Psychotherapy for Chronic PTSD
by Frank Ochberg
Watch a veteran’s two-year-long therapeutic process of healing from chronic PTSD, and enhance your skills in working with traumatized populations.
How does PTSD look from the inside, and how is it treated? In this unique training video, we find out firsthand from Terry, a Vietnam vet who witnessed his friend’s brutal death in combat. We then follow his post-combat life: the struggle of living with PTSD for 40 years, and finally getting his life back with the help of renowned PTSD expert Dr. Frank Ochberg.

Through revealing personal interviews, commentary, and actual therapy sessions between Terry and Dr. Ochberg, this comprehensive video documents Terry’s two-year-long therapeutic process of healing from chronic PTSD. Terry’s courage in sharing the intimate details of his thoughts, feelings, and behaviors through his struggle brings a rare depth and insight to Ochberg’s step-by-step explanations and demonstrations of PTSD-specific techniques and strategies.

Trauma has become an ever more common life experience, and knowing how to treat someone with PTSD should be a part of every therapist’s repertoire. This video offers a unique window into both the great suffering that PTSD can create in our clients, and the journey toward reclaiming the richness and meaning in their lives.

What therapists are saying…

"Combat changes almost everyone – for good and for bad. Combat veterans who have problems seek therapists who understand their experience and can relate to them as a whole person. Dr. Ochberg has the talent and experience to do that – to treat the person, not just the diagnosis or symptoms. This case is an excellent example of how he does it."

-- Stephen N. Xenakis, MD, Brigadier General (Ret), U.S. Army; Founder, Center for Translational Medicine
"I just finished both disks in one sitting, and filled a bowl with tissues from wiping my eyes and blowing my nose--unexpected wisdom and kindness always does that to me. Sometimes it was Frank Ochberg, sometimes it was the veteran, and sometimes his wife, and also seeing this man come to life over the course of the work.
Frank Ochberg is a master clinician. Take it in as role-modeling: consistent use of plain talk, and talking and acting from a well-informed heart. You will see before your eyes excellent examples of therapeutic tact, timing, therapeutic alliance, and a practical approach in individual therapy of what I have called the “cycle of the communalization of trauma” through survivor narrative and listener retelling. Advice on psychotherapeutic technique with trauma patients is offered in such a quiet, unobtrusive way that you are liable to miss it. My advice on his advice: make a transcript of everything Frank says about why he does what he does and how he does it."


-- Jonathan Shay, MD, PhD, MacArthur Fellow, and Author of Achilles in Vietnam: Combat Trauma and the Undoing of Character and Odysseus in America: Combat Trauma and the Trials of Homecoming
"In a time when structured training is available across a wide-range of evidence-based psychotherapies for PTSD, it is easy to forget that, before you can be proficient in any of them, you must first be a psychotherapist. In this video Frank Ochberg provides a model which transcends the prevailing confusion of competing theories and interventions. An established leader in the field of traumatic stress, Ochberg’s essential lesson is that a great therapist equips his patient with tools that promote the articulation of memories, feelings, fears and thoughts which had been truly unspeakable for years but then follows rather than leads. Video recordings, supplemented by comment from Ochberg, make it clear that the therapist’s respect and care for his patient play a critical role in helping that patient re-mobilize his own self-respect, sense of personal agency and hope for the future. You may start watching this program in hopes of learning precisely what a expert therapist says or does to cure his patient but you will likely end up learning that, ultimately, it is the patient who makes psychotherapy (any psychotherapy) work and that a psychotherapist’s expertise lies in his ability to facilitate that work. This is the lesson of a master clinician and teacher and a rare gift for those ready to learn."

-- Harold Kudler, MD, Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Duke University
"...an informative, engaging, and emotionally gratifying exploration of PTSD treatment, and valuable for students and clinicians at any level."

-- Gary McLain, PhD, reviewed in Counseling Today
"The video package would be appropriate to use with graduate students in such courses as diagnosis and treatment, trauma counseling and/or a course that focuses on counseling veterans. For practicing clinicians intent on working with trauma survivors and/or combat veterans, this video would be a great aid to building their professional competence."

-- W. Bryce Hagedorn, NCC, University of Central Florida, reviewed in The Professional Counselor
"...a touching and powerful demonstration of the importance of the collaborative relationship in the treatment of PTSD. Dr. Ochberg’s genuine warmth, empathy and readily apparent affinity for this client are evident throughout, and repre- sent a master class in the development and maintenance of a therapeutic alliance. This, along with Terry’s capacity to describe his experience of PTSD, distinguishes Psychotherapy for Chronic PTSD as a potentially powerful training tool."

 -- Rachel Saks, PsyD, Chestnut Hill College, reviewed in APA Division 56 Trauma Psychology News
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We feel this video is truly remarkable in a number of ways.  First, the viewer is privileged to see excerpts of actual therapy sessions. Unlike every other training video we have encountered, Terry did not begin therapy with the intention that the sessions be filmed. Only in the midst of the therapy did this opportunity arise, and as he was already active in veteran's causes, he was eager to volunteer to have the sessions recorded, with the hope that this could be helpful to the treatment of other vets suffering from PTSD.

Secondly, you really get an inside perspective of how it was like for him to live for 40 years with untreated PTSD--and what were the elements of the therapy that helped turn his life around. As his wife Cathy says in one of the sessions, "You've given me my husband back." It's a compelling story rich with lessons for any clinician treating veterans or in fact anyone struggling with PTSD.

By watching this video, you will:

  • Gain in-depth knowledge of the psychological impact of PTSD
  • Learn to assess, diagnose, and treat clients with PTSD.
  • Understand Ochberg’s techniques for managing anxiety and processing trauma, including the Color Wheel and the Counting Method.
  • Learn to work with survivor’s guilt and other common symptoms presented by veterans and other trauma survivors.

Length of video: 02:47:00

Number of Discs: 2

English subtitles available on: Stream, DVD

This DVD plays in All Regions

Individual ISBN-10 #: 1-60124-298-0

Group ISBN-10 #: 1-60124-299-9

Frank Ochberg, MD has been a leading authority on the treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder since the 1960s and helped define PTSD for its inclusion in the DSM. He has received many awards for his work, most recently the Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies. He founded Gift From Within and is currently a professor of psychiatry at Michigan State University.

See all Frank Ochberg videos.

CE credits: 5

Learning Objectives:

  • Gain in-depth knowledge of the psychological impact of PTSD
  • Learn to assess, diagnose, and treat clients with PTSD.
  • Understand Ochberg’s techniques for managing anxiety and processing trauma, including the Color Wheel and the Counting Method.
  • Learn to work with survivor’s guilt and other common symptoms presented by veterans and other trauma survivors.
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