Videos About Traumatic Stress

These documentaries have been reviewed by the Public Education Committee of ISTSS, and may be helpful as a resource for individuals to learn more about traumatic stress and posttraumatic stress disorder. If there is a video that you would like to recommend for posting on this list, please contact us.

Note: ISTSS does not endorse nor is it responsible for content on these Web sites.

Videos and Films about Refugees and Traumatic Stress

Lost Boys of Sudan

87 minutes
Cost: $26.95 (buy)

This 2003 documentary film follows the lives of a handful of orphaned Sudanese refugees from Dinka tribes. The young men are funded by the YMCA to leave their Refugee Camp and travel to the United States to live in Houston, Texas. There is a focus on the Lost Boys adjusting to life in the US, and how they have dealt with trauma and loss in their lives.
Note: there is a retelling of a traumatic event in one scene of this film.

The Flute Player

60 minutes
Cost: $125 for educators (buy)

This one-hour documentary focuses on Cambodian genocide survivor Arn Chorn-Pond. Arn survived Cambodia's Khmer Rouge military regime as a child, doing whatever it took to save his own life amidst violence and trauma. The Flute Player follows Arn as he gives Cambodia's Master Musicians the opportunity to reengage in their lost art forms, and gives them a chance to tell their stories of surviving the Khmer Rouge. In the film, he reconciles with his past by attempting to uncover Cambodia's holocaust.

Note: there are recountings of violence under the Khmer Rouge and photographs of the Cambodian killing fields, which may be disturbing.

Videos and Films about Child Traumatic Stress

It's OK to Remember

35 minutes
Cost: Free

This downloadable video produced by the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) is intended for parents, caregivers, and educators. It is a brief video featuring professionals and experts describing childhood traumatic grief and its treatment. Also, an example is given of trauma and treatment.

Note: the video may take several minutes to download.

The Courage to Remember

35 minutes
Cost: Free

This training video is aimed at mental health professionals who are seeking information about treating children with traumatic grief. It begins with description of childhood traumatic grief, and discusses pre-existing conditions that increase risk for developing the condition. There is also a review of treatment, including psychoeducation, affect expression, stress management skill development, cognitive affect regulation, trauma narrative, cognitive processing, etc.

Note: the video may take several minutes to download. Also, the video is accompanied by a written document (85 pages).

The Promise of Trauma-Focused Therapy for Childhood Sexual Abuse

27 minutes
Cost: Free

This streaming video is intended for parents of childhood sexual assault (CSA) survivors and individuals who refer children to treatment for CSA. The video provides information about the impact of CSA, and it emphasizes the importance of including parents/caretakers in treatment. A fictionalized story is presented with narration, pictures drawn by CSA survivors, and video of an actress portraying a CSA survivor.

Note: there is a verbal recount of a traumatic event, which may be mildly disturbing.

Videos and Films about Domestic Violence and Traumatic Stress

Domestic Violence 

196 minutes
Cost: $29.95 (buy)

This documentary film focuses on the women, men, and children housed in the largest battered women's shelter in Florida. The film features footage of intakes, daily activities, and classrooms, with footage of both DV survivors and the providers caring for these individuals. There are several scenes involving adults and children talking firsthand about DV and their own interpretations of it. Domestic Violence survivors also talk about their own ideas about what makes someone susceptible to DV and how to prevent their children from becoming victims.

Note: there are recountings of both domestic violence and sexual assault, which may be disturbing.

Videos and Films about Veterans and Traumatic Stress 

The Soldier's Heart

60 minutes
Cost: Free

This streaming video, produced by PBS Frontline, describes the psychological effects of Operation Iraqi Freedom on veterans and their families. The video also provides information on treatment successes and failures. The video features interviews with active duty service members at Camp Pendleton, San Diego, and with mental health experts both in and out of the military. Note: individuals interviewed describe combat situations and psychological symptoms.


90 minutes
Cost: $19.95 (buy)

This documentary focuses on a group of female Army support soldiers who became the first women in American history to be sent into direct ground combat. The story is told through interviews, journals, and archival footage. It offers perspective on the training of female soldiers, how they interact to defuse tension with local civilians and women in Iraq, as well as their re-adjustment as female combat veterans.

Note: there is some footage of combat in Iraq that may be disturbing.

Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience 

90 minutes
Cost: $24.99 (buy)

This documentary film is part of a project created by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to gather the writing of servicemen and women and their families who have participated in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The NEA brought distinguished writers to conduct writing workshops at 25 domestic and overseas military installations from 2004 to 2005. Through interviews and dramatic readings, the film examines the experiences of the men and women who are serving in the United States Armed Forces.

Note: there is some non-graphic combat imagery in this video.