United Hatzalah EMT and psychotrauma volunteer Linor Attias with Jewish Ukrainian child at a Moldovan border crossing, Feb. 27, 2022. (United Hatzalah) (United Hatzalah)

‘These experiences are beyond anything we have seen. The tools we have used until now are insufficient.’

By Shula Rosen

Hebrew University has opened a new institute to train trauma therapists who are dealing with patients whose lives have been turned upside down by the events of October 7th and the ongoing war.

The Institute for Traumatic Stress and Recovery will create a multi-disciplinary approach to research trauma and its effects and develop treatment and resilience training for those who are diagnosed with trauma-related conditions.

Since October 7th, 200,000 Israelis have been displaced from their homes, many thousands have served in the armed forces and have been wounded or have lost comrades.

In addition, there are many bereaved families and those whose loved ones are still hostages in Gaza.

“These experiences are beyond anything we have seen,” said Prof. Asher Ben-Arieh, dean of the Hebrew University Paul Baerwald School of Social Work and Social Welfare and CEO of the Haruv Institute for the Study of Child Maltreatment.

He said, “The tools we have used until now are insufficient.”

Although Israelis have been no stranger to wars and terror attacks, there is a need for protocol to treat children, particularly those who have been taken hostage or have witness the murder or kidnapping of their parents.

Ben-Arieh believes that 25-50% of those exposed to serious traumas are likely to develop long-term PTSD.

The institute is designed  to train therapists in evidence-based practices and to provide comprehensive care centered around the individual patient.

“This proactive approach will not only enhance the capacity for timely and effective trauma intervention, but also contribute to a more informed and resilient community as a whole,” said Hebrew University psychology Prof. Jonathan Huppert.

Huppert also discussed treating effects of trauma that don’t develop into full-blown PTSD.

“Not everyone has PTSD. Some have stress, grief, and difficulty coping with the effects of being relocated,” he said.

“Since October 7, people are more stressed in general. They may experience more negative thinking, trouble sleeping, more physical aches and pains, muscle tension.”

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