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What Makes a Soldier? What Breaks a Soldier?

Dr. Hector Garcia

Hector Garcia is an assistant professor in the department of psychiatry at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, and a clinical psychologist at the Veterans Health Administration specializing in the treatment of combat-related post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

He has published extensively on the treatment of PTSD in combat veterans, masculine identity in the aftermath of war, stress and rank in organizations, and the interplay between religious practice and psychopathology.

He is the author of “Alpha God: The Psychology of Religious Violence and Oppression“, and his TED talk about training soldiers to return home from combat has racked up over 1 million views.

In today’s episode we discuss the evolutionary psychology of warfare, how the combat theater mirrors the environment of early humans, common causes of PTSD in a military context, and the evolutionary justifications for viewing PTSD as an adaptive survival strategy.

We also explore what aspects of the military experience make it difficult for veterans to return to civilian life, what separates veterans who settle back into peacetime environments from those who don’t, and, in light of Hector’s TED talk, after training soldiers go to war, we ask how do we train them to come home again?

 

Related Links

Hector-Garcia.com – Hector’s website

Video of violent chimpanzee attack on a neighbouring troop – YouTube

About Face – A video gallery of veterans, their family members and clinicians talking in their own words about how treatment for PTSD helps

PTSD Consultation Program (US) – A free service available to any healthcare provider treating veterans, including providers outside of the VA

Book Recommendations

                                   

Image courtesy: The U.S Army (Spc. Breanne Pye)

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PTSD: Trauma, Meaning and Malevolence

Dr. Nick Grey

Nick Grey (@nickdgrey) is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist, and Clinical Research and Training Fellow at Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, and the University of Sussex.

His research interests are in the development and dissemination of cognitive-behavioural treatments for anxiety disorders and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). He is also a member of the Wellcome Trust Anxiety Disorders Group led by David Clark and Anke Ehlers.

He is the editor of “A Casebook of Cognitive Therapy for Traumatic Stress Reactions“, co-editor of “How to be a More Effective CBT Therapist“, and co-author of the forthcoming 3rd edition of the psychological self-help classic, “Manage Your Mind”.

In today’s episode we explore the definitions and subjective nature of “trauma”, why women are twice as likely to suffer with PTSD than men, the difference between a normal and disordered trauma response, what differentiates PTSD from other anxiety disorders, we discuss the nature of malevolence and why acts of evil are more likely to result in trauma than accidents and natural disasters, why narrative and meaning plays such an important role in a person’s recovery.

 

Related Links

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – NHS Choices Summary

International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies – The largest professional organisation focused on traumatic stress

UK Psychological Trauma Society – UK version of ISTSS, includes listings of specialist UK trauma services

National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) – The NICE guidelines for PTSD provide a summary of PTSD assessment and treatment

National Center for PTSD – Program of the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs which maintains the free access Published International Literature on Traumatic Stress (PILOTS) database

PTSD Coach App – The PTSD Coach app can help you learn about and manage symptoms that often occur after trauma (iOS), (Android)

Book Recommendations

                                   

 

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Image courtesy: RANT 73