PTSD research is in the news.
New PTSD Study in Johannesburg
This new study examines the effect of the Transcendental Meditation technique in reducing symptoms of PTS among undergraduate students after schooling in South Africa. Most of the students in the study had never been involved in war. Yet they had a traumatic history.
Students from UJ were used as the control group after being screened for PTS in 2013. Test instruments were:
- PTSD checklist — civilian (PCL-C),
- Beck Depression Inventory (BDI)
- Trauma History Questionnaire (THQ).
Students from the Johannesburg Maharishi Invincibility Institute (MII) were screened for PTS using the same tests in 2014.
Psychologists identified PTS symptoms in both groups.
The UJ control group received no further treatment.
After the initial pre-testing the MII experimental group was instructed in the Transcendental Meditation technique and practiced for 20 minutes, twice a day.
Conclusions of the pilot study indicate that Transcendental Meditation produces a significant reduction of PTS symptoms without the use of pharmacology or re-opening the traumatic event and creating secondary trauma in individuals. This replicates and extends the findings of a study we reported last year on Congolese war veterans.
What is so exciting is that this time the subjects were not war veterans but students right here in Joburg–and the same or greater magnitude of improvements were noted.
This study calls on professionals to reflect on positive alternative means of intervention as part of counselling best practice.