PTSD Spirituality Book Review: “Welcome Them Home – Help Them Heal”

A very valuable book has come on the scene for those who care to help nourish and restore the souls of those damaged by PTSD.  

Immediate details follow:

 Welcome Them Home – Help Them Heal: Pastoral care and ministry with service members returning from war.

 Published by: Whole Person Associates, 2009, 112 pages.

ISBN 978-1-57025-246-4, $12.00

 See also www.welcomethemhomebook.com

 I am fortunate to know one of the authors of this book.  And, perhaps it is their misfortune to know me.  In full disclosure, I am mentioned in the book on one of the pages.  They mention my belief and experience that living the liturgy is healing.  My “immersion” into biblical stories as one of the ways I stay alive is also mentioned.

 Welcome Them Home – Help Them Heal will be understood as one of the fundamental milestones in healing PTSD soul damage. 

 It provides a viable framework to enable Christians to become people who actually help the PTSD afflicted, instead of just saying nice things about how much we all care.

 For a book that is only 112 pages long, it is very readable and useable.  It can be engaged by pastors, lay people, individuals and congregations.  Frankly, it explains much of what I had discovered in the liturgy and Christian community that has kept me alive over the last 25 years.  I have had trouble articulating that and the authors have done a splendid job of doing so.  I am glad they have done so.

 The book is concrete and does not wince at the horrible truth of PTSD.  It provides real assets for the Church’s engagement of PTSD and soul wounds.  I frequently am annoyed with “Drive By Caring” – people who want to be seen by others as helping, but really don’t care.  As a semi-public figure with PTSD and chronic pain I get a lot of that, as do most people who suffer from grief, pain, or disability.  This book does not engage in Drive By caring.  It is very useful.

 “Welcome Them Home – Help Them Heal” is valuable for several reasons.  It helps to articulate the reality of PTSD and its challenges.  It meets the goal of PTSD Awareness without stopping only there.  It also articulates the Church’s role in healing.  The text also explains how to help someone deal with the Veterans Administration.  Veterans need advocates to help them with the maze of paperwork set up as obstacles to deny veterans complete and timely care.  This book also serves that need.

 Every year I teach a course called the Theology of Violence and Non-Violence.  I usually spend a significant amount of time explaining PTSD to my students and how it is a spiritual problems as well as a medical condition.  I expect that I will require Welcome Them Home – Help Them Heal as one of my textbooks.  It is a book that can be used for individual study and application.  It is also suitable for small group and classroom study.

 I recommend this book for all who wish to alleviate the soul wounds of PTSD.   Welcome Them Home – Help Them Heal focuses on the returning veterans, it is also useful for anyone wounded by PTSD, be it civilian rape trauma, or some other form of abuse.

 Semper Pax, Dr. Z

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