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Utilising behaviour activation in treatment of torture and trauma survivor: The blossoming of a bright man

Utilising behaviour activation in treatment of torture and trauma survivor: The blossoming of a bright man

The behavioural body/activation mindset for individuals is a lifestyle modification program developed by STARTTS and is designed to work in conjunction with other counselling services. The program is a goal setting based series of interventions which aims to provide psychoeducation to clients about different elements that contribute to a healthy lifestyle such as functional exercise tailored routines, gentle stretching, Heart Rate Variability (emWave), progressive muscular relaxation as different tools and techniques that can help them to cope with their PTSD symptoms. The focus of this program is to support and motivate the clients to do what is necessary to achieve their personal goals in a didactic and comfortable environment. In this presentation Manuel Francisco & David Pérez Garcia illustrate this with a case study of Samir a 62 year old man from Syria.

Samir experienced intensive trauma including exposure to two car bomb explosions where he lost three of his best friends. Samir presented with sleep disturbance caused by intense graphic nightmares, intrusive memories, survivor guilt, anger and irritability which impacted his relationship with his wife and children. Initially it was difficult to engage Samir in therapy and most of the therapeutic interventions used with him were unsuccessful.

Therefore, it was considered to look for ways to engage Samir in healthy living practices and build protective factors against anxiety and depression using healthy life style (SEEDS) proposed by Dr John Arden (2012). Samir was referred to the behavioural activation program to increase his physical and psychological wellbeing. Changes were observed immediately. Samir started to attend regularly to the sessions, and his level of stress was reduced significantly after the third session. Changes in his mood and anxiety were notable after six months and he was feeling more positive and relaxed. He learned how to look after his general wellbeing and became more socially engaged.