Use of Psychoanalytic Concepts in the Treatment of PTSD: Article Review

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Traumatic experiences are a terrible thing for anyone experience. But they do happen to people. When these events transpire, it is possible that the victim of the incident will start showing symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The DSM-5 lets us know that some of the people who are most likely to be affected by PTSD are the “survivors of rape, military combat and captivity, and ethnically or politically motivated internment and genocide” (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). We hope that such horrible events would never happen to any of the students that we will work with. But we don’t live in a perfect world. These events, as well as an increasing amount of school shootings make knowing how the treatments for PSTD work are useful for us as school counselors.

The article ‘Embodied Simulation in Exposure-Based Therapies for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder - a Possible Integration of Cognitive Behavioral Theories, Neuroscience, and Psychoanalysis’ by Peri, Gofman, Shahar and Tuval-Mashiach (2015), that I read, was looking at how psychoanalytic concepts are currently being used in the cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) interventions used in treating PTSD, and how CBT interventions could potentially be improved by embracing psychoanalytic concepts. The authors inform us that a common treatment of PTSD is the use of exposure-based therapies, but these therapies do not reflect upon how the interaction of the client and the therapist influences the therapy received. Two recently found concepts, the theory of embodied simulation (ES) and mirror-neuron system, are used to form the authors hypothesis “that during exposure to trauma memories, emotional responses of the patient are transferred to the therapist through ES and then mirrored back to the patient in a modulated way” (Peri et al., 2015).

I found this article to be very interesting. The authors are using recently discovered ideas to try and explain how the patient-therapist relationship has an effect CBT and how this relationship could potentially be used to better our current methods of PTSD interventions. I find it fascinating to learn about the possible reasoning that psychoanalytic theories work the way that they do. I also feel that it is important to not just understand how to do something, but why it works as well. This article seems to present reasoning for why psychoanalysis works as well as it does and how it can help improve other currently used therapies.

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Another reason that I find the material in this article important is because learning how these therapies work can help you explain what a student who is going to get treatment will experience. A child who is suffering from PTSD might be scared before going to treatment. As a counselor, you should be able to help explain what it is and hopefully make it less scary for them to go to the first time. As school counsellors we will not be able to help treat every disorder that our students develop. That is why it is key for us to know what resources are available for them, and a broad idea of what the treatment is. The knowledge that we have can help our students understand what they are going to go do.

One part of the article that I was not fond of is that they state their hypothesis but they did not try to test it. The authors learned about embodied simulations and mirror-system neurons. They made their hypothesis about the potential relation between those two ideas and psychoanalytic therapy. And then brought their hypothesis about how these concepts relate in PTSD interventions to the scientific community. But they did not test their hypothesis in this article. They did bring up a potential way to test the hypothesis and I hope that they are able to test it so we can see how accurate their hypothesis is.

The authors of this article use recent discoveries in neuroscience to attempt to explain how psychoanalysis therapy works using the context of PTSD. I feel that they are on to something that is important to understand. But as of the time of the writing of the article, they had not been able to test their hypothesis. This is connected to our students because our students may potentially be diagnosed with PTSD and if they are, it is important to have a basis of what the treatments are so we can help inform the students and help alleviate some of the fear that they might face before starting the treatments.

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Use of Psychoanalytic Concepts in the Treatment of PTSD: Article Review. (2022, December 15). Edubirdie. Retrieved May 20, 2024, from
“Use of Psychoanalytic Concepts in the Treatment of PTSD: Article Review.” Edubirdie, 15 Dec. 2022,
Use of Psychoanalytic Concepts in the Treatment of PTSD: Article Review. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 20 May 2024].
Use of Psychoanalytic Concepts in the Treatment of PTSD: Article Review [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Dec 15 [cited 2024 May 20]. Available from:

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