I am a 40 year old Afghanistan Veteran from BC, Canada. I served on one combat tour in Kandahar with the Canadian Forces in 2006. During my
tour I endured an anti tank mine blast while in a LAV early in my tour and remained with my Company to see the tour to the end. Through the summer months of 2006 I experienced several more close range blasts, multiple combat situations and periods of sleep deprivation that went back to back for three months.
Since the tour I have been diagnosed with PTSD, TBI, and damage through my neck and spine. I have seen over a dozen different mental health professionals in the past 8 years and taken part in 4 very reputable group programs.
In the 8 years of treatments I have experienced, none have had quicker results than my visits with Lt. Col. Sears Taylor. The opportunity to sit down with a Vietnam Combat Veteran, who is also a qualified counseling professional, is a very rare and important opportunity for all young veterans dealing with the stressors of war. I have never made quicker gains with changing my anger triggers and moods than with Sears’ style of EMDR & OEI. The best reflections of results from treatments in ourselves is often from those closest to us. My wife is in tears of relief when I get cut off on the road now and I don’t yell or react…. at all.
EMDR with Sears is the first and only time where I have felt the change in me as the treatment is happening. I understand that the work on my condition will go on for most all my life but Sears Taylor has helped me and many of my friends from the military make huge gains that we could not find with any other form of therapy. I can never thank Sears enough for his tireless dedication towards his fellow brothers in arms.
I have known Mr. Taylor for about two years. We met in a therapeutic environment and it has been interesting and very productive to work with him. The techniques that he employs are non-conventional and different from some other cognitive therapies and medication mixes.
PTSD is complex and there is no “Silver Bullet” treatment, nor is there likely to be. It takes a variety of approaches and depending on the client and the counsellor, some are more successful than others. Mr. Taylor predominantly employs two systems: Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and Observed & Experiential Integration (OEI). My experience was limited, but in conversation with others they express great confidence in the treatment and Sears Taylor. A very important consideration for veterans is that Mr. Taylor has “been there” and brings combat experience, credibility and street smarts to the counseling environment.
Exposure therapy is a difficult process and has application in some “one off” situations. It is not for everyone. In combat or battle PTSD cases there tends to be sustained, long term, variable exposure to life threatening situations, extreme emotional stress (usually supressed), sensory overload, and a wide assortment of traumatic, no notice experiences. Mr. Taylor has adapted both EMDR and OEI to help with the unique Veteran experience.
Going to war is fairly easy: sign up for your respective national army, get trained and off you go: drums beating, flags flying. Paradoxically, coming home is when the problems occur. Many soldiers come home, acclimate and carry on. Sadly, there are those who can not make the adjustment and experience difficulty with life, family and the world in general. Another factor in the PTSD matrix is when it occurs. There is no fixed date or time. It can appear in one week or twenty years later given the right stimulus or triggers.
Sears Taylor and his thoughtful counselling and worldly experience benefits in language that soldiers (Canadian and American) understand. However, the American idiom can be curious, interesting and amusing at times for Canadians.
I did not know much about EMDR, however, had heard amazing stories of transformation in people who experienced debilitating trauma in their lives. Seeing many therapists in the past has yielded some insight, tools and a place to talk, however, often left me feeling that we were only scratching the surface and that there was much more underneath it all. When I started my sessions with Sears in June 2014, he immediately made me feel at ease and took the time to explain exactly how EMDR works. With this therapy tackling the root cause, I was able to see a difference just after one session and instantly believed that continued therapy was going to be a success. Sears always provides a very safe, compassionate, and honest environment and I always look forward to our sessions. I am so grateful to have such a wonderful and effective counsellor to work with. While the journey of healing is just beginning, I am feeling stronger, less worried, and more balanced.