I. National Trauma Treatment Network In Israel
Surprisingly, for such a “traumatized” country, the vast majority of Israeli therapists have little specific training in the area of treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Many Israeli therapists still attempt to treat PTSD using psychodynamic approaches, even though these approaches are generally unsuccessful in the treatment of trauma.
The goal of the project is to develop a network of therapists throughout Israel who are trained in up-to-date methods for the treatment of post-traumatic stress reactions. Participants come from multi-disciplinary backgrounds, including clinical psychology, social work, and psychiatry. Each training course introduces therapists to the current findings regarding PTSD and to the principles and techniques of the most highly effective treatment methods, ranging from cognitive-behavioral therapy through somatic experiencing to eye-movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR)
This project has been developed in collaboration with the UJA-Federation of New York
II. Children and Trauma in Israel
Children are often the victims of ongoing trauma such as physical or sexual abuse and neglect. In the United States, over 3 million children are exposed to violence at home or in their communities each year. Other typical childhood traumas include motor vehicle and other accidents, animal bites, assault, medical procedures, and particularly in Israel, acts of terrorism. Childhood trauma can disrupt development, leading to future disorders in adulthood. As such, the field of childhood trauma and its treatment is a major public health issue.
Though there are similarities between adult post-traumatic stress disorder and childhood post-traumatic stress reactions, there are many specific issues that arise when working with children, relating especially to their developmental stage at the time the trauma occurs. Effective therapeutic work with traumatized children requires specialization in the field of children and trauma.
Our current project entails an extensive mapping of research and clinical work with traumatized children currently in progress in Israel. The creation of a database of this nature will enable us to evaluate the current state of affairs in Israel, ascertain the training needs of therapists working in the field, and ultimately establish a network of therapists cooperating to advance the treatment of traumatized children.
This project is being conducted in cooperation with The Jewish Board of Family and Children Services, New York.
III. Research on Trauma Exposure and Responses in the General Population
Israel has a legacy of trauma that has persisted throughout its development. There are still frequent casualties. In addition to the Middle East regional conflict, there is a high rate of traffic accidents (1 in 100 Israelis are killed or injured each year), and an increasing incidence of domestic violence as well as physical and sexual assault. Because of the high rate of traumatic events that have occurred and continue in Israel, one would expect a high prevalence of trauma exposure and PTSD in its population. To date however, there are no recorded prevalence rates of trauma exposure and PTSD in the population of Israel in general or in the population of Jerusalem in particular.
Therefore, the aim of this research project is first to get an indication of the prevalence rate of exposure to trauma of the population of Jerusalem, then to get an indication of the rate of PTSD in that population. Trauma histories of a sample of 200 inhabitants of Jerusalem will be collected, symptoms of PTSD will be assessed and the impact of PTSD on daily life surveyed.
IV. The School Project
In the past year the Center has developed and applied a program to train teachers to help pupils in coping with the current violent situation in Israel.