A DORSET psychologist has written a book describing how many sufferers from post-traumatic stress disorder can make a full recovery.

Dr Roger Baker became convinced that PTSD merited further investigation after seeing a dramatic change in his caseload over recent years.

“Many people wrongly think trauma is only relevant to those who have lived through wars or disasters, but in fact many people encounter trauma at some point in their lives,” he explained.

“PTSD is a normal reaction to abnormal events, from breaking a bone or suffering cancer to witnessing a car crash. These situations are very common.”

The harrowing illness can have a severe effect on people’s lives. Symptoms include flashbacks, nightmares, sleep problems and extreme irritability.

Dr Baker, a consultant clinical psychologist with Dorset HealthCare Trust, champions a new therapy called emotional processing.

The National Institute for Clin-ical Excellence (NICE) recommends that sufferers are exposed to the memories of the trauma. But Dr Baker’s experience has shown that it can be difficult to make patients understand why they should go through the pain of reliving the experience.

“The difficulty is that people invest a great deal of time avoiding troubling memories, so the thought of facing them and the associated hurt is very upsetting,” he said.

“I’ve found it highly effective to set the process in an emotional context, getting people to think about how they handle emotions and why. It is then that people realise they need to face their memories and process their emotions properly.

“The results from this technique have been amazing, with many people 100 per cent cured.”

The book, Dr Baker’s third, also explains how to prevent post-traumatic stress.

“Knowing how to face trauma and minimise its worst ravages is a skill we can all benefit from,” he said.

l Understanding Trauma: How to Overcome Post-Traumatic Stress is published by Lion-Hudson at £8.99.