DVD Program Reviews


6. Living with PTSD: Lessons for Partners, Friends and Supporters.

This DVD is valuable for those who care about the PTSD sufferer in their life. It explains what PTSD is, why it is important to learn about this medical disorder, what you can do to help, ways to treat it, how to deal with the caregiver burden and how PTSD affects the family and other relationships.

Survivors of trauma often have difficulty believing that they will ever recover. This film provides a realistic message of hope and teaches family members and community how they can assist in the recovery process.

The program features Dr. Frank Ochberg and Dr. Angelea Panos.

Frank Ochberg is a psychiatrist and the former Associate Director of the National
Institute of Mental Health and a member of the team that wrote the medical
definition for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Dr. Angelea Panos holds a Ph.D in Clinical Psychology. She is a licensed
marriage and family therapist, and a licensed clinical social worker.
She has more than twenty years experience in traumatic stress treatment,
dealing with war refugees, domestic violence, victims of rape, and child

Running Time: l8 minutes. Closed Captioned
$30.00 plus shipping. Available in DVD

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DVD Review

6. Living with PTSD: Lessons for Partners, Friends and Supporters.

“I am thankful to Gift From Within for giving me the opportunity to watch their video “Living with PTSD.” It is my opinion that every person who cares for, lives with, or knows someone with PTSD should have this video.

There is a need for a program like this. The clinicians, Dr. Ochberg and Dr. Panos answer questions that PTSD families and friends ask such as: “What can I do to help my loved one” and “how do I deal with flashbacks?” They answer questions I am asked as a PTSD counselor, why, how, what, where, and when will my pain go away.

One Q & A that was particularly useful was something Dr. Frank Ochberg said: “PTSD is a medical condition, the most important thing we can do to help our loved one is be the most informed person on your block about PTSD.” Knowledge is key and will help you enormously.

Dr. Ochberg and Dr. Panos also discuss the causes of PTSD. They say it may not be limited to one or two traumatic events in our lives. It is as they say, “Horrific tragedies and/or horrific events.” They discuss the symptoms of PTSD and what your friend or loved one may be feeling, and how this may affect the person’s communication skills. And they tell you why.

Dr. Angie Panos has some very good suggestions for partners with PTSD. She talks about “going the distance,” and how to maintain relationships in a healthy way because the road to recovery is ongoing. She explains that it is so much harder to keep the relationship going if you don’t also work on maintaining intimacy.

We all know that not every PTSD situation is the same and this video gives you ideas from different points of view and what works, this is a must have resource for all involved with PTSD.

Kimberly Ford, Counselor, Manager & Owner of

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DVD Review

6. Living with PTSD: Lessons for Partners, Friends and Supporters.

“Living With PTSD” is the first video of its kind in that it speaks directly to the significant others of victims of trauma. This kind of family education validates the victim and normalizes them as well. It reframes for the family member so the behaviors that are troubling the client are not framed into the relationship instead of the traumatic event. With this kind of education, the family member can come away realizing that “it’s not about me; it’s about the PTSD.” I think this and the Explaining PTSD Is Part of Treating PTSD are a “must see” for organizations as well as for therapists and their families and friends.”

Dr. Beverly J. Anderson, B.C.E.T.S.
Clinical Director/Administrator
Metropolitan Police Employee Assistance Program
Metropolitan Police Department
Washington, DC 20003

DVD Review

6. Living with PTSD: Lessons for Partners, Friends and Supporters.

Review By: Erwin R. Parson, Ph.D., A.B.P.P.
Diplomate In Psychology
Trauma Expert.

Living With PTSD
 was devised based on an understanding and appreciation of what traumatic events exert upon and exact from victims, family members, and their communities. We can be confident that this new Gift From Within product will reliably meet the needs of victims, families, and clinicians as previous videos and other products have done. The Video offer a rich, detailed account of the haunting effects trauma wields on the lives of those personally altered, those centrally affected like family members, and those peripherally affected like friends, community, and workplace acquaintances and peers.

Living With PTSD offers a wealth of information and insight in just a little over 18 minutes. It’s straight forward, easy listening, and clearly articulated. It features two giants in the field of traumatic stress or psychotraumatology, namely, Frank Ochberg, M.D., psychiatrist and trauma expert, and Angie Panos, Ph. D., psychologist and trauma expert. They point out that the most significant challenge is to have family and friends accept the sometimes profound alterations in mind, body, personality, and behavior of victims.

Dr. Ochberg expressed the point of view that family members’ ability to truly assist and nurture the victims back to psychosomatic health from the pervasive damage exacted by the trauma. Family members are in a pivotal position to support and validate that the changes in the victim’s thinking, feelings, behavior, and attitudes are real-and are not imaginary.

Victims of trauma may not have the emotional capacity it takes to get connected-to self and others. What’s critical here, according to these experts, is that family members and others first learn all they can about the symptoms and dynamics of trauma and PTSD, and then demonstrate an understanding to the victim so he or she experiences empathic support-an empathic mirror into which the victim looks to find a healing reflection to make sense out of profound alterations in self, identity, personality, behavior, and mood.

In discussing the question, “What causes PTSD?”, Dr. Panos eloquently explains in detail how the disorder comes about and what can be done to assist victims restore function, trust, hope, and sense of future.

The symptoms of PTSD were highlighted by Dr. Ochberg. He spoke of how the victim feels haunted by the event via intrusive ideation, which sends echoes of horror into the mind and body of the victim. The victim feels scared; he or she feels changed and separated from family, from the corpus of society, and is incapable of explaining feelings and inner experience to others. Then the victim feels cold inside and alienated outside, due to emotional anesthesia. He also mentioned the third symptom category of PTSD; namely, arousal-an adrenaline rush-like pattern that involve being jumpy, irritable, and sleep-disturbed

I highly recommend Living With PTSD without reservation. For Gift From Within does it again. It demonstrates a deep understanding of and compassion for the victim of catastrophic eperiences. This Video is a gift, a treasure to be cherished for its authenticity, and for its groundbreaking contributions to the victim, partner, family, and community.

DVD Review

6. Living with PTSD: Lessons for Partners, Friends and Supporters.

Review By: Jacqueline Garrick, ACSW, CSW, BCETS

This program is excellent, and unfortunately there is not enough of this kind of info out there. In 18 minutes, Living with PTSD gives caregivers a new perspective and a framework for how to interact and support friends or loved ones diagnosed with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The DVD features renowned psychiatrist, Frank Ochberg and psychologist Angie Panos who discuss the issues PTSD sufferers face and how caregivers can best respond.

The DVD breaks into 8 questions that Drs. Ochberg and Panos answer. They begin with a discussion on PTSD as being caused by events outside the realm of normal human experience that results in an emotional injury that leaves the survivor feeling less than human, scared and diminished, which manifest in feeling haunted, numb and anxious.

The next issue focuses on what the caregiver can do. Ochberg and Panos advise the viewer to be available when the survivor is ready to talk and validate the horror. Caregivers are also advised to learn about PTSD and be aware of symptoms. This is followed by a discussion on the challenges caregivers’ face, especially when the survivor isolates and cuts them off. In this case, caregivers are advised to show understanding and not to feel hurt and rejected and to remember that it is the survivor who is feeling estranged in his/her own life.

A significant factor examined is how to help with flashbacks. This needs to be discussed by the survivor and the caregiver since each trauma survivor will experience flashbacks differently. First, there needs to be elements of safety established and when physical contact would comfort the survivor and not trigger them.

Treatment for PTSD is also addressed, but caregivers are encouraged to help the survivor to talk about and re-experience the traumatic event(s) as a means of creating meaning and purpose. The caregiver can interfere with the manifestation of PTSD to restore the survivor’s sense of reality and to build their confidence. Yet, caregivers are also warned to be careful not to burn out and keep their distance and detach so that they can be there over the long run.

Finally, Living with PTSD urges the caregiver to be part of the learning process and see their partner through. This DVD is an excellent source of information presented in a concise and easy to understand manner. It would be a wonderful tool for survivors and caregivers to view jointly and then discuss the issues presented.

DVD Review

6. Living with PTSD: Lessons for Partners, Friends and Supporters.

If you have ever loved someone who is a survivor of trauma then “Living With PTSD” is a must.  It is an important guide in helping friends, lovers, and family members navigate through the posttraumatic world allowing them to become part of the solution rather than the problem.  I also wholeheartedly recommend “Living With PTSD” to professionals, reminding them that PTSD effects the entire [family] system not just the survivor.
J. Eric Gentry, LMHC
CEO, Compassion Unlimited

DVD Review

6. Living with PTSD: Lessons for Partners, Friends and Supporters.

I just finished watching the new video tape: “Living With PTSD. Lessons for Friends, Partners and Supporters.” Thanks for making this program available. As a support pal and survivor, I particularly appreciate its message.

Since I am a person who at times feels so “tired” of explaining to family, friends and community people: … what PTSD is, or why I tend to not want to be around alot of people at times, or why I don’t participate well in activities with others, … this tape will definately be instrumental in getting help to my immediate, on-hand supporters. This tape will help them understand the frustration that I know they feel at times due to dealing with me, or the pain that they take on when they see me being in tremendous emotional pain. So the tape will help them and its turn around effect: it will then help me ease the burden of PTSD when I struggle to stay connected in relationships.

The explanations on the tape are simple, and easy to understand the problems those with PTSD face. I was pleased to see the seriousness of PTSD explained, also that it is very real and a medical condition. It tenderly brought out simple points for the supporters that are not difficult to do, yet are vital such as expressing a reassuring: “I love you, and I’ll help see you through this difficult time.”

The only problem with the tape is I think that I will need a whole truck load of tapes to pass around to my friends and family.

Thanks again,

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DVD Review

6. Living with PTSD: Lessons for Partners, Friends and Supporters.

“Living With PTSD” is an important contribution to the treatment armamentarium necessary to combat Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. As usual, Gift From Within has accomplished their mission by producing a short, concise, down to earth, pragmatic video that answers the question of how can friends and lovers of folks with PSTD help their significant others cope with this devastating illness. I strongly encourage friends and lovers of folks with PTSD to take less than 30 minutes out of their busy schedules to watch this video so they can learn directionally correct tips of how to encourage the healing process necessary to recover from traumatic stress.

Carl C. Bell, M.D.
President/C.E.O. Community Mental Health Council
8704 S. Constance
Chicago, IL 60617
Professor of Psychiatry and Public Health, University of Illinois at Chicago

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DVD Review

6. Living with PTSD: Lessons for Partners, Friends and Supporters.

In GFW’s newest video, the goals are clearly stated in the beginning: to help the support system of PTSD survivors to understand the symptoms and gain insight about how to help.

I love how the video clearly depicts that PTSD is not the survivor’s fault, describes exactly what it is, what the support person can expect and how much the survivor suffers and wants to get well.

The video is geared towards “pure PTSD” but Dr. Ochberg does mention that sometimes PTSD is combined with other factors, which can mean it may take longer for the survivor to heal. By mentioning the importance of therapy for the survivor, it takes the pressure off the survivor to convince the support person of the need for this healing tool. I found this invaluable because many people are suspicious of therapy and doubt its legitimacy.

Specific examples are given, such as the importance of listening, what to do when flashbacks occur, speaking with the survivor ahead of time to ascertain the survivor’s wishes about the type of help desired, and what symptoms to watch for. This is important as it helps the support person understand the cause of the symptoms and to not take it personally if the survivor withdraws or lashes out.

This video is important to those in our lives who we hope will be supportive on our healing journey.

Patti Brown
Member of GFW

DVD Review

6. Living with PTSD: Lessons for Partners, Friends and Supporters.

I am a survivor of childhood physical and sexual abuse, and as an adult, I have survived an emergency surgery with morphine blackout, a relationship with a Psychopath with getting put into a witness protection program with him and fearing for my life every day, a very traumatic and earth shattering medical diagnosis, rape, sexual abuse, and domestic violence.

I found Gift From Within right out of trauma, three years ago. It is jam packed full of every resource a survivor needs for recovery.

I listened to the audio CD: Sage Advice for Trauma Survivors and Caregivers with Dr. Frank Ochberg. That audio CD alone made me realize so much and I’m three years out from trauma. I forgot the basics. The world throws so much at me and I get lost in all of the opinions. It has validated me when I need it the most. It let me know that I’m not alone.

I have also ordered and watched with my husband: 1. Living with PTSD: Lessons for Partners, Friends and Supporters and 2. Recovering From Traumatic Events: The Healing Process

The DVDs made me cry. My husband said he got a LOT out of them. He specifically said, “I got a lot out of both of those. PTSD doesn’t seem so mysterious anymore. It really helped that someone, a doctor, spoke to me to teach me what PTSD is.”

The videos, indirectly, have led us to ask my new CBT therapist to have my husband come in a couple of my sessions to teach us how we can manage PTSD as a couple. We would’ve never thought of that before.

He even said, “Well, I want to come in there to one of your sessions with you. I’m worried that you won’t be able to express everything you are going through to your therapist, but I know it because I see it clearly.” He said that because Dr. Ochberg explained how survivors with PTSD have a difficult time expressing their pain.

I had no idea that he could tell the difference in me. This will be what helps me manage the flashbacks and triggers….I never thought I could have this kind of feedback from him. It really helped me because I feel he took it even more seriously after the videos. My husband has always been wonderfully supportive, but now, when I am going through an emotional flashback, he is noticing what it is.

He sees it when I don’t. He touches me now and tells me that I am safe because Dr. Ochberg taught him that. It helps me SO much. When he touches me and tells me I’m safe, I can feel the difference in my environment. I can feel present. This helps me feel and I can cry. I can cry and it’s safe to cry. That never used to happen. I used to dissociate right afterward or crash into a depression because I felt so ashamed and didn’t understand what was happening to me.

Also, he said he liked how one of the videos explained PTSD in three simple categories and it was nice to hear all that I go through in a video. Hearing PTSD in three categories helped me make sense of the exhaustive list of symptoms that I deal with during episodes.

Oh and one more thing, when my husband said, “The videos make PTSD real to me”, it has helped me. I have had more than a few flashbacks in one day because I’m starting to remember more. Because he said that, I am able to remind myself that it’s real.

Sometimes, I am in so much pain thinking that it’s not real and that I’m just crazy. I hear myself talking to myself now, telling myself that it’s real and that I’m not crazy because someone I trust is telling me that too–live and in person.

This is incredible. The discussion about PTSD is so important and I’m so glad that I ordered these educational materials. Thank you so much!