Press Release

7th October 2013

More Effective Psychological Treatments for Survivors of Life-Threatening Situations

German Psychology Prize 2013 awarded to Professor Anke Ehlers

It can happen to anyone: A severe accident, a natural disaster, an assault can fundamentally shake up people's lives. Such events may not only inflict physical, but also mental wounds: survivors may develop a distressing psychological reaction called posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Even people who observe others being harmed can be affected. For police and emergency service personnel this means that their jobs may put them at risk of developing PTSD. PTSD may develop in people who experience terrifying life-threatening or horrific situations. The condition is especially common in children, women and men who experience sexual or physical violence in their everyday lives or in extreme situations such as war. The suffering of trauma survivors was not adequately recognised for decades. Access to effective treatments for these severe psychological injuries has remained insufficient until today.

Anke Ehlers, Professor for Experimental Psychopathology at the University of Oxford, has researched the lasting consequences of mental trauma for many years. She is one of the most renowned experts on the development and treatment of PTSD. In recognition of her work, she will receive the German Psychology Prize 2013.

With this prize, the German Professional Organisation of Psychologists (Berufsverband Deutscher Psychologinnen und Psychologen, BDP), the Federal Chamber of Psychotherapists (Bundespsychotherapeutenkammer, BPtK), the Christoph-Dornier-Foundation (Christoph-Dornier-Stiftung, CDS) and the German Psychological Society (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Psychologie, DGPs) honour exceptional achievements in psychological research that have high practical relevance. The German Psychology Prize will be awarded in the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities on 7th October 2013.


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