Two national psychology organizations are planning to offer online courses on war-related trauma for psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers who treat military personnel and veterans.

The four-part series, hosted by the Chicago Institute for Psychoanalysis and the American Psychoanalytic Association, will focus on the history of understanding combat-related mental health conditions to give providers "valuable insight into the impact war has on the human mind," said Dennis Shelby, a therapist and Chicago Institute for Psychoanalysis faculty member.

"Since World War I, psychoanalysts have added a unique perspective in understanding the complexity of suffering brought on by war," Shelby said. "These courses will not be another set of seminars offering a check list of symptoms and treatments of PTSD."

Each online webinar will focus on a different era and understanding of combat-related mental health issues like post-traumatic stress and depression, starting with Sigmund Freud and World War I and ending with current research from analysts such as Anna Ornstein, a Holocaust survivor and lecturer, and Robert Stolorow, author of "Trauma and Human Existence."

Shelby said following every conflict, the medical community seeks to reinvent the wheel for treating war-related mental issues, but the psychiatric community has sought to define the problem for nearly 100 years.

"Why, after every war, do 'we' look for the newest, most cutting-edge treatments for war-related trauma, rather than simply going to a library?" asked Shelby in a blog post on the upcoming series. "Accumulated knowledge does live on and is easily accessible."

The courses will attempt to discuss the relevance of previous held beliefs and how they integrate into present-day treatment.

The first class, "Foundational Ideas: Sigmund Freud and Early Freudians," is scheduled for Jan. 5. For more information and to register, check out the Chicago Institute for Psychoanalysis website.

Patricia Kime is a senior writer covering military and veterans health care, medicine and personnel issues.

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