To schedule an appointment or an initial meeting
in San Francisco or Alameda: 415-533-9724

Life as A Veteran

Though hostilities cease and life moves on, and though loved ones yearn for healing, veterans often remain drenched in imagery and emotion of war for decades and sometimes their entire lives. For these survivors, every vital characteristic that we attribute to the soul may be fundamentally reshaped.  - Ed Tick

The effects of war, violence and trauma can be devastating, altering a person’s basic sense of self, their capacity for closeness with others, as well as their ability to re-engage in even once pleasurable aspects of their lives with the eagerness or confidence they once had.

Even with the support of friends and family, many veterans endure this experience alone, traumatized by their combat experiences, but reticent to seek the support they need, fearful their symptoms will be misconstrued as weakness, rather than the effects of the profound psychological injuries they sustained as soldiers.

Many veterans attempt to resume their lives, grateful to return home, but grieving the loss of their military service. With this experience as a point of reference, their civilian lives may no longer feel meaningful. They may be physically present, but psychically absent … bombarded by the intrusion of traumatic memories, feelings of remorse, guilt or shame or fears of impending threat or violence. They may be easily startled, frustrated and angered.

The affects of trauma can be profound – but with practical, psychological and social support, combat veterans can begin to recover from the overwhelming impact of war on their lives.

Psychotherapy, combined with other services, can often help veterans in this process of recovery, especially by providing them with an opportunity to talk more openly about their combat experiences -- often the most crucial step in the preliminary process of integration and recuperation.

If you are a veteran, it can also help you:

  • Understand the psychological injuries you have experienced
  • Recognize and manage the symptoms of post-traumatic stress associated with these injuries
  • Develop strategies for restoring a greater sense of safety in your life and coping with responses to traumatic stimuli, intrusive memories or other reactions to acute stress
  • Identify and develop practices or rituals that support your well-being, including in renewing closeness with your family and friends
  • Grieve the death of comrades or other losses, including the loss of your life prior to deployment
  • Cope with feelings of remorse or guilt evoked by memories of deaths you may have witnessed or regret
  • Develop new cognitive strategies for understanding your deployment experience
  • Find new sources of meaning in your life and your military experience
  • Begin to communicate more openly with your family
  • Identify, develop and implement plans to resolve post-deployment problems
  • Find additional source of psycho-social support for the mental, emotional, spiritual and interpersonal challenges faced by veterans and families before, during and after deployment.

If you are a veteran, I invite you to call me for an initial no-fee consultation. If, for some reason I cannot help you, I will refer you to others in our community committed to serving veterans and their families. As the daughter of a veteran, and a clinician with experience assisting military personnel and their families, I would be delighted to help you in any way I can.

If you are a family member of a veteran and need psychological support or assistance, I would also welcome your call.

RESOURCES THAT MIGHT BE HELPFUL TO YOU

National Center for PTSD
www.ncptsd.va.gov
The mission of the National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is to advance the clinical care and social welfare of America's veterans through research, education, and training in the science, diagnosis, and treatment of PTSD and stress-related disorders.

International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies
www.istss.org
ISTSS is an international multidisciplinary, professional membership organization that promotes advancement and exchange of knowledge about severe stress and trauma.

Department of Veteran's Affairs Medical Centers (VA Medical Centers)
www.seamlesstransition.va.gov
This is the VA's main website for veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. You can locate your local VA office or hospital through this website.

INFORMATION ABOUT PTSD AND OTHER WAR REACTIONS (or stress disorders)

David Baldwin's Trauma Information Pages
www.trauma-pages.com
Designed to provide clinicians and researchers information on traumatic stress.

International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies
www.istss.org
ISTSS is an international multidisciplinary, professional membership organization that promotes advancement and exchange of knowledge about severe stress and trauma.

National Center for PTSD
www.ncptsd.va.gov
The mission of the National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is to advance the clinical care and social welfare of America's veterans through research, education, and training in the science, diagnosis, and treatment of PTSD and stress-related disorders.

Ken Pope's Website
www.kspope.com
Provides free access to many different psychology journals and has a specific web page devoted to resources for working with military personnel and their families.

Gift from Within Podcast
http://www.giftfromwithin.org
This podcast provides practical tips for military families living with combat stress and PTSD. Produced by Gift From Within-Nonprofit A-V Resources for Survivors, Caregivers & Health Professionals.

PRO BONO THERAPY SERVICES

Coming Home Project
http://www.cominghomeproject.net
This San Francisco Bay Area organization offers pro bono psychotherapy services to OEF/OIF veterans and their families.

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