Returning Troops/ Resilient Attachment/Odysseus in America - 12/05
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Tue Dec 6 08:56:46 EST 2005
- RETURNING TROOPS
> Do you have any information that I could pass on to individuals who are soon
> to be reunited with spouses who have been deployed to Iraq? I would like
> advice/suggestions on how they can adjust to becoming a married couple again
> and having all family members reunited. Things on what to expect, pitfalls to
> avoid, etc....
> Any information you can provide will be greatly appreciated.
> Cindy Reichard
> Ministry Assistant
> Family Ministries
> MO Baptist Convention
We are going to have the most fascinating workshop on this at the Atlanta
Smart Marriages Conference presented by the Army on a new model they're
developing. It's based, in part, on the work of Jonathan Shay, MD, PhD,
author of "Achilles in Vietnam: Combat Trauma and the Undoing of Character"
and "Odysseus in America: Combat Trauma and the Trials of Homecoming". The
new model will emphasize the importance of bonds -- the bonds of marriage,
bonds of faith and meaning, bonds of brotherhood -- and the importance of
these attachments to prevent or ameliorate PTSD. The foundation is
"resilient attachment" in marriage -- before and after deployment -- and on
rituals that will strengthen and increase resilience and functioning. One of
the ideas is that the opposite of fear isn't courage, the opposite of fear
is love. Achilles didn't perform acts of heroism, but acts of love. And
that rage and savagery and PTSD are results of "moral injury" a term Shay
seems to have invented -- results of loss of attachment, loss of meaning and
of unmourned grief. And, of course, we're excited about applications of this
new model across the board -- to all marriages. What marriage or life
doesn't have to deal with trauma, loss, lack of meaning, and grief and
wouldn't be improved by resilient attachment? So, hope you can make it in
June for this 2 hour session:
> Resilient Attachment, Faith and Meaning
> Peter Frederich
> Learn how the Army is using a Resilient Attachment, faith and meaning model to
> strengthen marriage and prevent PTSD.
In meantime, you might want to order the Shay books and start reading:
Odysseus in America: Combat Trauma and the Trials of Homecoming is available
on amazon for only $6.99 hardback at:
> Odysseus in America: Combat Trauma and the Trials of Homecoming
> Jonathan Shay
> $6.99 on amazon Hardback, 352 pgs 2002, Scribner ISBN: 0743211561
> Shay maintains that Odysseus experienced nearly all of the symptoms he has
> observed in returned veterans of modern wars: fearfulness, inability to trust
> or be close to anyone, emotional outbursts, violence, criminal activity,
> sexual adventurism, and so forth. Homer understood and appreciated what war
> really meant to the participants. The book offers healing techniques and
> suggestions for prevention. "Read this book and understand what the American
> combat veteran experiences on his return home. Anyone involved in the helping
> professions will enjoy and benefit. Anybody who has a combat veteran in their
> family will learn and be better for it. Also, read this book to finally
> understand Homer." -Dennis Spencer
Or, order both books on amazon for only $18.
And, here is a reply to your request for information from Katherine Robredo
who presented a workshop at the Dallas Smart Marriages Conference and who
works intensively with returning soldiers and their families. You can order
the 90-minute workshop for $15 on CD, audio cassette or MP3 format at
> Session # 755-507
> Great Military Marriages
> Katherine Robredo, MSW, Maureen Griner, MA
> Learn strategies to help military couples face the trauma of separations and
> reunions -- stay connected, restore intimacy, manage PTSD. Add to any marriage
> program or teach as a stand alone.
Some of the couples I'm working with have soldiers heading back for their
third tour in Iraq. Here are some of my observations about reunion
They are very difficult and the reunions, themselves, can EITHER be building
blocks or stumbling blocks.
Both spouses have to engage in several tasks to be successful, including:
reconnecting to family and spouse, reestablishing intimacy,
having an awareness that both spouses have been changed by events and
experiences. Others involve dealing with unrealistic expectations,
changes in children, reestablishing roles, responsibilities and routines.
The troops I work with have generally experienced a lot of trauma and loss
-- combat and its aftermath, harsh living conditions, insurgent threats and
sustained urban warfare -- and the emotions of grief, loss, and survivor
guilt can be overwhelming. Many experience hyper vigilance and are very
uncomfortable in a crowd such as shopping at the mall or going to
restaurants. I find that most soldiers are reluctant to talk about the
emotional trauma to their spouse. I caution couples to go very slow!
I am seeing a high degree of PTSD that is often delayed. Often the symptoms
don't show up until a few months before redeployment. I find that the
soldiers generally want to deny these feelings of depression, flashbacks,
sleep disturbance, emotional numbing and loss of interests. The spouse
seems to notice first and are often the ones that demand the soldier get
treatment. I make sure both parties are aware of PTSD and treatment
Anyone working with these clients should watch "Saving Private Ryan" and
"Black Hawk Down" to get a good idea of the trauma of war and the
experiences our young men and women have.
robredo at earthlink.net
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