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New help for soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress

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A pioneering US treatment for servicemen and women suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is to be tried in the UK for the first time.

Accelerated Resolution Therapy – or ART – is expected to be offered by Scottish nurses later this year.

The therapy aims to turn negative images and sensations into positive ones, re-programming the brain.

In the United States, it has been shown to substantially reduce symptoms associated with post-traumatic stress disorder. It has also helped other common mental health problems.

The University of Stirling has teamed up with the University of South Florida to offer training to senior NHS nursing staff, as well as a workshop for its own staff and students.

Next week (19 August), the Stirling campus will welcome Professor Kevin Kip, the Executive Director of the Research Centre at University of South Florida and Laney Rosenzweig, the founder of the ART programme. Professor Kip is leading the research into the use of ART while Ms Rosenzweig continues to grow access to the intervention through the development of a formal training programme. 

James Taylor, from the University of Stirling’s School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health said: “Working with our partners in South Florida, we’ve been successful in obtaining funding to pilot the use of ART by nurses in the UK to treat veterans with combat-related PTSD.

“We’re delighted to welcome Professor Kip and Ms Rosenzweig to Stirling to train senior NHS nursing staff and to talk about the therapy with our student and staff population.

“All going well, senior clinicians in Scotland should be using the ART therapy on veterans later this year. The initial findings from this pilot project will be reported in 2014.

“Hopefully it will provide new support and hope for people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.”

He confirmed: “The visit to train Scottish nurses (as part of our research project) is the first time ART training has been delivered and studied outside the US, the first time mental health nurses have been trained, and the first research project using ART on a UK military veteran population.”

The training – and visit – is part of a formal partnership agreement with the University of South Florida, signed earlier this year.

Staff at Stirling say the move opens up opportunities for staff and student exchanges, as well as sharing best practice and research.

Stirling’s Professor William Lauder said: "The University of Stirling and the University of South Florida are both successful research and teaching schools who aim to transform education for nurses and the quality of healthcare for patients and their relatives.”

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