The Harms of the Concept of PTSD

In Western psychology we individualise, decontextualise and fix trauma in the past

I have worked over many years with victims of torture, rape, institutional abuse and deprivation as well as those who have suffered serious traumatic events in the course of their ‘ordinary’ lives. I have had the privilege to work with individuals, families and communities in rural Ireland, inner-city settings in the UK, various countries in Africa, Asia and New Zealand. I have come to the conclusion that the assumptions involved in the concept of PTSD: hyponarrativity, commitment to a cognitivist/computational model of mind and an inbuilt linear approach to psychological time mean that it cannot capture the complexity of human responses to traumatic events. Because of these implicit assumptions, the discourse of PTSD serves to individualise and decontextualise human suffering. In doing this, it distorts the way in which we understand healing and recovery.

The psychiatric diagnosis of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has become increasingly popular

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killer smile 2 September 2021

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