War and the Soul: Healing Our Nation’s Veterans from Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
Commandant's Reading List
Published December 30, 2005
The New England Journal of Medicine reports that 16 percent (one in eight) of returning Iraq veterans suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. Such vets typically can’t hold jobs. They are incapable of intimacy, creative work, and self-realization. Some can’t leave the house because they are afraid they will kill or be killed.
The key to healing, says psychotherapist Ed Tick, is in how we understand PTSD. In war’s overwhelming violence, the soul—the true self—flees and can become lost for life. He redefines PTSD as a true identity disorder, with radical implications for therapy. First, Tick establishes the traditional context of war in mythology and religion. Then he describes in depth PTSD in terms of identity issues. Finally, drawing on world spiritual traditions, he presents ways to nurture a positive identity based in compassion and forgiveness.
War and the Soul will change the way we think about war, for veterans and for all those who love and want to help them. It shows how to make the wounded soul whole again. When this work is achieved, PTSD vanishes and the veteran can truly return home.