Extreme Psychology and PTSD Training

Location: Kyiv, Ukraine

Dates: February – June of 2015

Most people in the Ukrainian society have been traumatized by the violent events that happened in Ukraine within the past year, especially the war with Russia and Russian-sponsored separatists in Eastern Ukraine. Thousands of people experience symptoms of PTSD.

The majority of people experiencing PTSD symptoms don’t seek help from psychologists. Moreover, there are not enough well trained psychologists to treat all people experiencing severe post-traumatic symptoms.

To solve this problem, in February of 2015, our organization is bringing a unique training developed in Denmark for Danish veterans of the Afghanistan war.

The training will bring together 25 people from all walks of life who have experienced war trauma. Using unique Danish methodologies, we will progressively train them to heal their own trauma as well as to become professional extreme psychology trainers – they will learn to hep their friends and colleagues to prevent and treat post-traumatic conditions.

Overall Objective:

  • Certify 25 Ukrainian servicemen as “Combat Shock Trainers”
  • Participants will learn proven methods to combat military-induced psychological shock and post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • Participants will learn to train their fellow friends and servicemen in these methods.
  • Certify and train three Ukrainian speaking psychologists to lead these trainings in the future.

Summary of Training

  • The training was originally developed for Danish serviceman returning from deployment in Afghanistan to prevent and treat post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
  • Participants will learn to effectively manage combat induced post-traumatic anxiety as well as to lead their fellow servicemen in learning to effectively manage post-trauma anxiety.
  • Participants will  learn to conduct group trainings for fellow servicemen on effectively managing shock and trauma during combat situations.
  • The training is designed for civilians as well as veterans and servicemen on active duty.

Training Duration

Training consists of four in-person seminars and comprises fourteen (16) total days of training spread over four months.Participants are required to practice regularly, create study groups and meet at least twice in-between seminars.

Seminar 1: What is Trauma?  

In this two day seminar participants will learn about different stages of post-shock experience, starting from the initial shock and  post-shock crisis period to post traumatic stress disorder induced by the shock. Participants will learn to recognize various stages of post-shock experiences in combat environment as well as what experiences are normal defense mechanisms and what reactions are abnormal.

Participants will learn three strategies of preventing PTSD and working with post-shock anxiety. They will  be able to immediately use these strategies with their fellow servicemen:

  • Post-shock de-briefing
  • Verbalizing the post-shock experience and sensations
  • Teaching fellow servicemen that certain emotional reactions experienced right after shock (e.g. flashbacks, being emotionally unstable) are absolutely normal human reactions.

Seminar 2: Body-Based and Social Strategies to Combat Post-Shock Anxiety and Trauma

Following traumatic experience, our brain may have hard time handling reality and dealing with the consequences of war.  Many veterans have experienced losing friends in the war and observed people being injured and maimed.  Questions that have no good answers become prominent:  “why I lost my friends? why so many people died?”

In this four day seminar, participants will learn three strategies for providing energy and  resources to the nervous system. Participants will  be able to immediately use these strategies with their fellow servicemen:

  • A variety of subtle body-based grounding exercises that increase sensory awareness.
  • Emergency exercises that help servicemen to stabilize emotionally and focus cognitively in case of an anxiety attack during combat situation or civilian life.
  • To assist the nervous system in post-traumatic healing, it is vitally important to ground the brain in understanding of the existence of “safe” social situations. Therefore, participants will practice a series of exercises to find “safe place”. Similarly, participants will practice a series of exercises in finding “safe people”.

Seminar 3: Uncovering shock history and Treatment of PTSD

This seminar will expand the notion of shock from something that servicemen experienced during combat situation to any dramatic life event that may have had a profound effect on the servicemen’s psyches. This reframing is both a treatment exercise, as it helps servicemen to de-focus from considering war as something that “ruined my life”, as well as a pathway to deeper trauma treatment.

Commonly, trauma experienced during combat situation is the last drop in a sequence of traumatic events experienced throughout life starting in early childhood. This very powerful trauma experienced in adulthood may uncover and offer an opportunity to treat long buried traumatic events from childhood that that emerge today as PTSD.

In this four day seminar participants will learn four exercises for becoming aware of the long-forgotten trauma and how it manifests itself as post-combat anxiety. Participants will  be able to immediately use these strategies with their fellow servicemen:

  • Learning to recognize how PTSD affects servicemen’s lives
  • Collecting shock history from birth to war
  • Learning to recognize and uncover the core trauma
  • Running technique to treat PTSD
  • Peak in shock exercise to treat PTSD

Seminar 4: Combat Trauma As a Doorway to Post Trauma Re-Orientation

After having experienced trauma, the serviceman’s body and psyche is oriented towards trauma. This final seminar will present methods on post-traumatic physical and psychological re-orientation  towards new directions and possibilities.  Participants will practice to create meaning out of the trauma and learn how trauma may change the direction of their lives.

Wounded Warrior Ukraine has no affiliation, ties, or endorsement with Wounded Warrior Project.

Тraining Wounded Warrior Ukraine. February 2015

Training Wounded Warrior Ukraine. April 2015

Тraining Wounded Warrior Ukraine. May 2015

Тraining Wounded Warrior Ukraine. July 2015