War Trauma: Lessons Unlearned from Vietnam to Iraq (Volume 3 of A Vietnam Trilogy)by Raymond Monsour Scurfield
Pub. Date: 09/28/2006
Publisher: Algora Publishing
A Vietnam Trilogy reveals the psychiatric impact of war on soldiers and veterans, denied or minimized by government and the military. The effects go on for decades, and we are still just learning to understand them. Through efforts to treat veterans of past conflicts Raymond Scurfield, a nationally-renowned authority on post-traumatic stress disorder, illustrates the… See more details below
A Vietnam Trilogy reveals the psychiatric impact of war on soldiers and veterans, denied or minimized by government and the military. The effects go on for decades, and we are still just learning to understand them. Through efforts to treat veterans of past conflicts Raymond Scurfield, a nationally-renowned authority on post-traumatic stress disorder, illustrates the inevitability of lifelong psychiatric, psychological and social scars from today's conflicts as well. In War Trauma, the third volume in A Vietnam Trilogy, he looks at what military and mental health professionals should have learned from the Vietnam War and prior wars for insights to help people who are now in the military or in the healing professions, and their families and communities, to deal with today's realities of combat and its aftermath. The author was a national faculty member for joint VA-DOD training programs to enhance mental health response readiness in preparation for the Persian Gulf War. What he found was a resurgence of selective amnesia and denial about the true impact of war. Scurfield notes, "Chillingly, what happened in Vietnam in 1968-69 regarding psychiatric casualties has enormous parallels to what is happening today regarding US psychiatric casualties from the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars." A Vietnam Trilogy offers veterans, their families, their communities and their care providers insights into the nature of the traumas suffered and recommendations for therapy break-throughs for active duty military personnel and veterans with post-traumatic stress, and essential guidance for their families. Scurfield documents his innovative therapies for treating war trauma and PTSD and a comprehensive modelyet to be attained in most treatment approaches; they will be the foundation for programs to help today's veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars and their families, in addition to veterans of previous wars still suffering from war trauma. * Raymond Monsour Scurfield, DSW, LCSW, ACSW, is an Associate Professor in the School of Social Work at the University of Southern Mississippi-Gulf Coast. A Vietnam veteran, he worked for the Dept. of Veterans Affairs for 25 years and directed PTSD mental health programs in Los Angeles, Washington DC, the Pacific Northwest, Hawaii and American Samoa. He is recognized nationally and internationally for his expertise in war-related PTSD through his leadership of innovative treatment programs, 50+ publications, 250+ presentations, educational videos, national media appearances and research. His most recent publications are on the continuing psychological impact of the events of 9/ll and Hurricane Katrina. Scurfield has received several outstanding university teacher awards, and the 2006 Mississippi Social Worker of the Year Award in recognition of his post-Hurricane Katrina social work activities and post-traumatic stress interventions on the MS Gulf Coast since August 29, 2005. Presenting Scurfield with the Deptartment of Veterans Affairs Olin Teague award in 1988, President Ronald Reagan said, "Your achievements in the study and treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder have become landmarks in psychiatry." Scurfield continues to break new ground in the treatment of war-related PTSD.
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Dr. Raymond Monsour Scurfield is a professor in the School of Social Work at the University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast. He is a Vietnam veteran and worked for the Department of Veterans Affairs for 25 years and has directed PTSD mental health programs in a number of locations. He is recognized nationally and internationally for his expertise in PTSD in both combat veterans and disaster survivors. This expertise comes from his many years of experience in working with others in the mental health profession and his own personal experience of being a veteran who experienced war as a psychiatric social work officer. By reading the synopsis of each book, one can discover how Dr. Raymond Monsour Scurfield takes readers on a journey from his first days in Vietnam until the very present, going back with him on several trips with other veterans, and then the questions need to be addressed in how the past has affected the way the veterans of today's wars are being treated. Dr. Scurfield shares his personal journey as well as sharing quotes and experiences from many other veterans. His personal sharing allows us to see deeply into his thoughts and how his strategies and innovative therapies for treating combat veterans can be used in the field of mental health. These books can open doors for active duty military members and veterans, as well as offer guidance to their families and other community members. Personally, I wondered what impact this series of books would have on me. I am not a veteran, I have a son who served eight years in the Marines, but is a non-combat veteran. So.should others like me take the time to read these books? They are not what I would call an "easy read" whatsoever, but I would call them an "essential read," for all of us have been impacted by war and know people that are struggling with PTSD issues. For me, having the input of "other voices" beyond Dr. Raymond Scurfield's allowed me to hear the stories from more than one voice and helped me to "experience" through them, the impact that war had on each and every one of them. Dr. Scurfield is an expert whose voice is being heard around the world. Anyone who is experiencing PTSD or knows someone struggling with PTSD would be wise in reading these books. They would be a wonderful resource for mental health professionals. We may not have learned enough from Vietnam, but Dr. Scurfield brings us the hope that we need for moving into our future.
Dr. Scurfield¿s third volume of his war trauma trilogy is by far and unequivocally, the most precise, frank, and heart-rendering publication on the subject matter of war¿s far reaching and unending impact, whether for the clinician¿s toolbox or the war veteran seeking answers that simply do not exist elsewhere. For example, I found the chapters on ¿Iraq and War Zone Psychiatric Casualties¿, ¿The Return Home and the Ricochet Effect on the Family¿, and ¿War Trauma-Related Blame, Guilt, and Shame: Relief is Possible¿ to be particularly salient and meaningful in their characterization of the trail of damages brought on by wartime service, as well as the great hope that exists for adapting and overcoming. Beyond any doubt, it is the fact that Dr. Scurfield has been in the trenches himself and lived war up close and personal that has allowed his pure genius to portray the essence of war so magnificently. This book is the ultimate and essential toolbox for the clinician, the veteran, and the family in terms of understanding and confronting the agonizing battle to overcome the damages sustained through exposure to the most unnatural and horrific of experiences. Stated simply, there is nothing out there in the literature that does so nearly as skillfully. Colonel Kathy Platoni, Psy.D.
Dr. Scurfield has led the reader to the inevitable understanding that only a small percentage of our citizens actually serve in the military, only a few more of our citizens have any close connection to those who are serving, and many of the others would rather not think about the costs of war in terms of loss, pain and human sacrifice. We neither serve nor honor those who went to war by practicing 'patriotism lite'. Our veterans have paid the price for the care they deserve.
Dr. Scurfield is one of the recognized international experts in trauma and PTSD. That fact was reaffirmed with his third book in his trilogy on the impact of war. This is an important book, and extremely timely given the emerging picture of a society embroiled in a war, not only destructive to foreign lands, but to the soldiers who fight there and who return with both visible and invisible wounds, many that will take a life-time to heal. Dr. Scurfield does these soldiers justice, a rare phenomenon - An important and essential book, to understand where we have been and how we continue to re-enact the dilemmas of warfare and their aftermath. I cannot praise this work enough.