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That Guy, Is He Really Sick at All?” An Analysis of How Veterans with PTSD Experience Nature-Based Therapy

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Abstract: Serving in the military leads to mental diseases, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), for a percentage of soldiers globally. The number of veterans with PTSD is increasing and, although medication and psychological treatments are offered, treatment results could be improved. Historically, ifferent forms of nature-based therapy have been used for this target group. However, in spite of anecdotally good results, studies measuring the effect of this form of therapy are still lacking. The aim of this study is to explore how veterans with PTSD manage their everyday lives during and after a ten-week nature-based intervention in a therapy garden. Methods: Eight veterans participated in qualitative interviews, which were conducted during a one-year period and were
analyzed using interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA). Results: Five themes emerged from the IPA analysis: Bodily symptoms; relationships; building new identities; the future; and lessons learned. All the participating veterans gained a greater insight into and mastering of their condition, achieved better control of their lives, and developed tools to handle life situations more appropriately and to build a new identity. This improved their ability to participate in social activities and employment. Conclusion: The results should be considered in the future treatment of veterans with PTSD.
Original languageEnglish
Article number64
Issue number2
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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