“It got to the place where I never wanted to sleep, so I was exhausted a lot, and to most people it appeared that I was lazy. But it was easier for me to shut down than to talk about it.” It was also easier for him to anesthetize himself with vodka until he passed out. Among the untallied casualties was O'Hara's marriage. He had no hobbies, participated in no social activities, shunned friends, avoided public excursions. “I was totally paranoid - I always had the feeling that something bad was going to happen.”
And that's where it might have ended, in the burgeoning Department of Veterans Affairs database for post-traumatic stress disorder, where roughly 8,000 veterans from as far back as Vietnam find it easier to kill themselves each year than to contend with the past. Then, last October, O'Hara, 43, met Clinical Psychologist George Lindenfeld in Asheville, North Carolina. Lindenfeld offered him a cushioned headset and provided him with a treatment called RESET Therapy.
For the next 20 minutes or so, Lindenfeld asked O'Hara to mentally revisit the Green Ramp Disaster. “When the session ended, it changed me. It was instantaneous; I've never slept so good in my life. It sounds too good to be true, I know. Believe me, when I first heard about it, you have no idea how skeptical I was.
“It was as if the incapacitating emotions connected to the 20-year-old horror story had disintegrated. Today, O'Hara counts himself as a yet another one of Lindenfeld's success stories. And he is eager to talk about it. "I'll do anything I can to help Dr. George spread the word," he says, "because I want to help other veterans the way he helped me. It really altered! Afterwards, Dr. Lindenfeld said my brain had reset. As I tried to think of it immediately after, there were fewer details and the images were fuzzy where before they had been so focused. I was asked to compare the intensity from when we first started to how I was at the end of it and honestly, I said that it went from a 10 to a 1.
I still don’t really understand how this happened but with one treatment, my wife says I’m a changed man. I asked her what she meant and she said, when you came home you’ve become that boy I fell in love with 25 years ago. I can feel the change in me now. I laugh again. I enjoy life and I love my wife. Since my treatment, I had been able to sleep 8 hours a night like I used to with no flashbacks, no nightmares and no survivor’s remorse. Also, since my treatment, I have lost 20 pounds, have more energy and I have come to enjoy life.”
Dr. John Hummer
I had the privilege of recently meeting with Dr. George Lindenfeld and putting my skepticism about this new method directly to the test - by requesting a session to address an unresolved stuck trauma. Just imaging it would make my insides cringe, my fingers wrap into a tight ball, and I would exert all of my effort in trying to push it out of my mind.
Although I am a practitioner of EMDR, and of Neurofeedback as well, these methods were unsuccessful in making headway with this particular disturbing memory. When Dr. Lindenfeld tuned into the resonant frequency, it was like an accelerator being pushed down on a motorcycle zooming out from 0 – 60 mph in one second. The target lit up like a ball of fire, and my sympathetic nervous system engaged (huffing and puffing for breath, heart racing, sweating, cringing/squirming, tensing and bracing my muscles. While this was happening, a curious visualization came to my mind involving a mending of my trauma. My breathing slowed, and in what seemed like only moments later, Dr. Lindenfeld stopped the sound.
The result, after only 5 minutes of the binaural beat, was at least a 50% decrease in the intensity of the trauma. If I visualize it now, I no longer cringe or try to push it out of my mind. It goes away on its own in a moment. This was no placebo, and this did not happen with any other method. I slept well through half the night, and had a weird dream during the second half. By the next day, the improvement level had remained at least 50% improved. Absolutely remarkable! I have noticed other positive improvements such as less anxiety and tension when I drive a car.
I beckon all mental health professionals working with psychological trauma in its many forms to ‘take the skeptic test’ and undergo a short session of RESET Therapy with a clinician who has been properly trained and certified in its use. If your experience is anything like mine, you will feel a burst of excitement, want to seek more training, get the word out to colleagues, and realize that careful research needs be conducted by those of us who seek to remediate trauma.
Dr. Lindenfeld is to be commended for introducing me to the RESET Therapy protocol, a truly revolutionary, brief, minimally invasive, and effective treatment for PTSD and related conditions. A masterful clinician and teacher, he is a humane, compassionate individual who at age 77 (when others are retired) has dedicated his life to training and certifying others in the RESET Therapy method, promulgating research studies and information about the method, and committing himself to the goal of reducing the suffering experienced by persons exposed to trauma, especially Veterans. Thank you for a truly wonderful and lasting gift, Dr. Lindenfeld!
Dr. John Hummer
Licensed Clinical Psychologist/Neurotherapist
Corporal Risha's duty assignment was to man the gunner’s slot on a mobile armored vehicle.
Corporal Wade Risha served honorably in the United States Marine Corps from 2009 to 2013, spending nine months in Helmand province located in southwest Afghanistan. He did this in support of the 2010 offensive to destroy the Taliban stronghold in Marjah. On one occasion his convoy visited a remote U.S. combat outpost at dusk. An explosion a distance away led to his team investigating the incident. What they found was that a farmer on a tractor pulling a wagon loaded with children had unintentionally detonated an IED. He recalled that two of the kids were still alive, but he is unsure if they made it or not. A medevac unit ferried the victims away. Just weeks ago (prior to his treatment), whenever Risha saw children anywhere, the IED scene would flare up on him with its initial ferocity.
Wade, with his headset on and plugged-in, is provided with verbal instructions as an acoustical tone is introduced that is designed to resonate with circuits in the brain containing the trauma memory. Wade adjusts the volume control dials on his own to attain a relatively loud but balanced level.
Then Wade is instructed to revisit a ‘triggering event’ as though it were actually happening before him. He is told to be in the situation completely and fully, visualizing it unfold, and experiencing all of the senses he had at the time. Wade said, “OK, so we rolled up” – at this point he is stopped and told to keep it inside of him.
Wade is clearly now fully-engaged internally in the fight-or-flight place by revisiting the atrocity that fused his memory circuits and consolidated that horrific encounter into his emotional hard-drive.
Finally, taking hand-signal cues from Wade, Dr. Lindenfeld then tunes in a binaural pulse that prevents the trauma from reconsolidating back once again to its original debilitating state. As a trial to ensure that the settings were indeed resonating with the targeted trauma, the disruptor signal was run for five silent minutes. Then Wade was asked to revisit the triggering event once more.
He reported having “trouble getting there. It’s kind of foggy . . . it’s like there’s a cloud in my way . . . it’s just pieces now . . . it’s really fuzzy . . . it’s kind of strange . . .” At this point, the ‘tuning in’ session is over. On his return a week later, Wade was unable to recall the triggering event at any level of intensity as he did before. He is still able to remember what happened to the children in the wagon, but he is no longer an emotional hostage to the incident.