Exposure Therapy

In the 1980’s, Dr. Terence M. Keane and his colleagues found that exposure therapy was effective in treating the PTSD symptoms of Vietnam War veterans. Exposure therapy, previously known as imaginal flooding therapy, involves carefully exposing the patient to prolonged and repeated imagined images of the trauma until the images no longer cause severe anxiety. In Keane’s randomized clinical trial involving 24 Vietnam veterans, Keane found that exposure therapy was effective in reducing many of the veteran’s PTSD symptoms, including nightmares, flashbacks, memory and concentration problems, and irritability (American Psychological Association, 2008). Through the art of Shou Shu you are effectively activating one of the symptoms in PTSD, easily startled or agitated, using a safe environment and essentially re-wiring the brains response to stress using the art. Next, PTSD patients generally have a hard time concentrating, so performing the specialized moves in Shou Shu you are able to bring the person into the now and bring the mind to a more productive state. Shou Shu is primal, I agree; essentially we are connecting to our roots and helping to re-wire the brain so that when situations do arise we are well equiped to deal with them through the conditioning we receive when practicing Shou Shu. There is much to be learned with the mix of Shou Shu and PTSD. One suggestion would be to have someone do their thesis or dissertation on the subject.