BrainLine Military

A Service of

Turn off text only

Page Utilities


How Important Is a Support System for People with PTSD?

How Important Is a Support System for People with PTSD?


How important is a support system for people with PTSD?

Click on any phrase to play the video at that point.
[Lt. Col. Philip Holcombe] People who have post-traumatic stress disorder who come home to supportive environments, whether that's supportive within their military unit to which they belong, whether it's supportive in terms of the family to which they belong or their friend network, they do much better, and the reason that they do much better is that we all do better when we have people to help us bear the load. And so this encouragement that can come from a healthy family is very important. The reverse is also true. If a person with post-traumatic stress disorder returns to a family that's having significant problems with functioning in healthy ways, or they return to a unit that is also having significant problems with functioning in healthy ways, they're not going to do well while they're in those environments, or it's less likely that they're going to do well while they're in those environments. So what I tend to say is that the treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder really requires everybody. My opinion is, it's really not enough just to have the patient and the provider in the room because it's never just the patient and the provider. There's always a context that when the patient leaves the room that the patient returns to. So if the patient learns how to get along in the therapy room, so what? That's really not the important issue. The important issue is they learn how to get along in life, that they start to feel a sense of fulfillment in the job that they do, in their role as a family member, in their role as a friend, and the only way they can do that is if they have an opportunity to work through those needs with a healthy team.

show transcriptShow transcript | Print transcript

Click here to see other video Q&As with Lt. Col. Holcombe.

Click here to return to our BrainLine Military Ask the Expert feature.


Produced by Victoria Tilney McDonough and Erica Queen, BrainLine.

Lt. Col. Philip Holcombe, PhDLt. Col. Philip Holcombe, PhD, Lt. Col. Philip Holcombe is an Army psychologist who serves as the chief of Clinical Recommendations at the Deployment Health Clinical Center at the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury.

The contents of BrainLine Military (the “Web Site”), such as text, graphics, images, information obtained from the Web Site’s licensors and/or consultants, and other material contained on the Web Site (collectively, the “Content”) are for informational purposes only. The Content is not intended to be a substitute for medical, legal, or other professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

Specifically, with regards to medical issues, always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on the Web Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately. The Web Site does not recommend or endorse any specific tests, physicians, products, procedures, opinions, or other information that may be mentioned on the Web Site. Reliance on any information provided by the Web Site or by employees, volunteers or contractors or others associated with the Web Site and/or other visitors to the Web Site is solely at your own risk.


There are currently no comments for this article


BrainLine Footer

Javascript is disabled. Please be aware that some parts of the site may not function as expected!