Few clinicians or mental health professionals can say they have never had a patient or client who presented with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. Whether the trauma is war, car accident, or medical event, most mental health professionals will at some point be faced with the challenge of helping a traumatized person regain his or her sense of trust and safety. Professionals and lay people alike often find themselves needing more information on a particular disorder or case. Yet the seeming paradox of this "information age" is that there is sometimes too much information out there. Wait a minute, too much information? How can there be such as thing as too much information? Well, in an absolute sense there cannot be. However, the rate at which information is generated today is unprecedented. It's extremely difficult, if not impossible, to keep up. In true modern fashion, most us need and often look for a shortcut.
I see each of us in this information-driven world as synthesizers of vast amounts of knowledge. But bringing together the totality of information one wants on a particular topic in a concise and useable form is a daunting task.
There is so much information to be condensed and so little time. That is exactly the role of a book like the Concise Guide to Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. The guiding principles of the CGPTSD are concise and useful. The CGPTSD strives to be brief, eliminating superfluous and excessively elaborative detail, while delivering solid information. Each section and chapter stands on its own in order to eliminate the typical necessity of having to read chapters the knowledge seeker does not have the time for nor the interest in. By being concise, this book saves the knowledge seeker valuable time and energy. One need not be thoroughly intrigued by the topic of PTSD in order to benefit from this book. Because it is a guide, it is intended to be a roadmap, essentially useful by getting you to where you want to be without unnecessary detours and sightseeing. Keep in mind, however, that you can sightsee if you wish. There is plenty of information to attract the wandering mind. But if you want something specific, all you have to do is go the section you want to know more about. If you want to know about treatment of PTSD, go to the treatment section. If you want to know what the newest research is focusing on, go to the newest research section.
I have a mechanic friend that came over to my house after I had moved. I was apologetic about how my office looked and how even though I had increased my office space seemingly exponentially, I still didn't have enough room, and I recall making some self-deprecating comment about having too many books and articles. His response was inspirational, not to mention a good excuse to keep amassing:
Your books and articles are your tools. You can never have enough tools. Sometimes having the right tool can make all the difference in getting a job done. I'm always looking for new tools and making sure my tool selection is as diverse as possible. Don't apologize for having too many tools or knowledge at your disposal.
He was right. Along with my clinical skills, experience, and training, my books and articles are the tools of my trade. My hopes for the CGPTSD is that it will be the crescent wrench or hammer in your home. I hope it's the duct tape of your work with those coping with PSTD. The CGPTSD should be an overused tool that can always do the job and fit your needs as a clinician, student, or layperson. So don't think of the CGPTSD as just another book. Think of it as an instrument necessary to the operation of your vocation, a means to an end, an instrument to be manipulated to help you get your particular job done.
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