Much has rightly been written about the physiological and psychological symptoms, known as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), suffered by combat veterans, and their treatment. Much less has been written about the moral, spiritual and existential pain that soldiers experience as a consequence of carrying through the stated purpose of war for the common soldier – kill the enemy until the war is won.
Based on his 20+ years' experience of treating combat veterans, Dr Larry Dewey explores the war trauma and life adaptation of combatants over two decades of intensive treatment. He addresses moral, spiritual and existential issues while also attending to the important physiological and psychological symptoms. Using case material, thoughts, experiences and, literally, the words of 65 veterans of various wars, he portrays in depth and with meaningful detail the process of successful treatment and the eventual positive adaptation for these veterans.
The volume explores the deep pain and burden of killing and the role of propaganda and love in starting and maintaining war. Through the veterans' stories the author portrays the personal war of the ordinary combatant and the burden of guilt, grief and pain they often carry afterwards. The second part tackles the actual healing process, and part three explores the concepts of sin, confession, mercy, forgiveness, redemption and love, and how veterans have used them in aiding their own recovery from war's grief and moral pain.
War and Redemption provides an invaluable tool in the understanding and treatment of PTSD for therapists, veterans and their families. It will also be a fascinating and valuable resource for all those interested in PTSD more generally.
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