Episode 222 - Dr. Clyde Angel, John Sullivan, and Dr. Vincent Starnino: At My Core, I'm Not the Same: Spiritual Injury and Military Trauma (part 2 of 2)

Monday, August 28, 2017, 7:52:07 AM

Image of Clyde Angel, John Sullivan, and Vincent R. Starnino

In part two of a two-part podcast, our guests Dr. Clyde Angel, John Sullivan, and Dr. Vincent Starnino continue their discussion related to spiritual injury and military trauma. They describe the conception and process of creating their program. Observing that traditional evidence-based treatments did not easily address the existential issues they were hearing about from their clients, our guests explain how they developed the key components of their program. Feedback from participants and continuing evaluation efforts conclude the conversation.

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Average Rating: 4stars  review, Wednesday, February 07, 2018

By Elizabeth A Roosa :

It was interesting to hear how they are attempting to gain more of a holistic view of the client and their presenting problems. In doing so, they stressed the importance of not only emotional, physical, mental, and social health, but also the importance of spiritual health. Spirituality is more of a personal experience and it is how an individual expresses themselves. On the contrary, religion is a communal experience related to one’s culture, world views, and morals.
They talked about the four levels of wounding that can affect ones spirituality. First, a traumatic event occurs such as being in the military and witnessing death. Second, they share what happened and they receive negative feedback. Third, they internalize the negative feedback and say things like, “I feel immoral for having witnessed that.” Lastly, they fully believe they are immoral and say, “I am immoral.” To me, this all starts with the clinician. We cannot be giving negative feedback that is hurtful to the patient.
Dr. Vincent’s research helped to understand how we can better help patients. First, he attempted to understand spiritual wounding and how it intersects with traumatic events; which helps the clinician implement useful interventions that help the patient. He interviewed 23 veterans. He found that those who experienced protective factors or people who were religious and went to church regularly were more likely to have a shattered spirituality after the military. It occurred within an instant moment that they no longer believed in God or a higher power. On the other hand, people who experienced trauma before entering the military did not return from the military with a shattered spirituality. Instead they experienced spiritual dissonance.
Overall, they found the common theme to be avoidance. Instead of dealing with these issues they backed away from their faith and avoided the trauma altogether.

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