Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Doctor calls for new way to treat traumatic incidents

There is need for introducing hypnotherapy and eye movement desensitization reprocessing (EMDR) in Botswana as best practice for treating the high number of traumatic incidences involving assault, domestic violence, passion killings or road traffic accidents.

“What sets hypnotherapy and EMDR apart from conventional talking therapies used for treating trauma is their resemblance to surgical procedures that expose maladies through cutting the flesh open before removal,” said Dr. Mohammad Rahman, Clinical Psychologist at Princess Marina Hospital.

“Although they can be time consuming, after exposing the trauma through eye movement, both therapies equip the clinician to facilitate the patient to forget the traumatic experience forthwith after committing it to memory.”

The experience from witnessing assaults, passion killings or road crashes impose traumatic psychological consequences for adults and children, leading to the development of acute stress disorder (ASD) or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) Rahman said.

He added that people who suffer from ASD or PSTD experience trauma from reliving horrifying road traffic accidents or internecine battle scenes they survived or witnessed long after the experiences had been forgotten. The experiences interfere with the incumbents’ normal day-to-day lives and at times result in unwarranted indefinite confinement in mental institutions after inappropriate diagnostic procedure at great cost in terms of work hours and productivity lost to the patient.

The India-born Clinical Psychologist said from the health service development perspective, mental health professionals have to apply the appropriate counseling model or psychotherapy suitable for the treatment of such traumatic cases, before condemning them to mental institution confinement.
Presenting a paper during the 2nd Botswana Counseling Association (BCA) International Conference held in Gaborone, Rahman said the major models of counseling used in Botswana involve psychotherapy, and cognitive behavior therapy (CBT). Although non-talking therapies like hypnotherapy, EMDR or psychodrama are beginning to surface they still have a long way to go before final approval and adoption as best practice.

“In Botswana, many traumatic cases remain untreated, due to unavailability of a comprehensive mental health programme with due recognition of a mental health team and lack of referral systems among Doctors, Psychologists, Social Workers, Counselors and other practitioners. Research based on comparative analysis has shown the need for incorporating non-talking, hypnotherapy and EMDR in Botswana for quick trauma management,” he said. “However, there is need for research and international collaboration between other international agencies like the World Health Organization (WHO) and US professional bodies and the South African Institute of Hypnosis (SAIH) to clarify the issues related to talking against non-talking therapies in Botswana. Eventually through collaboration of training, supervision patients suffering from untreated traumatic cases such as child sexual abuse can be brought back to productive lifestyles.”

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