Highly traumatized children living in war-torn Kosovo experienced significant reductions in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) when treated with a comprehensive, non-drug model developed by The Center for Mind-Body Medicine (CMBM), according to a new study published online in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. The new study, Treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in Post-War Kosovar Adolescents Using Mind-Body Skills Groups: A Randomized Controlled Trial, is the first randomized controlled trial of any intervention with war traumatized children.
The study demonstrates that CMBMÂ™s mind-body techniques, including biofeedback, meditation, guided imagery and self-expression (in words, drawings, and movement) produce lasting changes in levels of stress, flashbacks, nightmares and symptoms of withdrawal and numbing in adolescents living in a region of conflict.
Eighty-two Kosovo high school students participated in the study, all of whom met PTSD criteria as measured by the Harvard Trauma Questionnaire. Teachers trained in the CMBM mind-body model offered the 12-session program in small, supportive educational settings.
After participating in the three-month long program, the number of students having symptoms was dramatically reduced from 100% to 18%. The reduction was maintained at a three-month follow-up. The improvement was significantly greater than a control group of non-participating students. CMBMÂ™s founder and director, and the studyÂ™s lead author, James S. Gordon, MD, describes the approach in his new book, Unstuck: Your Guide to the Seven Stage Journey Out of Depression.
This study provides scientific evidence for the efficacy of a model taught to almost 3,000 health and mental health professionals and educators worldwide, said Dr. Gordon. CMBMÂ™s approach is educational and powerfully effective and can be taught and used by people of all ages on their own. WeÂ™ve used this small group model to give tens of thousands of children and adults practical tools that help them feel better quickly, and weÂ™ve taught them to use their intuition and imagination to solve problems. Our approach is proving highly acceptable to populations which do not want to be given medication, and have no access to a doctor or therapist.
This mind-body model is being used to treat war-traumatized populations in Israel and Gaza as well as in post-Katrina southern Louisiana. It is also widely used with depressed people and those with chronic illness in the US, and has been incorporated as a stress reduction program for students in a dozen US medical schools.
For The Center for Mind-Body Medicine
Jaime Strohmenger, 212-899-4746