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How computers can help process trauma

Science-Online.org reports:

A traumatic experience can haunt victims for a long time and affect their entire lives. New studies are investigating the effect of computer training, among other things, as an adjunct to therapy to treat trauma sequelae such as recurring stressful images and impressions of the traumatic experience. A team from the psychology departments of Ruhr-Universität Bochum and Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich reviewed the relevant research literature and concluded that computer-based cognitive training has yielded promising initial results. They report in the June 7, 2022, issue of the journal Behavior Therapy.

After a situation involving intense fear and perhaps even life-threatening danger, some sufferers continue to struggle with it for weeks, months, or even years later. Among other things, they suffer from so-called intrusions: They experience intense memories of the trauma that feel as if the trauma is happening again in the here and now. Such intrusions can be very overwhelming and are accompanied by strong negative emotions. If such symptoms persist for more than a month, experts speak of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). “The cognitive models of post-traumatic stress disorder assume that the symptoms are based on altered and, above all, dysfunctional information processing,” explains Prof. Dr. Marcella Woud (A13), psychologist and psychological psychotherapist in the Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy Unit at RUB.

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