Simple Yet Innovative Method for Treating PTSD Developed by Discharged Israeli Mental Health Officer

Discharged Israeli army mental health officer, Moshe Farchi has developed a simple yet effective model for dealing with trauma which reduces Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Professionals, as well as laymen, are actively being trained in the method worldwide.

“Following decades of terror and war, Israel has more than its share of experience with trauma,” noted Dr. John A.I. Grossman, Chairman of LIBI USA, the official welfare fund of the IDF. “Taking care of soldier welfare is our mission and, by extension, aiding and preventing PTSD leads to productive civilians. This is an important discovery.”

The head of the Ministry of Defense, Deputy Director-General Hezi Mashita recently told the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that they are currently providing PTSD treatments for 4,649 disabled veterans of the Israel Defense Forces who are suffering from shell shock alone.

Through decades of involvement with Israel’s conflicts, Farchi recognized that a large part of PTSD is the immediate feeling of helplessness and numbness that people experience after an attack. “The opposite of helplessness is effective action,” described Farchi. “That’s why first of all we need to activate the person, to diminish the helplessness.”

This activation, which has now been scientifically proven to work, includes the asking of concrete and factual questions to the traumatized person. This gives the person the ability to make decisions, reminding them that they are still in control of their lives. It has been found that even the choosing of a drink of water or passing on the offer, helps the person avoid PTSD.

Farchi tested his theory during the 2014 Operation Protective Edge conflict between Israel and Arab terrorists in the Gaza Strip. Farchi went to Israel’s southern town of Ofakim, which was hit particularly hard by heavy rocket fire from Gaza. Residents who received Farchi’s intervention showed no occurrence of PTSD in the months following the war.

The method can be learned with a few hours of training, making it accessible to professional and laymen alike. Farchi has already trained professionals is Germany, the Philippines, Argentina, and England.

“Unfortunately, terror now reaches the four corners of the world,” noted Grossman. “I am proud that Israelis take their trials from living in Israel, learn from them, and develop creative and successful ways to help others. That’s the definition of being a light unto the nations.”

Psychiatrists using Farchi’s method of “resetting” a person into daily life following a traumatic event through conversation and decision making have found that it has both immediate and long-term positive effects as opposed to other methods, such as containing the person, which often fails to reduce anxiety. Though not a psychiatric treatment, it is a process, which can be done in two minutes, and gets the person thinking and decision making rather than focusing on their emotions. This frees them from their sense of helplessness and quickly brings them back to being functioning human beings.

“The two main goals of the Farchi system are to quickly return a person to being functional in a way that would reduce the risk of getting killed, and reducing the risk for more serious disorders in the future, such as PTSD,” explained Lieutenant Colonel Dr Ariel Ben Yehuda. “People in life-threatening situations tend to feel confused, lonely, frozen or disoriented. Farchi’s method addresses these issues.”

Farchi’s system is currently being implemented as part of IDF soldiers’ medical training.

“We know that victims of shell shock and PTSD have tremendous bureaucratic hurdles to prove their inability to function normally,” said Grossman. “If we can avoid the problem all together with this simple yet powerful method, we are truly doing a service to Israel, her soldiers and citizens worldwide.”

Unique Life-Saving Workshop in Israel Sponsored by LIBI USA

For the first time in Israel’s history, top surgeons throughout Israel and the Israel Defense Force (IDF) gathered to learn a new medical technique which stops bleeding in cases of trauma without an incision. Trauma specialists from South Africa, the US and Sweden came to the Holy Land to teach and demonstrate the groundbreaking procedure. The workshop took place on Kibbutz Lahav in Israel’s southern region, with eighty medical personnel in attendance.

LIBI USA is honored to have sponsored this trailblazing three-day workshop which will, no doubt, save lives in Israel and worldwide,” shared Dr. John A.I. Grossman, Chairman of LIBI USA, the official welfare fund of the IDF. “It was also a unique opportunity for medical professionals to unite in Israel, as saving lives is a Jewish and Israeli priority.”

Dr. Grossman referred to the Biblical commandment of pikuach nefesh, the preservation of human life. This commandment, derived from the Book of Leviticus, is so basic to Judaism is that it takes precedence over all others.

“So you shall keep My statutes and My judgments, by which a man may live if he does them.” (Leviticus 18:5)

The Talmud emphasizes that one should live by the commandments, not die by them. One who is zealous in saving a life is praised and one who hesitates to save a life is considered as one who has shed the person’s blood themselves, which the sages describe as “piety of madness.” In fact, to save and preserve a life, one must desecrate the Sabbath and even eat on the fast day of Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year.

“This is a new technique which requires specialized training in a controlled setting to master,” explained Colonel (res.) Dr. Ofer Merin, Director of the Trauma Unit and Preparedness of Mass Casualty Events at Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem and Commander of the IDF Field Hospital and General Staff’s Surgical Hospital Unit. “We are truly grateful to Dr. Grossman and LIBI USA for funding these life-saving workshops as simulated trauma scenarios with the use of REBOA are crucial to master this new technique.”

Resuscitative Endovascular Balloon Occlusion of the Aorta, or REBOA, is used when a person is rapidly bleeding to death. It involves the placement of a flexible catheter balloon into the aorta to control hemorrhaging in traumatic injuries and then inflating the balloon, which stops the bleeding.

The head of the Trauma and Combat Medicine Branch for the IDF, Lieutenant Colonel Dr. Avraham Yitzhak, was part of the team of experts learning and assessing the effectiveness and practicality of using REBOA on Israeli soldier trauma victims. “This important workshop united civilian and army surgeons to train in the cutting edge REBOA technology. Because of this workshop, the IDF might have an additional way to save lives,” Dr. Yitzhak told Breaking Israel News. “We are grateful to LIBI USA for sponsoring these days.”

Dr. Yitzhak also discussed the IDF’s commitment to pikuach nefesh. “IDF physicians have three levels of oaths they take concerning the saving of lives,” he said. “We have the Hippocratic Oath, which every doctor in the world is obligated to uphold. In addition, we have the Oath of Maimonides and the oath of the Israeli Medical Corp, My Brother’s Keeper.”

The essence of the Oath of Maimonides, named for its originator, a 12th century scholar of Jewish law and philosophy, is to watch over the life and health of God’s creatures without egoism.

The essence of the Israeli Medic’s Oath is that medics will give everything, including their own lives, for the State of Israel and its people and will treat “friend or foe” alike, in all conditions, and never leave anyone in the field.

“In Israel, we tend to be busy with trying to live fulfilling lives or dieing at the hands of our enemies,” shared Dr. Yitzhak. “IDF medics risk their lives to give correct care to everyone, including wounded Syrians across our border, humanitarian aid to people all over the world and even medical care to our enemies.

“Unfortunately, we haven’t taken the time and aren’t good at explaining to the world how ethical, moral and valuing of life we are. This workshop helps to build that knowledge worldwide and gain life-saving skills in addition.”

 

14 Percent of IDF Flight School Graduates From Religious Backgrounds

The Israeli Air Force Flight Course graduation ceremony held at the Hatzerim Air Base in the Negev desert. June 29, 2017. Note: Faces are blurred to protect identities. (Photo by Haim Zach/GPO)

The Israeli Air Force Flight Academy just welcomed its latest graduates. These include one out of seven students from Hesder Yeshivas, a program which combines advanced Bible studies and military service.

“Over the years, we have seen an increase in religious soldiers joining and succeeding in the Israel Defense Force (IDF),” noted Dr. John A.I. Grossman, Chairman of LIBI USA, the official welfare fund of the IDF. “This is another feather in the cap for both observant Jews and Israel’s army. Both can succeed. Both need each other.”

The IDF spokesperson announced that 14 percent of the most recent Air Force graduates managed to actively engage in Bible studies while earning their flight wings.

While Israel has a required three-year conscription for men, those who choose the Hesder Yeshiva route dedicate five years of their life to the combination of Bible studies and defending the Land and people of Israel. Of those five years, 16 months are dedicated to army training and active duty. Generally, soldiers who serve in the IDF through the Hesder Yeshiva system become combat soldiers.

Yehuda Amital, originally from Romania and a Holocaust survivor, is credited with creating the idea for the Hesder Yeshiva system. Amital, an Orthodox Rabbi and Israeli politician, served in the Haganah (pre-IDF army) and fought in Israel’s War of Independence. He published an essay about the religious and moral aspects of military service, sharing his vision for a program which combined army service and Bible study.

The first Hesder Yeshiva was was established in 1953. In 1991, the program was awarded the Israel Prize for its special contribution to society and the State of Israel.

“As more and more of Israel’s soldiers align with religious observance, LIBI USA strives to fill their special needs, which fall beyond the army’s budget,” continued Grossman. “In fact, we are launching a program to distribute Bible commanded tzitzit [special fringed garments] to soldiers in need.”

Israeli society recognizes that becoming an Israeli pilot is the highest and most difficult path of army service. In fact, only 15 percent of this year’s cadets received their wings.

Additionally, 48 percent of the new pilots participated in a year of national service or pre-military preparatory programs and 71 percent were members of various Israeli youth movements. 11 percent of the graduates have other family members who have received pilot’s wings and 8 percent of the graduates were not born in Israel. Rather, they come from Italy, Spain and the United States.

This is Israel’s 174th pilot school course. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Reuven Rivlin, Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot and Air Force Commander Major General Amir Eshel attended the graduation ceremony.