When Johnny and Jane Come Marching Home: how all of us can help veterans

The below is lifted straight off the publishers page. Just wanted to share. Paula Caplan’s work has been highlighted on this blog before.  She has also been interviewed by Will Hall on Madness Radio here and here. She does consistently important work elucidating the chaos that is called psychiatry.

This book reiterates at least one theme I’ve brought up several times on this blog. I’ve said it before this way, “War creates trauma for a sensitive soul and PTSD is a natural response to a heinous experience. PTSD after a war experience suggests ones humanity, not weakness.”

I have not read this book and am sharing because it looks important.

A book from MIT PRESS.

How All of Us Can Help Veterans
Paula J. Caplan

Traumatized veterans returning from our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are often diagnosed as suffering from a psychological disorder and prescribed a regimen of psychotherapy and psychiatric drugs. But why, asks psychologist Paula J. Caplan in this impassioned book, is it a mental illness to be devastated by war? What is a mentally healthy response to death, destruction, and moral horror? In When Johnny and Jane Come Marching Home, Caplan argues that the standard treatment of therapy and drugs is often actually harmful. It adds to veterans’ burdens by making them believe wrongly that they should have “gotten over it”; it isolates them behind the closed doors of the therapist’s office; and it makes them rely on often harmful drugs. The numbers of traumatized veterans from past and present wars who continue to suffer demonstrate the ineffectiveness of this approach.

Sending anguished veterans off to talk to therapists, writes Caplan, conveys the message that the rest of us don’t want to listen—or that we don’t feel qualified to listen. As a result, the truth about war is kept under wraps. Most of us remain ignorant about what war is really like—and continue to allow our governments to go to war without much protest. Caplan proposes an alternative: that we welcome veterans back into our communities and listen to their stories, one-on-one. (She provides guidelines for conducting these conversations.) This would begin a long overdue national discussion about the realities of war, and it would start the healing process for our returning veterans.

About the Author

Paula J. Caplan, a clinical and research psychologist, is an Affiliate at Harvard University’s DuBois Institute and a Fellow at the Women and Public Policy Program in Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. She is the author of The Myth of Women’s MasochismThey Say You’re Crazy: How the World’s Most Powerful Psychiatrists Decide Who’s Normal, and eight other books. Her articles, essays, and op-eds have appeared in both scholarly and popular publications. go to publishers page

hat tip ICSPP Blog

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