Tuesday, January 13, 2009

PTSD in the workplace and at home

Reflexology Helps Communication

The human toll of traumatic events is literally brought to work and home. Teresa Difranza, EAP/ CISM Coordinator of the Jacksonville, Florida Sheriff's Office notes the impact of PTSD on policeman placed in the position of shooting a criminal suspect. In addition, PTSD is not uncommon among soldiers returning to regular jobs as police officers after serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Sheriff's Department has instituted an experimental program using reflexology to help dispatchers with their stresses of being an "ear witness" to traumatic events.

Aside from symptoms experienced by these individuals, Teresa notes the difficulties faced by families seeking to help. Traumatized individuals have difficulty communicating their emotions and experiences. Many go silent, leaving loved ones unable to help. Reflexology offers a possible solution.

Reflexologists note the talkativeness of clients during a reflexology session. Clients recount their life experiences, illnesses, and current stresses. (This author has been through World War II in the Pacific as well as in Europe and practically any family emergency imaginable as the client relaxes and feels like talking.)

Professionals working with mental illness have documented the use of reflexology in their work. In a classic study, Petra Trousdale of the UK noted her study's impact on women with emotional needs as: "improvement in communication and ability to articulate ideas more effectively as well as the "importance of being touched during treatment in a safe non-intrusive / abusive manner."

The use reflexology by families has been shown to help individuals with cancer. A study by Dr. Nancy Stephenson's study showed a "significant decrease in pain intensity and anxiety" with partner- delivered reflexology applied to patients with advanced cancer." In a landmark study Barbara Zeller-Dobbs of Switzerland noted: "Our purpose for using reflexology with these patients was to decrease their pain but we soon realized the beneficial effect of reflexology on the morale of patients and families. Something was being done for them. Patients expressed feelings of being less abandoned and the families expressed satisfaction at seeing that something painless existed that could aid their relative." (Dobbs, Barbara Zeller, "Alternative health approaches," Nursing Mirror (England), Vol. 160, No. 9, Feb. 27, 1985; PMID: 3634658)

© 2008 Kunz and Kunz

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