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June 5, 2015

Helpful: psychotherapeutic field service on spot nearest to the war

War operations challenge different forms of psychological responses to stress situations in a great number of soldiers, all of which can best be described as combat stress reactions. The nature of reaction can be such to significantly prevent a person to function under war circumstances and to keep him from being effective. Croatian Psychiatrists and Psychologists described their therapeutic experiences in a special issue of "Psychologische Beiträge".

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Stress reactions affecting soldiers have been observed in all wars, however, the psychiatrists tried for the first time to treat them and prevent their further negative consequences in the Russian-Prussian War of 1904. Then it was noticed that the rule of "proximity, immediacy, and expectancy" would produce the best results, not only in preventing a great number of soldiers from becoming disabled due to psychotraumatization, but that it would act as the prevention of later chronification of psychotrauma, which otherwise at that stage would present a therapeutical problem with partial prospects of cure.

With time this rule has become the prevailing military doctrine of modern armies, and was fully developed in America. In their attempt to treat combat stress reactions nearest to the war affected area, as soon as possible, in order to enable soldiers to go back to fighting units fast, the Croatian Army General Medical Corps recommended during the war 1991/1992 field service organization, consisting of psychiatrists, psychologists or welfare workers and other medical staff to intervene on spot as needed or when called on to render such a service.

Dres. R. Stipec and T. Franciskovic describe results, which "were more than encouraging: the number of psychiatric interventions increased, numerous group interventions were organized in critical situations, there were group therapies frequently available for officers, and influenced by the actual critical situation in army quarters." The psychiatrists (Clinical Center Rijeka) conclude: "The number of patients taken care of on the spot shows the need for and advantages of field service ..."


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