Symptom Media

PTSD Video Lecture: Competency in Diagnosing Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

This abbreviated example provides one potential application for Symptom Media’s Training Library. Some people are daily exposed to traumas as part of their work assignments, people such as: police officers, fire fighters, emergency department professionals, and soldiers. So, how do clinicians become competent and develop skills to diagnose posttraumatic stress disorder.

Let’s watch a video of an interview, pausing the video to identify the skills that are necessary for clinicians to be competent in diagnosing posttraumatic stress disorder.

In the opening of the interview, as you can see, the clinician properly introduced himself to the patient and the patient responded back politely. We learned it was the idea of someone else who made the appointment for this patient. In addition to that information, however, what other information would a competent clinician gather from this brief introduction. Let’s watch the same clip again, this time without sound, paying attention to what we observe about the patient’s behaviors.

After watching the same video clip without sound

What did we, like the clinician, observe? Well, the patient made good initial eye contact but broke eye contact frequently to look down. The patient said “nice to meet you,” but shrugged his shoulders at the same time. He appeared to have some shallow breathing and some grimacing mouth movements as we often see in anxiety. He swallows large swallows as we can see from the movements of his cheeks and Adam’s Apple. His affect, that is his facial expression, appears anxious and a bit sad. We see him sigh largely as he prepares to make his next statement. All of this is indicative of anxiety that could be a clue that fits with a diagnosis of PTSD.

Video interviews are helpful in part, because we can slow down what we see and hear in interviews and play segments repeatedly in order to capture in depth what happened. Hopefully, with such exercises, we can learn the practice of recording our own interviews in our own heads, and then in our own heads review what happened. Such exercises help us on our journeys toward competency.

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