Heart: Survivors Views of Combat Trauma;
edited by Sarah Hansel, PhD, et. al. The Sidran Press. ISBN 0-9629164-6-3.
242 pages. Stories, poems, letters, recollections by veterans,
demonstrating various aspects of PTSD. Very readable, easy for
a veteran to identify with, male and female veterans. You are
The Trauma of War: Stress and Recovery in Vietnam Veterans. Edited by Stephen M Sonnenberg, MD, et. al. American Psychiatric Press. ISBN 0-88048-048-3. 454 pages. Diagnosis and various treatment modalities for Vietnam Veterans, stressing commonalities as well as differences in treatment of different groups, such as women, POW's, Afro-Americans, Hispanics, etc. Very focused, lots of techniques and strategies to help veterans. Much more in depth, and I personally found it to be something of real value in my library.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: A Complete Treatment Guide; Aphrodite Matsakis, PhD. New Harbinger Publications; ISBN 1-879237-68-7. 342 Pages. Many excellent definitions of trauma, its impact on people, and a workbook on many techniques that are used to treat, inclusion and exclusion criteria (who would or would not benefit from a particular modality), etc.
Vietnam Veterans: the Road to Recovery. Joel Osler Brende et.al; Plenum Publishing. ISBN 0-306-41966-1. 270 pages. This is more a history of the Vietnam Veteran and his/her struggles to become "legitimized" and the obstacles thrown in the way by the system. Many individual stories, many concepts, some not really backed by the data, but the writers are seasoned veterans and really know how to write. Inflammatory at times, always provocative.
Psychobiology of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Edited by Rachel Yehuda and Alexander C. McFarlane. New York Academy of Science ISBN 1-57331-078-6. 550 pages. Very thorough, refereed journal type research articles in the areas of PTSD. Research protocols, data, interpretations, etc. Very thorough and complete, with ideas for where to go next in research. A must have if you are really interested in the scientific study of the field.
Effective Treatment for PTSD. Edited by Edna B. Foa, et.al. the Guilford Press. ISBN 1-57230-584-3. 386 pages. Describes many of the treatment approaches and guidelines in the treatment of PTSD. Inclusion criteria. A really decent "cookbook" the research indicators for the treatment and results that can be obtained.
Psychotraumatology: Key Papers and Core Concepts in Post-Traumatic Stress; edited by George S. Everly, Jr., et.al. Plenum Publishing. ISBN 0-306-44783-5. 417 pages. As the title states, covers many theoretical positions with research into the treatment modalities, results and future directions. A bit more intensive and research-oriented than the previous book.
Essential Papers on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Edited by Mardi J. Horowitz, MD. New York University Press. ISBN
0-8147-3559-2. 542 pages. Gives the history of the field, research
done in the past, key concepts and their historical perspective,
modern treatments and results.
Psychological Trauma, by Bessel A. van der Kilk, MD. American Psychiatric Press. ISBN 0-88048-233-8. 233 pages. Theoretical framework on the body's response to trauma, issues of
children, families, and techniques to retrieve traumatic incidents. Very readable by an expert in the field.
Discovering the Body's Wisdom, Mirka Knaster. Bantam New Age. ISBN 0-553-37327-7. 403 pages. Lists, describes, and gives applications of 50 major mind-body practices. All are attempts at understanding the link and disintegration, then reintegration of body and mind, that have been
separated due to overwhelming stress. A good starting place regarding techniques.
And there you have it. I will add others to my library and add to this list, if there is interest in this. I also have reviewed each book and summarized some of the concepts that I found to be useful, important, interesting, or teaching points.