Alien Abduction Trauma and Recovery


Alien Abduction Trauma and Recovery

According to The Journal of American Culture, most people claiming to have experienced alien abduction report “traumatic alien investigations of their bodies,” (Barbeito 202). [Barbeito, Patricia Felisa. “He's Making Me Feel Things in My Body That I Don't Feel”: The Body as Battleground in Accounts of Alien Abduction.. Journal of American Culture, Jun2005, Vol. 28 Issue 2, p201-215.] As with any other trauma, alien abduction can cause severe emotional shock in the victim and have long-lasting psychological effects, such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and Post-abduction syndrome (Nielsen 9). [Nielsen, Rick. “Alien Abduction: The Need for Healing.” UFO Digest. 23 Jan. 2007. 10 Dec. 2007. http://www.ufodigest.com/news/0107/needforhealing.html. ] Various methods of treatments can help a suffering alien abductee to overcome or cope with these problems. These methods include support groups, psychotherapy, hypnotherapy and even simple humor (Scott 2, 4). [Scott, Brandon. “Can Humor Ease the Trauma of Alien Abdcutions?” Out There Radio. 2006. 10 Dec. 2007. http://outthereradio.com/articles/humor.htm.] Betty and Barney Hill were the first recorded alien abductees to seek treatment after their abduction. Despite wide-spread skepticism towards alien abductees, there are some Psychiatric Professionals, as well as those practicing under the often self-bestowed title “UFO Investigator” who believe that there is a “need to treat UFO patients with the same standards and practices as anyone reporting emotional distress or trauma” (McLaughlin 6). Some mental health professionals are now “arguing that psychotherapists should be educated about the UFO abduction phenomenon so that they will recognize the symptoms and be able to help the victims” (Newman and Baumeister 100). [Newman, Leonard S.; Baumeister, Roy F. “Not Just Another False Memory: Further Thoughts on the UFO Abduction Phenomenon.” Psychological Inquiry 1996, Vol. 7 Issue 2, p100.]

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, often referred to as PTSD, is an anxiety disorder(“Anxiety” 4). ["Anxiety." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2007. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 12 Dec. 2007 .] PTSD is caused by “the major personal stress of a serious or frightening event” (“Post Traumatic Stress Disorder”1). [“Post-traumatic Stress Disorder.” Encyclopædia Britannica. 2007. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 17 Nov. 2007 .] Symptoms of this disorder include:
*Images or Memories of the Event
*Nightmares of the Event
*Insomnia
*Sense of Isolation
*Sense of Guilt
*Irritability
*Loss of Concentration
*Depression

These symptoms are only considered to be contributing to chronic PTSD if they have lasted over three months after the traumatizing event (such as an abduction by aliens), or if the symptoms have “delayed onset” (Clark 28). [Clark, Carolyn Chambers. “Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: How to Support Healing.” The American Journal of Nursing Aug 1997, Vol. 97 No. 8, p 26-33. ] PTSD is the only disorder of the two listed previously as occurring in traumatized alien abductees that is recognized by the American Psychiatric Association (ASA) and Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is also sometimes referred to as Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome. Many Alien abductees experience this disorder, according to Dr. David Gotlib, a prominent psychotherapist in the UFO subculture (McLaughlin 1, 7).

Post Abduction Syndrome

Post Abduction Syndrome, or PAS, is an anxiety disorder posited by Budd Hopkins and others that has many similarities to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It differs, however, in that the traumatic event (alien abduction) may occur more than once in an individual’s lifetime, making it difficult to pinpoint when the trauma began (Hargrove 3). [Hargrove, Rose. “Post Abduction Syndrome (PAS) Description of an Emerging Syndrome” SIGHTINGS 14 Feb. 2000. 12 Dec. 2007. http://www.rense.com/ufo6/pas.htm] This syndrome is not formally recognized by the ASA. It was first defined by Budd Hopkins, a prominent alien abduction researcher, in his books "Missing Time" and "Intruders" (Nielsen 12). [Nielsen, Rick. “Alien Abduction: The Need for Healing.” UFO Digest. 23 Jan. 2007. 10 Dec. 2007. http://www.ufodigest.com/news/0107/needforhealing.html. ] PAS specifically defines the “cluster of symptoms and behaviors that develop in some individuals in response to the alien abduction phenomenon.” These symptoms include:
*Persistent re-experiencing of the traumatic event characterized by flashbacks
*Persistent avoidance of stimuli associated with the trauma
*Denial of the event
*Nightmares involving aliens, medical procedures, UFOs, apocalyptic matter, such as a asteroid hitting Earth, nuclear war, other matters that "returned" abductees may "not" report to anyone at all.
*Labeling the event something else
*Phobic avoidance of areas or situations where contact occurred
*Refraining from sleep at the time contact occurred
*Emotional reaction to literature, pictures, or videos about alien entities
*Numbing of emotions characterized by inability to feel intimacy, pleasure, or to express emotions
*Diminished interest in previously enjoyed activities
*May have no expectation of normal life events or normal life span
*May fear abduction with no return or lengthy abduction
*Hyper-vigilance, exaggerated startle response, irritability, and/or panic attacks (Nielsen 13) [Nielsen, Rick. “Alien Abduction: The Need for Healing.” UFO Digest. 23 Jan. 2007. 10 Dec. 2007. http://www.ufodigest.com/news/0107/needforhealing.html.]

Post Abduction Syndrome may not only affect the abductees themselves, but can also effect witnesses to the abduction, family members, or others closely associated with the abductee (Hargrove 7). [Hargrove, Rose. “Post Abduction Syndrome (PAS) Description of an Emerging Syndrome” SIGHTINGS 14 Feb. 2000. 12 Dec. 2007. http://www.rense.com/ufo6/pas.htm]

upport Groups

The traditional definition of a support group is “a group of people with common experiences and concerns”—in this case, abduction by aliens and the resulting complications— “who provide emotional and moral support for one another” (“Support Groups” 1). One purpose of abductee support groups specifically is to attempt to help people recover repressed memories of victimization at the hands of extraterrestrials. Beginning “In the mid-1980s an increasing number of support groups appeared that were centered” around alien abductees and their experiences (Bader 2). [Bader, Christopher D.. “Supernatural Support Groups: Who Are the UFO Abductees and Ritual-Abuse Survivors?” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion Dec. 2003, Vol. 42 Issue 4, p 2-14] Many alien abduction support groups are currently in existence, located mainly in the United States but with some located in other countries such as Canada and Australia. One Seattle based abductee support group, UFO Contact Center International, has affiliate centers located throughout the United States and Canada, now numbering over 30 (Bader 12). [Bader, Christopher D.. “Supernatural Support Groups: Who Are the UFO Abductees and Ritual-Abuse Survivors?” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion Dec. 2003, Vol. 42 Issue 4, p 2-14] A survey done in 1990 of 55 alien abductees involved in a support group reported that most participants in alien abduction support groups were white, married females with some college education (Bader 14). [Bader, Christopher D.. “Supernatural Support Groups: Who Are the UFO Abductees and Ritual-Abuse Survivors?” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion Dec. 2003, Vol. 42 Issue 4, p 2-14] However, this may not be a large enough sample group to accurately represent the alien abductees involved in support groups. Support groups for alien abductees are “commonplace” and can be easily contacted through their websites (Panay 205). [Panay, Andrew. “From Little Big Man to little green men: the captivity scenario in American culture.” European Journal of American Culture, 2004, Vol. 23 Issue 3, p201-216.] The following link provides a list of 15 support groups for alien abductees: [http://www.doomsdayguide.org/UFO/ufo_abduction_support_groups.htm .]

Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy is “any form of treatment for psychological, emotional, or behavior disorders in which a trained person establishes a relationship with one or several patients for the purpose of modifying or removing existing symptoms and promoting personality growth” (“Psychotherapy” 1). Psychotherapy is also sometimes simply referred to as counseling. For an alien abductee, this provides an environment where they feel they can be open and talk about their experience without fear of ridicule (Scott 2). [Scott, Brandon. “Can Humor Ease the Trauma of Alien Abdcutions?” Out There Radio. 2006. 10 Dec. 2007. http://outthereradio.com/articles/humor.htm.]

Hypnotherapy

Most alien abductees recall their abduction(s) through hypnosis. (Linse and Loxton 81). [Linse, Pat and Loxton, Daniel. “Alien Abduction Part 2.” Skeptic 2006, Vol. 12 Issue 4, p81-98.] Because of this, the vast majority of evidence for alien abduction is based on memories recovered through hypnosis. Hypnosis is the weakening of “both emotional experience and behavior” in other words, “emotional numbing” (Sebastiani et al. 125) [Sebastiani, Laura, et al. “Role of relaxation and specific suggestions in hypnotic emotional numbing.” Internation Journal of Psychophysiology Jan 2007. Vol. 63 Issue 1, p125. 12 Dec. 2007. http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true &db=aph&AN=23602973&site=ehost-live] Though for a time they may have forgotten, some abductees find clues to what happened (such as the symptoms of PAS, PTSD, or missing time) that lead them to seek a hypnotist to help them discover if their hunch is the real deal. The use of hypnosis to recall repressed memories is a highly controversial issue. Many well known alien abduction experts have every confidence in this method of memory recall. Long time abduction researcher Budd Hopkins “argues that memories recovered under hypnosis have ‘unusual validity’ that is even better than ordinary memory.” David Jacobs, another well known researcher, believes that “memories derived hypnotically” are even more reliable than those recalled outside of the hypnotic state. Jacobs also states, however, that “anyone could be a researcher or hypnotist just by proclaiming it” due to the fact that there is “no systematic training” for those interested in this line of memory recovery (Linse and Loxton 81). [Linse, Pat and Loxton, Daniel. “Alien Abduction Part 2.” Skeptic 2006, Vol. 12 Issue 4, p81-98.] Alien abduction narratives are frequently attributed to the creation of a “False Memory”(Lynn and Kirsch 152) [Kirsch, Irving I. and Lynn, Steven J. “Alleged Alien Abductions: False Memories, Hypnosis, and Fantasy Proneness.” Psychological Inquiry; 1996, Vol. 7 Issue 2, p151. http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=7391654&sit e=ehost-live] induced under hypnosis. Steven Jay Lynn of Ohio University and Irving I. Kirsch of the University of Connecticut assert that false memories are created through the following seven steps (Lynn and Kirsch 152) [Kirsch, Irving I. and Lynn, Steven J. “Alleged Alien Abductions: False Memories, Hypnosis, and Fantasy Proneness.” Psychological Inquiry; 1996, Vol. 7 Issue 2, p151. http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=7391654&sit e=ehost-live]
# A person is predisposed to accept the idea that certain puzzling or inexplicable experiences might be telltale signs of UFO abduction.
# The person seeks out a therapist, whom he or she views as an authority and who is, at the very least, receptive to this explanation and has some prior familiarity with UFO abduction reports.
# Alternately, the therapist frames the puzzling experiences in terms of an abduction narrative.
# Alternative explanations of the experiences are not explored.
# There is increasing commitment to the abduction explanation and increasing anxiety reduction associated with ambiguity reduction.
# The therapist legitimates or ratifies the abductee’s experience, which constitutes additional positive reinforcement.
# The client adopts the role of the “victim” or abductee, which becomes integrated into the psychotherapy and the client’s view of self.

Humor and Healing

While humor cannot reduce “the significance of a terrible event, it does allow the survivor [of a traumatic event] to see how they can cope and thrive in their environment” (Garrick 169). [Garrick, Jacqueline. “The Humor of Trauma Survivors: Its Application in a Therapeutic Milieu.” Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma; 2006, Vol. 12 Issue 1/2, p169-182.] Humor can “be a powerful healing tool when both the therapist and the client are willing to openly discuss it” (Garrick 169). [Garrick, Jacqueline. “The Humor of Trauma Survivors: Its Application in a Therapeutic Milieu.” Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma; 2006, Vol. 12 Issue 1/2, p169-182.] According to Yvonne R. Smith, founder of the Close Encounter Research Organization, “humor has been very healing for those people who have had encounters” (Scott 4-5). [Scott, Brandon. “Can Humor Ease the Trauma of Alien Abdcutions?” Out There Radio. 2006. 10 Dec. 2007. http://outthereradio.com/articles/humor.htm.] The key to this unique brand of humor is to “see the humorous side of the phenomena, without making fun of the science or the victims” (Scott 9). [Scott, Brandon. “Can Humor Ease the Trauma of Alien Abdcutions?” Out There Radio. 2006. 10 Dec. 2007. http://outthereradio.com/articles/humor.htm.]

Betty and Barney Hill

The abduction case of Betty and Barney Hill came about just as the Abduction Phenomenon was coming to light. Their case is one of the first to report the use of psychotherapy and hypnosis to recover abduction memories. Betty and Barney Hill took a vacation from their home in New Hampshire to visit Montreal, Canada. “On their return, they found themselves suffering from unexplained physical pain, anxiety, and nightmares” (Barbeito 201). [Barbeito, Patricia Felisa. “He's Making Me Feel Things in My Body That I Don't Feel”: The Body as Battleground in Accounts of Alien Abduction.. Journal of American Culture, Jun2005, Vol. 28 Issue 2, p201-215.] Neither of them could recall two hours of their drive back to New Hampshire, so they sought out psychiatrist Benjamin Simon for help. Through several hypnosis sessions, both Betty and Barney recalled what had happened on their trip home. The couple determined that had been abducted by aliens (Barbeito 201). [Barbeito, Patricia Felisa. “He's Making Me Feel Things in My Body That I Don't Feel”: The Body as Battleground in Accounts of Alien Abduction.. Journal of American Culture, Jun2005, Vol. 28 Issue 2, p201-215.]

Aftermath

This includes scarring(from alleged medical procedures on the ship/base, on site probing) and ridicule by the government, military, medical personnel, even by family not involved in the matter, fearing loss of social standing, family honor, credibility, extreme vigilance.

ee also

*Abduction Phenomenon
*Post Abduction Syndrome
*Betty and Barney Hill Abduction
*Budd Hopkins
*Hypnosis
*Support Group
*False Memory Syndrome
*Alien
*Unidentified Flying Object
*Ufology
*Aliens and Children
*Alien Races/Alien Species - Some Abductees claim that they've seen different alien races.

Works Cited

* “Betty and Barney Hill Abduction Case.”UFO Evidence. 12 Dec. 2007. http://www.ufoevidence.org/topics/BettyHillCase.htm

* Mack, John. “Alien Abduction.” Skeptic, 2006 Vol. 12 Issue 3, p 81-89.

References

External links

* http://www.crystalinks.com/support.html
* http://www.ufodigest.com
* http://www.stopabductions.com
* http://www.ufocasebook.com/alienabductions.html
* http://www.ufodigest.com/news/0107/needforhealing.html.
* http://www.rense.com/ufo6/pas.htm
* http://www.aliensandchildren.org
* www.maar.us - click on "Alien Race/Alien Species" to see the reported aliens


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