Background PTSD treatment

Background PTSD Treatment

Pierre Janet, a French psyciatrist (1859-1947) is credited with first noticing the symptoms
we now call post traumatic stress disorder. He took seriously the symptoms of hysteria,
which called dissociative disorders in the diagnositic manuals.

Janet studied the underlying mechanisms of these symptoms – looking beyond the label,
noticing how the body was involved. Unfortunately, his work was years ahead of his time
and it has only been recently that his work is getting the appreciation that it deserves.

For more information on Janet, see the work of Onno van der Hart, Kathy Steele, and Ellert
Nijenhuis as well as Pat Ogden’s book on Trauma and the Body.

In 1915,the physician Charles Myers wrote an article in the Bristh Medical Journal Lancet
called “A Contribution to the Study of Shell Shock.” In it he describes what happened to
three wounded soliders. Noting a similiarity between the three men Myers begins studying
what today would be called brain injury and it’s psychological correlates.

In 1940 Myers draws attention to the alteration of these traumatized war veterans between
how they presented themselves, seemingly to be normal, and these other extreme states. He
coined the phrases, “apparently normal personality” and “emotional personality” the parts
that seem to store the emotional consequence of trauma.

Move on to Dissociative Continuum

Return to Treatment for PTSD


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