A Listening Approach

A Listening Approach

"In the last 20 years of combat, over 500,000 American service members have been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Current resiliency and recovery methods in the U.S. simply are not working; people continue to acquire PTSD, and resist getting treatment, and recovery is lengthy. In part, slow recovery may be due to individualistic societal predispositions that make the U.S. military particularly vulnerable. How a PTSD survivor is treated can create either healing or feelings of isolation. Our military members and families have a dismal understanding of how to listen and build social resiliency, both of which build resiliency to PTSD and help a person to recover. Leaders are the "first responders" who observe verbal and non-verbal indicators of pain associated with PTSD, and are arguably the reason service-members choose to get counseling or suffer in isolation. It is counter-productive, even damaging, when commanders "outsource" responsibility for healing to behavioral health clinicians when a receptive command climate and dialogue are likewise crucial elements of resiliency and recovery. The typical approach is an "identify and refer" framework.1,2 However, to heal most people need supportive listening leaders, family, and friends, in addition to counseling.3 Effective listening has three sub-tasks: presence, inquiry, and encouragement (PIE). This research is a primer to inspire leaders to listen in order to connect and build cohesive resilient teams, detect PTSD, and listen for the story. Productive PIE can increase combat power by improving resilience, readiness, and healing. Leaders can prepare service members and families to build resiliency to and recovery from PTSD through presence; through inquiry form integrated listening teams; and effectively promote healing through messages that encourage (PIE) presence, inquiry, and encouragement."--Abstract.


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