Getting past the past: Healing the suffering heroes of war



As a psychologist for the last 20 years, the first combat veterans I treated were those of the Vietnam War. When I walked into my local Veterans Outreach Center, I was startled to see how much suffering still existed. Although the war had ended twenty years earlier, these men were still haunted by their experiences. It was then that I learned about the depth of their suffering. The memories they often talked about, ones that still awoke them screaming from nightmares, involved the people who had died. One veteran spoke of the guilt he felt because, after going to war at the age of 19 to serve his country and help his fellow soldiers, he discovered that to do that he had to take lives. He cried as he recounted his fear that the artillery he had called in to save his battalion might have killed children in a nearby village. Others spoke of being powerless as they watched a friend die. They felt anger, fear, powerlessness and above all guilt. [Excerpt]






Francine Shapiro

Original Work Citation

Shapiro, F. (2012, March 19). Getting past the past: Healing the suffering heroes of war. Big Think. Retrieved from on 3/19/2012



“Getting past the past: Healing the suffering heroes of war,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed October 19, 2020,

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