Transforming War Trauma: The Healing Power of Community

Transforming War Trauma: The Healing Power of Community

by Joseph Bobrow

Psychoanalyst and Zen master, Joseph Bobrow, PhD, describes his groundbreaking work providing healing retreats for traumatized veterans and their families. 

"What's the matter? The war's over," someone said to a veteran. "Yeah, over and over and over," he replied.

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Coming Home

It’s January, 2007, the first moments of the Coming Home Project’s first retreat for veterans and their families. Kenny Sargent and Rory Dunn are Iraq veterans who both sustained traumatic brain injuries (TBI). One was shot in the head, one was hit by an improvised explosive device (IED); both suffer from post-traumatic stress. As people mill around, Ken and Rory meet for the first time, up close and personal. Since neither can see very well, they touch each other’s wounds, comparing scars and experiences. They are like long-lost brothers. The process of making palpable emotional connections has begun.
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Joseph BobrowJoseph Bobrow is the founder and president of the Coming Home Project, a community service of Deep Streams Institute. Since 2007 Coming Home has helped 3,000 post 9/11 veterans, families, and caregivers from 48 states alleviate the emotional, relational and spiritual injuries of war with a pioneering, evidence-based reintegration approach.

A psychologist-psychoanalyst and a Zen master, Joseph writes on the interplay of community-based, psychologically and spiritually informed approaches to transforming trauma—individually, relationally and culturally. He blogs on Huffington Post and Psychology Today and teaches throughout the United States and abroad. 
This was a very good article. For several years I have worked with veterans and their families who suffer from the impact of PTSD. Your article reminded me of the faces that looked back at me in my groups.
Margarette Farmer
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CE credits: 1
Learning objectives:

  • Define the core elements of Bobrow's Coming Home Project.
  • Illustrate the importance of community support and meaningful collective ritual in the process of healing from war trauma.
  • Describe the primary differences between the DSM-IV-TR definition of PTSD and Bobrow's understanding of what he calls "post traumatic stress."
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