Dr. Heidi Horsley talks about military post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with Dr. Ed Tick, an expert in the field. He’s the author of “War and the Soul” as well as four other books. He’s the director of Soldier’s Heart and has worked with military members and their families for several years. There’s a difference between military PTSD and “regular” PTSD. Trauma from military PTSD is impacted by traumatic accidents, illnesses, and deaths, but also involves being an agent of death and destruction. Veterans are asking for help feeling forced to be perpetrators. Training military members means training killers, and you can easily get overwhelmed by the death imprint.

You may touch more dead bodies in one year of military service than you will touch living people in your entire life. Veterans are immersed in death, cause death and destruction, and are often broken hearted. They need spiritual and community health to recover from this. Many people don’t think about everything vets are asked to do—and do—in the name of serving their country.

Defining “Service”

We need to be ready to hear floods of pain and suffering according to Dr. Tick. These people are charged with protecting us, both literally and by staying silent about their experience. Overcoming the aftermath of war can take a lifetime. It also depends on the culture the warrior comes from. Serving and returning requires ritual and ceremony to mark the degree of death. The responsibility also needs to be transferred from warriors to the whole society.

Holidays like Memorial Day need to become a ceremony of loss. Know that warriors who take life become responsible for the souls of those they killed. Understanding this can help warriors undertake proper grieving.

 

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Heidi Horsley

Dr. Heidi Horsley is an international grief expert, licensed psychologist, and social worker. She is the Executive Director and Co-Founder of the Open to Hope Foundation, one of the largest internet grief resources, with over 2 million yearly visitors. She hosts the award-winning Open to Hope cable television show and podcast. Dr. Heidi is an adjunct professor at Columbia University. She serves on the ​National Board of Directors for The Compassionate Friends, the largest peer to peer support organization in the world. She also serves on the National Advisory Board for the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS). TAPS has served over 50,000 military families who have suffered a loss. In addition, she serves on the National Advisory Board for the Elisabeth Kubler-Ross Foundation, and the Children's Brain Tumor Foundation. Dr. Heidi is on the VIP section of Marquis Who's Who in America, Madison Who's Who, and Who's Who of American Women. Dr. Heidi has co-authored eight books, including; Spouse Loss; Fresh Grief; Inspirational Stories for Handling the Holidays After Loss; Inspirational Stories of Healing After Loss; Real Men Do Cry; A Quarterbacks Inspiring Story of Tackling Depression & Surviving Suicide; Teen Grief Relief: Parenting with Understanding Support and Guidance; and Signs and Hope From Heaven. She has appeared on the ABC television show 20/20, has been interviewed by numerous media outlets, and has been a guest on hundreds of radio shows as well as quoted in dozens of media publications, including the Metro World News, Washington Post, Time Magazine, Newsday, Money Magazine, and New York Daily News. Dr. Heidi is also the author of numerous articles and academic book chapters. Dr. Heidi gives keynotes, presentations, and workshops throughout the country, and teaches continuing education workshops for health care professionals on support following trauma and tragedy. For 10 yrs., Dr. Heidi worked as a co-investigator for the FDNY-Columbia University Family Guidance Program; a study which looked at traumatic loss in families of firefighters killed in the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks. Through this 9/11 study, Dr. Heidi provided ongoing intervention and follow-up to firefighter widows and their children, and facilitated groups for bereaved siblings. In addition, Dr. Heidi supervised the school social work staff at Harlem Democracy Charter Schools in NYC for four years. Dr. Heidi's early career included work in a variety of clinical settings, including; Manhattan Psychiatric Center, California Pacific Medical Center Psychiatry Dept., University of San Francisco Mental Health Clinic, St. Lukes-Roosevelt Hospital Psychiatry Dept., and Hope Haven Residential Treatment Center in New Orleans. Her doctoral dissertation was on the sudden death of a sibling. Her academic credentials include a doctorate in Psychology (PsyD) from the University of San Francisco; a Masters degree in social work (LMSW) from Columbia University, and a Masters degree in mental health counseling (MS) from Loyola University, in New Orleans. Dr. Heidi splits her time between NYC and Tucson AZ.

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