Edna Foa – a Huge Influencer on the Treatment of PTSD

When you think of who would be the most influential in this world, who do you think of? Maybe it’s one of the presidents, a celebrity, or even a well-known scientist. Time Magazine has composed a list of the Top 100 Influential people in the world, and while it does include those kinds of people, it also has one name that you might not expect. Her name is Edna Foa.

 

Edna Foa, MD, is a huge influence in the world of mental health and PTSD, and she has been a  big success in finding ways to help those that struggle with trauma. So much so that she’s earned a spot in the list of 100 most influential people in the world.

 

If you suffer from any mental illness, especially PTSD, you should know her name for how much she has given us. She first began by studying post-rape trauma. It was a good field to be in, and there was a lot to learn there. In 2000 though, when she when on sabbatical with her husband, was when she really found her calling. They went to Israel, and just 5 days after getting there, the second intifadeh began. This encouraged Foa to begin focusing on combat-related PTSD.

 

Edna Foa then came to create a form of therapy called Prolonged Exposure, or PE, and the results of this technique were incredible. They just couldn’t be ignored.

 

PE therapy works by first figuring out what thoughts and situations trigger the PTSD patient. Then, the patient is slowly exposed to their fears so that they can work on overcoming them. This starts out by first dragging up the memories that the person carries, and going through them bit by bit and unraveling everything that’s beneath the surface. Once this is done, they eventually begin to face their fears by being physically exposed to them. These fear can be certain places and even specific circumstances.

 

The results of this treatment just couldn’t be overlooked, and PTSD sufferers usually felt better within just 12 weeks. No other form of treatment seemed to be this effective. PE has made a hugely positive impact on the way that we now treat PTSD, and more and more people are able to get the relief that they need from it. Even the military has picked it up and uses it to treat combat-related PTSD, those that have suffered in war and battle.

 

If you’d like to know more about Edna Foa and what she has done for the treatment of PTSD and other mental health issues, she has many published books and articles that you can check out. A great one is “PTSD: Treatment Efficacy and Future Directions”  for Psychiatric Times. She has truly made a big difference in this world, and it has earned her a spot on the list of Top 100 influencers in the world. PTSD is a serious illness to have to battle, but healing is more possible than ever thanks to people like Edna Foa.

 

Are Narcissists Capable of Feeling Empathy?

If you’ve ever had to deal with a narcissist, you know that they are very good at manipulating you and putting on a show for others. Everything always has to be about them, and it seems as though they never care about you or anyone else. The problem is that for those that suffer from Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), they tend to lack empathy. But can they help this? Is there hope for narcissists to be able to relate and feel empathetic towards others? The answer might have to do with their level of NPD.

 

Just like all mental health disorders, the severity of narcissism can vary. For those that have been clinically diagnosed with NPD, they are more likely to be volatile and unpredictable and refuse to see the problems and seek help. Subclinical NPD, on the other hand, can be much more manageable. This type is more common, and many with subclinical NPD even go on to live normal, successful lives.

 

In various studies involving subclinical narcissists, it was made clear that these narcissists didn’t show empathy when exposed to a saddening story – such as a harsh breakup or domestic abuse – while non-narcissists did.

 

Except! – when the narcissists were prompted with a comment such as “imagine how they feel in this situation,” or “put yourself in their shoes.” When subtly ask to do these things, the reaction of the narcissists changed.

 

When the non-narcissists were prompted with the same comments, they didn’t react because they were naturally inclined to put themselves in the other person’s shoes in the first place. This did not come naturally to the narcissists, but when prompted, they were capable of doing so.

 

This shows that, at least for those with subclinical narcissism, there is hope that they can learn to feel empathy towards others. We can see that this is especially true because our bodies physically respond to feeling empathetic as well. Your heart rate changes and increases when you feel empathy for another person.

 

During the studies and experiments with the non-narcissists and subclinical narcissists, we might’ve expected the empathetic responses from the narcissists to only be external, as narcissists have a tendency to be manipulative and say what they think others want to hear in order to reap the benefits. But monitoring heartrate disproved this, and we could see that what they were feeling was true and honest empathy for the people in the sad stories.

 

So the answer is yes – many narcissists are able to feel empathy. They just might need some help to get there. Giving them support and encouragement can go a long way in helping them learn to recognize when they should be empathetic, but the first step is for them to realize that they need to work on things and be willing to receive the help they need. A great option is to get therapy, as a therapist is going to be more experienced with narcissistic behavior, and know the right way to approach the entire situation.