About the Get Trauma Information (GeTI) project - Why we do it, and why you may want to join us

by Tom Cloyd - 6 min. read - (reviewed 2024-03-01:1619 PST)

As human beings, our ability to act for our own benefit and the benefit of others is fundamental to who we are. At this website we focus on personal response-ability, and offer ways that you can act for yourself and for those you care about most. We hope that our efforts help you become more secure, satisfied, and competent in your personal life.

Contents of this page…

Mission ^

We seek…

  1. To publish evidence-based, useful information about psychological trauma and associated disorders. The nature, effect, and epidemiology of such disorders is not well understood by many non-professionals, and also by too many healthcare professionals. The basic concept of a trauma disorder is an historically recent one, and folkloric ideas about mental illness in general and persistent distress due to personal catastrophic experiences specifically remain a major block to needed diagnosis and treatment.
  2. To describe “best practices” for recovery from psychological trauma and for promotion of psychological health. We will focus on the problem of emotionalized learning, both in its more common subclinical forms (avoidances, phobias, etc.) and in its clinical forms - the diagnoses of acute stress disorder (ASD) and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). We include also in this focus developmental stress disorders such as Complex PTSD and dissociative identity disorder (DID).
  3. To assist those with psychological challenges and also the general public in learning to distinguish real knowledge from mere claim, proposition, and hypothesis, so that they can better navigate the large mass of public information offered to them about mental illness and mental health, some of which is serious misinformation. In practice, this means that we strongly emphasize evidence-based thinking and interventions.
  4. To assist people in doing more for themselves, and in knowing when it is wise to engage with others - both with their peers and with health care professionals - to achieve and maintain the level of mental health they want.

Our project requires considerable investment of time, thought, and effort. Why do we do it? A brief account of recent health care history will help to answer this question.

There has always been much pain in the world. For most of human history, physical pain alone received formal, thoughtful attention. It took a very long time - until the late 19th century - for anything much to come of it. Until the emergence of evidence based health care, infectious disease decimated the newly born and the old or injured. Severe physical trauma was either crippling or fatal. Surgery was most of the time itself psychologically traumatic and often disfiguring.

Mental distress and disease received far less attention, with inattention, minimization, and denial dominating our responses. Too often mental illness was responded to with outright abuse.

With the rise of science as a result of the general increase in population, wealth, education, and humanistic values in society, a few compassionate individuals began to pay thoughtful attention to problems of serious mental distress and pain. Not much came of this until the early part of the 20th century, and even then the progress was slow.

For a long time, the relation between thought and actual systematic observation was almost non-existent. To attempt to understand reality without actually carefully observing it seems foolish to us now, yet for a long time mere occasional observation, rather than careful, systematic observation, was the basis, at best, of our attempts to relieve human mental suffering. The results were predictably poor.

Not quite 50 years ago, with the publication of the DSM-III in 19801, a formal commitment was made to base diagnosis, if not treatment, on actual research. It was immediately obvious that in most areas the research base both diagnosis and treatment was seriously inadequate. Since then, the situation has improved, unevenly, and erratically. But in many areas of managing mental health, we are considerably better off now than in former times.

With the publication of the Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (fifth edition) (DSM-5)2, the trend toward evidence-based thinking has continued, at least relative to diagnosis. But the situation in the domain of treatment is more challenging. Studies of treatment efficacy are time-consuming and costly, and there is insufficient cultural value placed on them, so funding is always a problem. Still, we now have some approaches that possess substantial evidence for their efficacy.

Our interest is especially focused on the problem of acquired, learned perceptions, emotions, and behaviors which are formalized as trauma disorders, for in this area there have been dramatic developments in thinking and treatment responses. Those developments are not widely enough known, and thus not widely enough applied. The need for education is not just to be focused on the general population, where it surely is needed, but also on the professional community as well, where too many care providers still appear unaware of what we now know and can achieve.

The result of this is that people suffer needlessly. They receive no treatment or the wrong treatment. This problem is of great concern to us.

Compassion is defined as witnessing the distress of another person, feeling distress about what we see, and desiring to relieve that persons distress. In short, we feel compassion for those who we know suffer mental distress needlessly, due to fundamental ignorance or lack of access to resources.

Our educational goals encompass multiple concerns. Educating about evidence-based treatment models and the outcomes to be expected from them surely head the list. But there are also fundamental concerns that are more basic, such as how it is we can get real knowledge about anything, and particularly about dealing effectively with human mental suffering.

Too many treatment decisions are made, and historically have been made, on a very modest evidence base. This has been a problem in health care in general, for years, but to continue this practice in areas of mental health when we actually have a good evidence base is unacceptable. So, one of our concerns is to lay out what we now know about treatment of learned emotional reactions such as the trauma disorders (Acute Stress Disorder, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Dissociative Identity Disorder, and others). We want to make it as clear as possible that we now have this knowledge.

The current status of this website reflects developmental model.

In the business world, great effort is devoted to “impression management”. The goal is always to appear mature, developed, ready to market a product, and so on.

In contrast, in the extremely dynamic world of software development and artificial intelligence, the notions of overt collaboration and incremental development are embraced as a functional necessity: product developers simply do not know enough to go it alone, and they know it and act like it.

Here, we also embrace and embody the values of overt collaboration and incremental development as functional necessities.

Overt collaboration means that we seek feedback openly and broadly, as early as possible. That requires that we release our work into the public arena sometimes unfinished and not even necessarily well planned, specifically so that we can engage in a dialog with those who will be using it, letting their responses direct our ongoing efforts. Respect for those providing feedback is inherent in this development model.

Incremental development means that we commit to ongoing improvement in our work product, so that over time it increasingly meets the needs of those for whom it is intended.

Concretely what this means is that website pages will be made available early their developmental process. These pages may not to be complete, and may even contain material that will later require correction. We refuse to be bothered by this, for several reasons:

  • We admit overtly to imperfection, in all things. Honesty compels us to be transparent about this, even as we try our best for what we’ll never attain.
  • We need direction from all sources. We may start something, but cannot adequately develop it without assistance from others.
  • We know of people who are waiting for us to release material, in whatever form it currently exists, so that they can use it. It seems wrong to make them wait for fear that we might appear to others as incompetent or uncaring about form. Such is hardly the case, but there are high priorities for us.

While we may in the future have a website email newsletter, at present the best way to stay current with development is to attend to our online Facebook community - Trauma and dissociation education and advocacy community

We encourage you to become a part of this project. Begin by reading How to partipate in the GeTI project - If you’re interested, there’s a place here for you!.

Notes ^

  1. American Psychiatric Association. (1980). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (third edition). American Psychiatric Association; x. ^

  2. American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (fifth edition). American Psychiatric Association. ^

 

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