Clinical Intervention Paper: Military Sexual Trauma

Scientific Intervention Paper: Navy Sexual Trauma


The aim of this paper is to debate and apply extended publicity remedy to the case of Harriet.  Extended publicity remedy, which is a type of cognitive conduct remedy, is designed to deal with posttraumatic stress dysfunction by way of two main remedies, imaginal publicity and in vivo publicity.  Cognitive conduct remedy and extended publicity remedy are each famous to be efficient remedy for posttraumatic stress dysfunction.  This paper highlights a few of the analysis supporting the effectiveness of extended publicity remedy for navy sexual trauma.  As well as, a number of research have famous constructive outcomes of extended publicity remedy.  Harriet is an Military with veteran identified with posttraumatic stress dysfunction because of navy sexual trauma.  Though Harriet didn't absolutely interact in remedy, she reported a lower in a few of her trauma-related signs.  A overview of Harriet’s remedy plan is mentioned with an emphasizes on the remedy implementation.  Lastly, medical and professional obstacles to remedy and Harriet’s cultural concerns are reviewed.

Key phrases:  navy, cognitive behavioral remedy, posttraumatic stress dysfunction, navy sexual trauma, extended publicity remedy, feminine


Scientific Intervention Paper: Navy Sexual Trauma

Navy sexual trauma (MST) is outlined as “sexual assault or repeated, threatening sexual harassment that occurred whereas a Veteran was within the navy” (U.S. Division of Veterans Affairs [VA], 2018).  The VA’s definition, which derives from Federal regulation (Title 38 U.S. Code 1720D), states that MST “is psychological trauma, which within the judgment of a VA psychological well being skilled, resulted from a bodily assault of a sexual nature, battery of a sexual nature, or sexual harassment which occurred whereas the Veteran was serving on energetic obligation, energetic obligation for coaching, or inactive obligation coaching” (VA, 2018).

Affected person Background

Harriet is a 60-year-old, biracial, African-American and Caucasian, feminine with roughly 16 years of formal schooling.  She has a 100% service-connected incapacity for posttraumatic stress dysfunction (PTSD) and can be identified with despair.  Harriet lives alone in rural Pennsylvania and was unemployed firstly of remedy.  Harriet’s earnings lowered by almost 70% and he or she depleted her 401 (ok) financial savings, which left her with inadequate funds to have interaction in her normal actions (i.e., journey).  Harriet is presenting for remedy of MST to assist cut back stress and anxiousness associated to her traumatic expertise. 

Harriet grew-up in a two-parent dwelling together with her mom, step-father, and two youthful brothers; nevertheless, she spent majority of her time together with her parental step-grandmother.  Harriet by no means felt beloved by her mother and father, believes she was “pawned” off to her grandmother, and believes her mother and father used her to take care of her youthful brothers.  Throughout time spent together with her grandmother, Harriet developed traits equivalent to energy, fortitude, and resilience.  Harriet typically states, “I discovered the best way to be a powerful Black lady from my grandmother.”  Harriet considers herself sturdy, impartial, and dependable and doesn't disclose sure private particulars to household and shut pals as a result of she doesn't wish to be perceived as a weak and weak particular person.  She gives emotional and monetary help to a lot of her household and pals, hardly ever seeks help from others, and thought of herself the breadwinner of her household.   

Harriet has one daughter, one son-in-law, and 4 grandchildren.  Harriet and her daughter have an incredible relationship and an open line of communication; nevertheless, Harriet has not disclosed her MST to her daughter.  Though Harriet and her son-in-law wouldn't have a very good relationship, they've discovered to co-exist.  Harriet is divorced, however stays cordial together with her ex-husband.  Harriet is in a relationship together with her boyfriend, of 10 years, and is pleased together with her present relationship.

Harriet joined the USA Military in 1976, across the age of 19.  Harriet served on Lively Responsibility 4 years, post-Vietnam and was stationed in Alabama, Atlanta, and Korea.  Upon completion of her navy service, Harriet obtained her bachelor’s diploma and most lately labored for Group 360 for 14-years. 

 Throughout her time at fundamental coaching, Harriet was sexually assaulted by her drill sergeant.  Harriet’s drill sergeant inappropriately touched Harriet whereas she slept and ordered Harriet to his workplace to carry out sexual acts.  Harriet didn't disclose the assaults as a result of her drill sergeant threatened to make her navy profession “a dwelling hell.”  Later in her navy profession, Harriet disclosed her MST to a commander, who knowledgeable Harriet “to strongly take into consideration opening an investigation as a result of it could break the life and navy profession of a very good sergeant.”  Harriet efficiently completed fundamental coaching, remained within the navy, and accomplished her navy obligation.

Harriet has a historical past of diabetes mellitus type-2, hypertension, bronchial asthma, hypothyroidism, congestive coronary heart failure, microscopic hematuria, and polyp colon.  She is at present prescribed acetaminophen, albuterol, aluminum/magnesium complement, levothyroxine, lorazepam, metformin, atorvastatin, diphenhydramine, haloperidol, and pantoprazole.  Outdoors of the listed medical circumstances, Harriet doesn't have any extra well being issues.  Harriet denies alcohol and substance abuse, however socially drinks wine.  Harriet denies suicidal and homicidal ideations. 

Conceptualization and Abstract of Nervousness Dysfunction/Signs

  The theoretical mannequin of selection for Harriet is cognitive conduct remedy (CBT).  Cognitive conduct remedy, as outlined by the Beck Institute for Cognitive Habits Remedy, “is a time-sensitive, structured, present-oriented psychotherapy directed towards fixing present issues and instructing purchasers abilities to switch dysfunctional pondering and conduct” (Beck Institute, n.d.).  Moreover, CBT is structured and direct and makes use of direct and particular agendas, strategies, and ideas that help purchasers in acquiring their targets (Nationwide Affiliation of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapists [NACBT], 2016). 

 Extended publicity remedy (PE), which is a type of CBT, seeks to deal with PTSD by way of two main remedies, imaginal publicity and in vivo publicity (Foa, Hembree, & Rothbaum, 2007).  Imaginal publicity, which usually happens in session, permits the consumer to revisit the traumatic occasion in current tense, audibly recounting the trauma (Foa et al., 2007).  Moreover, repeated recall of the traumatic occasion decreases signs and helps to develop a brand new perspective of the trauma (Foa et al., 2007).  In vivo publicity is performed in-between periods and is aimed to deal with the worry and avoidance of locations and other people instantly associated to the traumatic occasion (Foa et al., 2007).  Total, PE is an efficient remedy that has been confirmed to efficiently deal with PTSD  (Powers, Halpern, Ferenschak, Gillihan, & Foa, 2010).

 Three weeks previous to her preliminary session, Harriet admitted herself to the in-patient psychiatric ward on the VA.  Harriet’s voluntary admittance resulted from her behaviors throughout her latest surgical process.  Harriet was scheduled to have her surgical mesh eliminated and was given a mixture of anesthesia.  Harriet reviews that she turned delirious, extraordinarily agitated and combative; tried to scratch her eyes; and commenced to speak about “monsters requiring restraints.”  Harriet believes she was “set-off” as a result of her physique “didn't tolerate the drugs.”  After 72-hours within the psychiatric ward, Harriet signed herself out as she “didn't really feel snug being on a locked unit.”

Harriet usually describes her temper has anxious, overwhelmed, and pressured.  She is fully-oriented and presents with full-range and congruent have an effect on.  Harriet reveals social abilities and is ready to preserve eye contact, however shows a lower in constructive feelings and has cognitive, behavioral, emotional, and physiological signs.  Harriet’s mental functioning is taken into account to be common, her perception is honest, and he or she has good judgement. 

Harriet experiences anxiousness assaults, roughly two to 3 instances a day and endorses issue concentrating, withdrawal from others, and sleep bother.  Harriet’s emotional signs embrace decreased temper, guilt, disgrace, hopelessness, and numbness.  Harriet is unable to take part in hobbies and has issue permitting her 1-year-old granddaughter to bodily contact (i.e., hug) her with out “feeling soiled.” 

Harriet was instantly uncovered to an precise sexual violence; furthermore, she experiences bodily sensations and upsetting desires and avoids triggering stimuli to incorporate reminiscence of her traumatic occasion.  Harriet endorses a detrimental self-evaluation, issue focus, and sleep problems (American Psychiatric Affiliation [APA], 2013).  She additionally avoids recollections and conversations associated to her sexual trauma, that deal with her feelings and her core beliefs, and engages in self-blame.

Harriet is indignant with herself, believes she allowed the assault to happen, and thinks she ought to have been stronger.  Harriet’s worry of talking about her MST is carefully associated to her ideas that talking about her trauma will result in acceptance and acceptance means she is a failure.  Harriet’s sturdy sense of disappointment stems from her perception that she let herself down.  Her ideas embrace “how may I fail myself” and “I ought to have been stronger.”  Harriet’s feeling of guilt originates from her grandmother’s teachings, “to by no means enable anybody to make the most of you and to all the time be sturdy.”  Though Harriet has not verbalized particulars of her MST, she desires to maneuver previous her trauma and dwell a satisfying life.  Primarily based on the essential offered, Harriet is identified with Posttraumatic Stress Dysfunction (F43.10) and Main Depressive Dysfunction, Recurrent, Delicate ( (APA, 2013).  For in-depth standards for the above-mentioned problems, seek advice from the DSM-5 (APA, 2013).

Evaluation Procedures

PTSD Guidelines for DSM-5

 The PTSD Guidelines for DSM-5 (PCL-5) was developed by the Nationwide Middle for PTSD (Blevins, Weathers, Davis, Witte, & Domino, 2015).  The PCL-5, which is a 5-point Likert (zero = under no circumstances; four = extraordinarily) self-report measure, was developed to evaluate the 20 signs of PTSD (Weathers et al., 2013).  The measure can be utilized to make a provisional PTSD prognosis in addition to monitor signs throughout and after remedy (Weathers et al., 2013).  The objects are summed and scores vary from zero – 80, yielding symptom severity for symptom clusters and for the general dysfunction (Blevins et al., 2015).  The PCL-5 demonstrated sturdy inside reliability (Cronbach’s  = .94), good test-retest reliability (r = .82), and good validity (Blevins et al., 2015).  The revised PCL-5 was in comparison with the unique PCL and decided to have comparable psychometrics (Blevins et al., 2015).  The PCL-5’s decrease scores must be thought of when screening or figuring out trigger whereas larger scores can help with making a provisional prognosis or to lower false positives (Weathers et al., 2013).   

The evaluation takes roughly 5 – 10 minutes to finish and shall be given to Harriet previous to, throughout, and after remedy to evaluate her signs and effectiveness of remedy. 

Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale

The Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS-5) is a structured medical interview device that was developed by the Nationwide Middle for PTSD (Weathers et al., 2018).  The CAPS-5, which is a 30-item questionnaire, that's parallel to the DSM-5 PTSD standards and takes roughly 45 – 60 minutes to manage (Weathers et al., 2013; Weathers et al., 2018).  The CAPS-5 diagnoses present, previous month, and lifelong PTSD and assesses signs over the previous week (Weathers et al., 2013).  To reach at a prognosis, the frequency and depth of an merchandise are mixed right into a single severity ranking, adopted by the sum of the entire symptom severity for the 20 PTSD signs; moreover, the symptom cluster severity scores are summed (Weathers et al., 2013).  The CAPS-5 is decided to be a psychometrically sound measure for PTSD demonstrating sturdy reliability (Cronbach’s  = .88, = 78 to 1.00) and good validity (r = .66 to .83) (Weathers et al., 2018).  Harriet shall be given the PCL-5 as a screening device, to evaluate her present signs; nevertheless, the CAPS-5 is not going to be administered as a result of Harriet acquired a PTSD prognosis by the supervising therapist.  However, the usage of the CAPS-5, at the side of the PCL-5 can present a possibility to make clear info, ask follow-up questions, and implement medical judgement.

Supporting Literature for Therapy

Navy sexual trauma is a standard expertise amongst women and men within the navy; nevertheless, ladies account for 38.four% of reported MST circumstances, in comparison with 13.9% of male circumstances (Wilson, 2018).  An evaluation of literature on the prevalence MST revealed that ladies had considerably larger charges of sexual trauma in comparison with males (Wilson, 2018).  Girls had been additionally discovered to be twice as possible as males to amass PTSD, regardless that males skilled extra trauma (Resnick, Mallampalli, & Carter, 2012).  Due to this fact, clinicians have a duty to make use of an evidenced-based remedy that's developmentally applicable with purchasers to scale back distressing signs.

Using publicity remedy in cognitive conduct remedy has been discovered to be efficient females who've skilled a sexual trauma (Foa et al., 1999).  Particularly, PE is a widely-used remedy that rejects detrimental cognitions and reducing anxious PTSD-related signs (Foa, & Rauch, 2004).  In a randomized management path performed, by the Nationwide Middle for PTSD, 284 feminine veterans had been randomly chosen to obtain PE or presented-centered remedy (Schnurr et al., 2007).  The feminine veterans who acquired PE displayed decrease ranges of PTSD signs, receive full remission, and now not met standards for PTSD (Schnurr et al., 2007).  In a examine of feminine sexual and nonsexual survivors, PE revealed that a discount in detrimental cognitions (i.e., self, the world, and self-blame) had been instantly related to a discount of PTSD-related signs (Foa, & Rauch, 2004).

Avoidance of ideas, recollections, emotions, and reminders of the trauma generally happens with PTSD (APA, 2013).  Though avoidance is an unhealthy coping technique that's usually used to offer aid from detrimental signs, avoidance can preserve or exacerbate detrimental feelings associated to trauma equivalent to enhance anxiousness and detrimental ideas.  In a examine, evaluating the variations of PE on PTSD symptom clusters and particular person signs, analysis prompt that PE just isn't solely efficient for PTSD, however can be useful for avoidance and numbness (Schnurr & Lunney, 2015).  Avoidance discount has been thought of to be essential to PTSD remedy and an important operate of PTSD restoration  (Foa et al., 2007; Suvak, Treanor, Mitchell, Sloan, & Resick, 2012).  With the usage of PE to instantly deal with avoidance, feminine veterans can learn to tolerate anxiety-provoking conditions and be taught averted conditions, place, and individuals are truly secure.

Feminine veterans who've skilled MST typically expertise a change of their feelings, sleep disturbances, difficulties with reminiscence and concertation, and issue sustaining relationships, (VA, 2015).  Subsequently, the usage of a extremely sensible and evidenced-based remedy that can be accepted by the U. S. Division of Veteran Affairs is essential for efficient remedy.

Therapy Plan

Harriet will obtain PE.  The remedy plan will first set up security and can embrace assessing for PTSD; figuring out triggers; figuring out avoidance behaviors; restructuring her cognitions and notion of trauma; and respiration train.  The remedy plan ought to present Harriet with the required instruments to lower distressing signs associated to her trauma, enhance coping abilities, and facilitate progress.  Though PE is performed with a minimal of ten periods, Harriet was seen for a complete of six periods.  Harriet additionally briefly establish some anxiety-provoking conditions and avoidance behaviors (Appendix A).

What Ought to Have Occurred

The CAPS-5 shall be performed previous to the beginning of remedy.  Session one in all PE is devoted to offering a rationale, explaining remedy procedures, and amassing related information in regards to the trauma, to incorporate the consumer’s reactions and experiences previous to trauma (Foa et al., 2007).  Lastly, respiration coaching shall be launched and homework shall be assigned (i.e., overview of rationale and audio tape and apply of respiration) (Foa et al., 2007).  Session two consists of the presentation of an agenda, overview of homework, and exploration of widespread reactions to the trauma (Foa et al., 2007).  Adopted by the rationale of in vivo publicity and growth of a hierarchal listing associated to widespread avoidance (Foa et al., 2007).  Session two is concluded by assigning in vivo homework (Foa et al., 2007).  Respiration retraining and overview of  hierarchal listing and audiotape can be assigned as homework (Foa et al., 2007).  Session three begins with creation of an agenda and overview of homework assignments and concludes with the rationale and engagement of imaginal publicity and processing of ideas and emotions in regard to the publicity (Foa et al., 2007).  Evaluation of imaginal publicity recording and continuation of in vivo exposures shall be assigned as homework (Foa et al., 2007).  Classes 4 to 9 continues with overview of homework; in-session imaginal exposures, with an emphasizes on scorching spot; dialogue of cognitions and feelings associated to the publicity; and in-depth overview of in vivo exposures (Foa et al., 2007).  The ultimate session will include homework overview, an abbreviated imaginal publicity, exploration of the publicity, and dialogue of practices and doable relapse posttreatment (Foa et al., 2007). 

What Really Occurred

Session one consisted of the administration of the PCL-5 and dialogue of the rationale of PE.  Whereas Harriet had already performed her personal analysis, she engaged within the dialogue and offered her ideas about remedy.  Harriet offered background info pertaining to her MST and medical process.  She additionally mentioned a few of her trauma-related signs (i.e., anxiousness assaults and detrimental cognitions).  Therapist introduction deep respiration and assigned as homework.  Throughout session two Harriet mentioned her “dangerous desires” that usually contain her MST and total navy expertise.  She additionally explored her worry of partaking in PE, computerized ideas, and acceptance of her MST.  Harriet acknowledged step one of her acceptance is studying the small print of her assault, which she wrote in her journal.  Homework assignments included MST journal studying and deep respiration.  Therapist additionally requested Harriet to deliver journal to subsequent session.  After a check-in and whereas setting the agenda, in session three, Harriet acknowledged she didn't wish to speak about something and he or she “give a rattling.”  The therapist explored Harriet’s emotions which led to dialogue of Harriet’s childhood and household historical past.  Harriet additionally talked about that she continued to have anxiousness assaults and nightmares.  Lastly, Harriet mentioned why she didn't full her homework project.  All through the session, therapist supported Harriet as she mentioned her household historical past and linked Harriet’s household historical past and trauma to her fears and computerized ideas about her MST.  Therapist validated Harriet’s emotions and reminded Harriet of the constructive results of PE.  Homework project included deep respiration together with studying and bringing MST journal entries to session 4. 

Harriet made nice progress in session 4; though she didn't deliver her journal, she mentioned her trauma and recalled forgotten particulars.  Harriet additionally explored the detrimental emotions and ideas she has in the direction of her drill sergeant.  Harriet stopped speaking midway by way of the publicity and acknowledged, “I shared an excessive amount of info with you.”  Subsequently, Harriet and the therapist processed the publicity and explored her feelings.  In addition they mentioned Homework project included studying and bringing MST journal entries to session 5.

Classes six and 7 had been abbreviated on account of Harriet being late.  Nonetheless, Harriet continued to discover feelings surrounding the trauma.  Therapist assigned homework for every session.  After session seven, Harriet obtained employment and stopped coming to remedy.  She unexpectedly returned one month later.  Through the follow-up session, Harriet

Obstacles to Therapy

Primarily based on widespread information, obstacles are obstacles that hinder each the affected person and therapist from progressing ahead in remedy.  Harriet’s most outstanding obstacles to remedy embrace perception and avoidance.  Harriet performed analysis and is educated of the rationale, goal, and the constructive results of publicity remedy.  Nonetheless, Harriet’s worry of how the therapist would understand her hindered Harriet from absolutely partaking in remedy.  Subsequently, Harriet mentioned the that means of acceptance and explored her feelings.  Though Harriet knew the therapist wouldn't view her as being weak or weak, Harriet’s worth of all the time being a powerful lady additionally turned a barrier to remedy.  Harriet typically acknowledged, “I do know that discussing what occurred to me is the one method to transfer ahead, I'm simply not prepared to simply accept it.”


As with all obstacles that develop in remedy, I obtained medical supervision.  Scientific supervision allowed me to repeatedly conceptualize Harriet’s case in addition to talk about her progress and my medical abilities.  Scientific supervision additionally provided an alternate perspective permitting me to acknowledge and develop an inexpensive line between accepting Harriet’s avoidance and conducting publicity remedy.  There have been a number of events after I took a step again and allowed Harriet to direct the session.  On this, I spotted that conducting remedy at a VA hospital is completely different than conducting remedy at an disorder-focused middle.  In contrast to purchasers who search particular remedy, veterans usually pursue remedy with the intent to obtain supportive and speak remedy. 


Throughout my time with Harriet, I acknowledged my frustration and consciously decided to not enable my feelings to be a barrier in remedy.  Maybe, my frustration emanated from Harriet’s perception and self-awareness, however unwillingness to totally interact in remedy.  Work with Harriet allowed me to acknowledge that regardless of how a lot a therapist engages and tries to maneuver the consumer past their consolation zone,  the therapist ought to meet the consumer the place they're, as an alternative of working towards the consumer.  I provided Harriet empathy and explored her perspective to make sure she felt heard and understood and never judged.  Assembly Harriet at her stage of functioning eliminated obstacles and allowed Harriet to brazenly talk about her emotions associated to her trauma.  I now have an improved understanding of endurance and empathy for working with feminine veterans identified with PTSD.

Cultural Issues

Cultural components, background, private relationships, ethical and worth methods, socioeconomic standing, and faith ought to all be thought of when offering remedy.  Moreover, because the therapist, I need to pay attention to my background, attitudes, values, and biases as every could affect my capacity to conduct remedy.  Moreover, I need to educate myself to make sure I've a fundamental stage of understanding for every consumer’s various background.  The popularity and exploration of cultural variations are essential and might enhance purchasers’ consciousness of how their cultural concerns affect their psychological well being and remedy out. 

As I thought of Harriet’s cultural background, which consisted of principally African-American ladies, I used to be reminded that Harriet’s resistance to remedy could have originated from the stigma of African-People looking for psychological well being remedy.  Harriet was raised by her grandmother to be a powerful Black lady and to all the time defend herself.  Moreover, Harriet was taught to wish and browse her Bible to cope with anxious conditions.  Cultural concerns equivalent to psychological well being stigma and judgement within the African-American group had been explored in remedy.  Moreover, Harriet offered her definition of a weak lady and mentioned her that means of being a powerful Black lady.  I offered Harriet with empathy and psychoeducation, reviewing a few of the constructive results of remedy within the African-American group.  I additionally obtained supervision and mentioned the appropriateness of addressing tradition from private and professional views to construct rapport.



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