Our world leading expertise in trauma
School of SSESW academic Michael Duffy, a world leading expert on trauma, worked with BBC Northern Ireland on a new documentary about the impact that Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) has had on four individuals. PTSD is a memory disorder caused by very stressful, frightening or distressing events. Someone with PTSD often relives the traumatic event through nightmares and flashbacks, and may experience feelings of isolation, irritability and guilt.
The programme ('PTSD - Stress of the Past', broadcast on 17 February) meets four individuals who have had traumatic experiences. With their permission, it reveals how these episodes have affected their lives and their families and shows footage of some of them undergoing Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, one of the methods used to treat PTSD, which can help the individual manage their problems by changing the way they think and behave.
Michael Duffy, who takes the sessions, explains: ‘It’s [PTSD] actually a memory related disorder. It is a problem with memory being disjointed, of memory not being updated and therefore even though the trauma happened years ago it can still terrorise people today as if it is happening over and over again.’
These therapy sessions reveal the intimate and harrowing journey of recovery that individuals had to undertake. This includes a survivor of the Omagh bomb who was 15 years old when it exploded in August 1998.
The film also features a police officer who was at the scene of the Omagh bomb, Claire (whose identity has been concealed), who talks about being raped by different men on separate occasions, and Mark McCormick who witnessed the attack on Westminster Bridge in March 2017 in which six people were killed.