Courage after Fire for Parents: Strategies for Coping When Your Son or Daughter Returns from Deployment


Parents of returning service members may sometimes feel that their voices are not heard. The media is saturated with stories about troops returning from deployment with mental health problems like post-traumatic stress, depression, and substance abuse. Some also return home with physical problems including traumatic brain injury, physical pain or more severe injuries like amputations. Almost all returning service members experience reintegration challenges such as readjusting to...

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Courage After Fire for Parents of Service Members: Strategies for Coping When Your Son or Daughter Returns from Deployment

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Parents of returning service members may sometimes feel that their voices are not heard. The media is saturated with stories about troops returning from deployment with mental health problems like post-traumatic stress, depression, and substance abuse. Some also return home with physical problems including traumatic brain injury, physical pain or more severe injuries like amputations. Almost all returning service members experience reintegration challenges such as readjusting to family and community, finding employment or attending school.

But rarely do we hear how parents are taking on the role of supporting their sons and daughters who have served our country. In countless ways these parents provide help—and when their military child suffers significant physical or psychological injuries, they may once again become their primary caretaker. For mothers and fathers and others in a parenting role, it can be overwhelming at times, and resources are limited.

Courage after Fire for Parents of Service Members provides a compassionate and accessible guide for the parents or guardians of returning troops. This groundbreaking book acknowledges the significant contribution and sacrifice parents have made for their military children, provides strategies and resources that will assist them in understanding and supporting their son or daughter, and will validate their own personal experiences.

Recommendations for helping them care for their returning service member are woven throughout the book, as well as education about the importance of taking care of themselves to help prevent caregiver burnout. Vignettes and reflections from parents who have had a child deploy offer a sense of hope and community.

Even in the best of circumstances, parents play an instrumental role in helping their sons and daughters successfully reintegrate after deployment. This book is a valuable resource for any parent who is seeking to better understand and support a returning military child while caring for themselves.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Courage after Fire for Parents of Service Members empowers those of us who are the parents of a returning veteran with vital information and hands-on strategies to better understand and support our sons and daughters after they return home from warzone deployments. A must-read for every parent of an active duty service member or veteran.”
Belle Landau, executive director of Returning Veterans Project and mother of an OIF Veteran
“Whether you’re a parent, other family member, or good friend of a service member or veteran who is struggling with readjustment, this much-needed book can help you understand more about what your loved one is going through and show you how you can better assist him or her in coping with the psychological and physical injuries that can result from going to war. Strongly recommended!”
Josef I. Ruzek, PhD, director of the National Center for PTSD Dissemination and Training Division, Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System, and associate professor, Pacific Graduate School for Psychology

“Written by a remarkable team of mental health professionals with extensive experience in serving veterans and their families, Courage After Fire for Parents of Service Members is a treasure trove of information and wisdom for parents of service members returning home from war. Similar to its predecessor, Courage After Fire, written for service members themselves, this sequel offers compassionate understanding, critical information, and insights, as well as practical advice for how to survive and even thrive following combat deployment.”
Douglas K. Snyder, PhD, professor of clinical psychology at Texas A&M University in College Station and co-editor of Couple-Based Interventions for Military and Veteran Families: A Practitioner’s Guide

 “As a parent of two Operation Enduring Freedom veterans, and as a chaplain who has both served in combat and ministered to thousands of families of combat veterans, I can attest to the need for a guide for parents on how to help their sons and daughters when they return from combat. Parents will greatly benefit from the valuable information in this book. I wish we had this book a decade ago. It fills a huge void.” 
CH (COL) John Morris, JFHQ Chaplain, Minnesota National Guard and parent of two OEF Veterans


 “Domenici, Best, and Armstrong attend to the forgotten family members of our warfighters—their parents—with compassion, wisdom, and clarity. No matter how old they are or their circumstances, [service members] are someone's children who need help, which this book provides.”
—Charles R. Figley, PhD, former USMC SGT, Vietnam Veteran, Tulane University Distinguished Professor, and Kurzweg Chair in Disaster Mental Health

“Fantastic resource! A must-read for every parent with a returning daughter or son. The authors have taken a very complex and critical topic and converted it into an easy reference guide that parents can use to tailor to their family situation. Courage After Fire for Parents of Service Members is loaded with insightful suggestions, practical tips, and useful advice that will help parents and service members more successfully navigate their journey together.”
Alan V. Rogers, Major General, USAF (Ret)

Courage after Fire for Parents of Service Members is the guide every parent must have to cope with the enlistment and deployments of their children, and is something I wish my parents had when I deployed to Afghanistan in 2005. This book shows parents how to do what they have always done throughout their children's lives—take care of them and protect them—especially now, when they need their parents the most.”
Derek Blumke, cofounder of Student Veterans of America and Former Director of the Department of Veterans Affairs VITAL Initiative

 “At once poignant, enlightening, and instructive for anyone with family or friends in the military! This book is destined to become the authoritative manual for dealing with pre-and post-deployment issues.”
Nancy Totman, Blue Star Mom of Navy Submariner

“This beautiful book is a must-read for all parents whose children live and work in harm’s way. The authors help parents grasp the wounds war inflicts and the challenges of adjustment after deployment.”
Sue Johnson, EdD, professor at Alliant International University and University of Ottawa, Canada, and author of Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781608827152
  • Publisher: New Harbinger Publications
  • Publication date: 7/1/2013
  • Pages: 248
  • Sales rank: 447,376
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Paula Domenici, PhD, is a counseling psychologist focused on deployment-related mental health issues with a specialization in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). She has worked extensively with veterans, as well as educating clinicians who care for them. She currently trains military and civilian mental health providers across the country on evidence-based therapies and cultural-sensitive practices for assisting the military community. Previously, she served as an American Psychological Association (APA) policy fellow in former Senator Clinton's office addressing concerns of veterans and seniors. Earlier, Domenici was a staff psychologist on the San Francisco Veteran’s Administration’s PTSD Clinical Team, treating veterans with combat trauma and supporting their spouses. She lives in Washington, DC.
Suzanne Best, PhD, is a clinical psychologist specializing in the study, evaluation, and treatment of PTSD and other trauma-related conditions. In her over-ten years with the PTSD Research Program at the San Francisco VA Medical Center, she directed numerous federally funded studies of combat veterans and law enforcement professionals with a focus on treatment development. She currently resides in Portland, OR, where she treats veterans, first responders, and civilian trauma survivors. In addition, she serves as an adjunct professor at Lewis and Clark Graduate School of Education and Counseling where she teaches courses in trauma psychology and is currently conducting a study of parents of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans.
Keith Armstrong, LCSW, is a clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco. He is director of the San Francisco Veterans Administration's (SFVA) Family Therapy Program and the City College of San Francisco Veterans Outreach Program, and is a member of the SFVA's PTSD Clinical Team. In addition, he is a consultant for the Intensive Family Therapy program at the University of California, San Francisco. Armstrong has authored numerous clinical and research articles and chapters addressing the treatment of traumatized individuals and families. He is also a reviewer for the Journal of Traumatic Stress, a top journal in the field of traumatology, and he has conducted numerous radio, newspaper, and podcast interviews on the psychological treatment of veterans and families. He lives with his wife and two children in the San Francisco Bay Area.
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