Saturday, August 1, 2009

Soldiers die in war. The question is, how do we deal with it?

One of my jobs as a Chaplain will be to help soldiers learn to cope and give permission to grieve when one of their closest buddied dies. Naturally, when something traumatic happens, tough guys want to shut down and keep it all inside. That is the last thing in the world that I want to see happen. When something traumatic happens we have to open up and talk about it, talk about how it effects us, talk about what it has done to us.
Here is an example of part of what I'll be doing. It's a tough video to watch because its real.

If you watch, you will see a Captain give the "facts" of the situation. This is the first step in what we call at TEM (Traumatic Event Management) intervention. Someone who knows the facts of the event comes in and briefs everyone on what exactly happened. Then that person usually leaves and the soldier are encouraged and prompted (by the Chaplain) to talk about what happened. What they heard, what they felt, what they smelled, tasted and saw. When they share their reactions to the event (weather it be anger, rage, fear, sorrow, regret, grief, or numbness) they are understood to be held in confidence within the group. But when the soldiers open up and realize that others are having the same feelings they begin to help each other cope. It doesn't lessen the loss, but the hope is that the soldiers feelings are validated and normalized and they don't feel isolated and alone.
Give it a watch:

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