Aphrodite Matsakis, Ph.D.
Licensed Counseling Psychologist








Books authored by Dr. Matsakis

Suvivor Guilt TATRR PTSD IHW ICGOI GG MCAVWBack from the Front

 

Books for Clients and Therapists:

Back from the Front: Combat Stress, Love and the Family
Click the book name above for a discription or vist the book web site by clicking www.backfromthefront.org

In Harm's Way

“I Can't Get Over It!” – A Handbook for Trauma Survivors

Trust After Trauma: A Guide to Relationships for Trauma Survivors and Those Who Love Them

Survivor Guilt: A Healing Manual

The Rape Recovery Handbook: Step-by-Step Help for Survivors of Sexual Assault  

When the Bough Breaks: A Helping Guide for Parents of Sexually Abused Children

Emotional Claustrophobia  

Vietnam Wives: Women and Children Facing the Challenge of Living with Veterans with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

“Compulsive Overeaters and Relationships”  

“Please Don't Send Me Chocolates” – For the Family and Friends of Compulsive Overeaters"

 

Professional Reading:  

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: A Complete Treatment Guide  

Managing Client Anger: What to do when your Clients are Angry with You  

 

Other:

Growing up Greek in St.Louis

 

I Can't Get Over It!” – A Handbook for Trauma Survivors

(New Harbinger Publications, Oakland , CA Second Edition)

Have you ever been beaten, robbed, raped, or forced do have sex or do other things against your will? Were you ever forced to stand by while someone else injured or killed someone you loved?

Has someone you loved committed suicide or been murdered, raped or assaulted?

Do you work in an occupation, such as police work, rescue work, emergency room work, cancer or burn treatment, or firefighting, where you deal with death and dying on a daily basis?

Were you ever in a natural catastrophe, such as an earthquake, fire, flood, or hurricane

or in a man-made catastrophe, such as a war or concentration camp? Were you, or one of your loved ones, ever the victim of an automobile, motorcycle, train or airplane accident, a technological disaster or medical malpractice horror story?

If you can answer “yes” to any of the above questions, you are a trauma survivor.

If you have been traumatized or suffered great stresses or losses in life, this book can help you through the healing process. “I Can't Get Over It” is one of the first books to guide readers through the healing process of recovering from a trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder, one step at a time. It helps survivors cope with memories and emotions; identify triggers that reactivate traumatic stress; relieve secondary wounding (the rejection and misunderstanding of others) and gain a sense of empowerment and hope. This book will soon be available in Hebrew.

“I Can't Get Over It:”: A Handbook for Trauma Survivors ($15.95, 395 pages) is available from New Harbinger Publications, 5674 Shattuck Avenue , Oakland , CA , 94609 or call 1 800 748 6273. Fax orders to 510 652 54722 or visit New Harbinger's web site at www.newharbinger.com

Reviews for “I Can't Get Over It: A Handbook for Trauma Survivors”

“For the trauma survivor and the field professional, Dr. Matsakis has written one of the most informative and sensitive books on surviving violent trauma. I Can't Get Over It covers most useful techniques and self-help suggestions for safe recovery, empowerment, and growth following trauma.”

Yigal Ben-Haim, Ph.D., with the Veterans

Assistance Center Berkeley , California

 

 

Trust after Trauma: A Guide to Relationships for Survivors and Those Who Love Them

(New Harbinger Publications, Oakland , CA )

Were you ever traumatized? Are you now dismayed to find that traumatic events not only shatter your internal sense of well-being, but also left you withdrawn or isolated?

This book helps guide you through a process of strengthening your existing bonds, building new ones (of your choice), and ending self-perpetuating cycles of withdrawal, isolation and loneliness. Step-by-step exercises help you learn how to manage your emotions, handle unresolved issues, accept realistic limitations, and find ways to make your relationships a place where you can experience healing from the pain of your past. A special section is devoted to grieving and your relationship to people whom you cherished but who are now dead as the result of the trauma.

Table of Contents

Introduction

1. Taking an Inventory of Your Relationships

2. Exile: Feeling like Frankenstein

3. Trust

4. Relationships and the Physiology of Trauma

5. Limited Psychic Energy: Causes and Coping Techniques

6.Guilt

7. Mindsets

8. When Your Loved Ones Set Off your Triggers

9. Positive Contributions of Trauma to Relationships

10. You and Your Traumatized Self

11. Protectiveness, Entitlement and Jealousy

12. Revictimization and Reenactment

13. Telling Your Story

14. To Significant Others

Appendix A: Helpful Books and Resources

Appendix B Reactions to Traumatic Stress

Reviews of Trust After Trauma

“In Trust After Trauma , Dr. Matsakis takes on the make-or-break issue of trust in survivors' relationships. She shows her readers what it takes to develop the capacity for wise, selective, eyes-open trust. This gives them a real shot at a flourishing life.”

Jonathan Shay, M.D., Ph.D. author of Achilles in Vietnam: Combat Trauma and the Undoing of Character

“Aphrodite has done it again. I highly recommend this book for clients and mental health professionals alike.”

Larry Smyth, Ph.D., director of the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Clinical Team, Veterans Affairs Maryland Health Care System – Perry Point Division

“From a warm and caring therapist and survival expert comes a superb guide to relationships between survivors and those who love them.”

Carole A. Rayburn, Ph.D., past president of the APA's division of the Psychology of Religion and the Clinical Psychology section on the Psychology of Women.

“This book is a gift to trauma survivors, their loved ones, and their friends and associates.”

Christine Courtois, Ph.D. clinical director of The Center: Posttraumatic Stress Disorders Program. Psychiatric Institute of Washington : author of Healing the Incest Wound: Adult Survivors in Therapy

“For the trauma survivor and the field professional, Dr. Matsakis has written one of the most informative and sensitive books on surviving violent trauma. I Can't Get Over It covers most useful techniques and self-help suggestions for safe recovery, empowerment, and growth following trauma.”

Yigal Ben-Haim, Ph.D., with the Veterans

Assistance Center Berkeley , California

Trust After Trauma: A Guide to Relationships for Trauma Survivors and Those Who Love Them ( 352 pages, $13.95) is available from New Harbinger Publications, 5674 Shattuck Avenue , Oakland , CA , 94609 or call 1 800 748 6273. Fax orders to 510 652 54722 or visit New Harbinger's web side at www.newharbinger.com

 

Survivor Guilt: A Self-Help Guide :

(New Harbinger Publications, Oakland , CA )

Many people feel that “guilt” is their middle name. Most people who survive a traumatic event feel guilty-especially if other people were killed or injured. Anyone who's lived through a natural or man-made catastrophe, suffered a deep personal loss, or succeeded while friends or family failed can suffer from this type of guilt.

Whether you try to ignore it or let it dominate your life, survivor guilt can affect your self-esteem, emotional or physical health, personal relationships, and career. There is no magic formula that will erase the feelings of grief for people you have lost or those you have seen harmed, but there are practical steps you can take right now to cope with these feelings and overcome the negative hold guilt has on your life.

As a psychotherapist specializing in post-traumatic stress disorder, Dr. Matsakis has counseled thousands of clients, ranging from combat veterans to victims of crime, abuse and other traumatic events. In this break-through book she shares the step-by-step strategies that have helped so many survivors overcome their chronic guilt and regain the ability to enjoy life

Contents

Acknowledgments

Introduction

Part 1 Understanding Survivor Guilt

1. What is Guilt

2. Existential Survivor Guilt

3. Content Survivor Guilt

4. Causes and Circumstances

5. Psychological Consequences of Survivor Guilt

Part 2 The Healing Process

6. Healing From Survivor Guilt

7. Remembering

8. Mentally Reconstructing Your Critical Event

9. Exercises for Coping with Guilt

Appendix A Getting Help: Survivor Groups and Therapy Programs

Appendix B Resources

Appendix C Deep Breathing Techniques and Muscle Relaxation Exercises

Appendix D Self-Assessment: Depression and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

References

283 pages; $14.95 Available in paperback from from New Harbinger Publications, 5674 Shattuck Avenue, Oakland, CA 94609; or call 1 800 748 6273; or visit New Harbinger's web site at www.newharbinger.com

 

The Rape Recovery Handbook: Step-by-Step Help for Survivors of Sexual Assault

(New Harbinger Publications, Oakland , CA $15.95 185 pages)

If you are a survivor of sexual assault, you may be suffering from symptom of depression, substance abuse, an eating disorder, panic and anxiety or post-traumatic stress (PTSD). The Rape Recovery Handbook provides an effective framework in which you can heal. Healing begins by establishing a safety plan that includes how to use this book and what to expect from recovery.

In this new book, which is the only step-by-step program that helps victims acknowledge and learn to manage the emotional pain caused by the trauma of a sexual assault, you will be provided with help for coping with the reality of this experience and dealing with the aftermath of conflicting and debilitating feelings.

Review of The Rape Recovery Handbook :

“In her latest book, The Rape Recovery Handbook , Matsakis has again demonstrated a unique level of compassion and concern for rape victims and their capacity for healing. While guiding her reader gently through numerous exercises specifically designed for maximum effect, Dr. Matsakis provides illumination into thought processes that often trap victims into believing that they are beyond hope. Gentle, empathize advice, along with a sincere belief that rape victims can restore their self-esteem and become rape survivors living full, joyful lives, make this book indispensable to both victim and therapist alike.” Teresa Lauer, MA RapeRecovery.com

Available from New Harbinger Publications, 5674 Shattuck Avenue, Oakland, CA, 94609 or call 1 800 748 6273. Fax orders to 510 652 54722 or visit New Harbinger's web site at www.newharbinger.com

 

When the Bough Breaks: A Helping Guide for Parents of Sexually Abused Children

This book provides parents with the information they need in order to help themselves, deal with the reactions of others and help their child. This book has also been popular and helpful to survivors of child sexual assault.

(272 pages; $13.95 plus Shipping and Handling). Available only from author. Use Contact Information Form.

Reviews for When the Bough Breaks: A Helping Guide for Parents of Sexually Abused Children

“This book provides a means of breaking the vicious psychological cycle of child sexual abuse. Dr. Matsakis writes with compassionate concern for both the child and parent.”

Christine Courtois, Ph.D.

 

Emotional Claustrophobia: Getting Over Your Fear of Being Engulfed by People or Situations

(New Harbinger Publications, Oakland , CA )

All I Want to Do is Leave!!!

You finally meet the right person, find the perfect job, plan the perfect vacation...but the closer you get , the more suffocated you feel. And so you leave the person, turn down the job, stay home. Relief and regret follow this scenario, over and over again.

You are not alone. This familiar psychological drain on energy and emotions is a common dilemma shared by about 87 million other people.

This new self-help guide, Emotional Claustrophobia , will help you uncover the origins of your fears, teach you how to cope with them, and guide you to either eliminate them or find ways to manage them so that they no longer control your life choices. Throughout, examples from Dr. Matsakis' work with her clients demonstrate how you no longer need be at the mercy of emotional claustrophobia.

Reviews for Emotional Claustrophobia

“Dr. Matsakis once again has written an insightful and completely helpful book. Anyone who feels claustrophobic distress in relationships and situations should read this book. -Matthew McKay, Ph.D., coauthor, Relaxation & Stress Reduction Workbook and Self-Esteem .

“Dr. Matsakis gently teaches how to explore the effects of early relationships on current ones and helps the reader to formulate a plan for how to achieve ‘breathing room' just one manageable step at a time.” Dr.Sally Winston, Anxiety and Stress Disorders Institute of Maryland

“I highly recommend that people who feel emotionally engulfed read this book to help them understand themselves. The book is an invaluable aid to self-discovery.”

-Clara E. Hill, Professor of Psychology, Department of Psychology, University of Maryland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments; Introduction

Emotional Claustrophobia: A Common Dilemma* Costs of Emotional Claustrophobia* Causes of Emotional Claustrophobia Empowerment and the Empowerment Process* The Crisis of Recovery* Is This Book for You?* How to Use This Book* How This Book Is Organized* The Value of Writing about Painful Experiences* A Final Note

Part 1 Understanding Emotional Claustrophobia

Chapter 1 Did Your Family Contribute?

Parents and Care givers* Physical and Sexual Abuse* Emotional Abuse* Was

Your Privacy Invaded?* Jealousy and Possessiveness* Were You Expected to Do or Be the Impossible?* When Close Is Too Close* Were You Trapped in an Emotional Tug-of-War?* Self-Assessment for Triangulation* Family Hardships

Chapter 2 Did People or Events Outside Your Family Contribute?

Were You Ever Victimized or Traumatized?* Do You Have Difficulties Setting Boundaries?* All-or-Nothing Organizations and Belief Systems* Difficult Human Emotions* Grief Engulfing Personalities

Chapter 3 How Has Emotional Claustrophobia Impacted Your Life?

The Importance of a Personal Inventory* Beginning Your Inventory* Fear of Engulfment Inventory

Chapter 4 Do Your Fears Belong to the Past or the Present?

Causes Of Your Emotional Claustrophobia* How Valid Are the Causes Today?* Action Steps for Certain Causes

Chapter 5 Managing Your Anxiety

How Anxiety Can Affect Your Physical and Mental Powers* Your Physical Reactions to Fear* Techniques for Managing Anxiety* Medication

Chapter 6 Taking Charge of Your Mind: Evaluating Your Beliefs

How Thoughts and Feelings Relate* Challenging Untrue Beliefs* Identifying Your Self-Defeating Beliefs* Which of Your Beliefs Are Self-Defeating?* Desired Beliefs

Part 2 Identifying Self-Defeating Beliefs

Chapter 7 Making a Plan

Why You Need a Plan* How to Make Plan* Communication Skills* Connected but Free: Maintaining Connection without Engulfment* Emergency Plans* Anticipating the Worst

Chapter 8 Living Your Plan

Before You Try Out Your Plan* Coping Methods During the Event* Reviewing Your Progress

Appendix

Anger Management* Battering-Family Violence* Child Abuse* Guidelines for Interacting with/ Confronting Abusive Family Members* Depression* Rape and Sexual Assault* Relaxation: Anxiety and Panic Disorders Management* Self-Esteem and Assertiveness* Trauma Processing

References

To Order 165 pages; $25 + Shipping Costs. Available in paperback only from the author. Make request on contact information form. All orders must be prepaid.

 

Vietnam Wives: Women and Children Facing the Challenge of Living with Veterans with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

(Second Edition, The Sidran Foundation, 1996. Lutherville , Md ; 440 pages, $19.95)

This book explores the inner life of combat veterans and their wives and children. This book is geared to increase a woman's awareness of her own needs and strengths, as well as to increase her understanding of the effects of combat on her husband and his ability to relate to her and their children. Children, parents, and other family members and friends of combat veterans will find this book useful in understanding their veteran's pain, and their own, and in providing practical suggestions for day-to-day life with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Vietnam Wives is available from the Sidran Institute, 200 East Joppa Road, Suite 207 Baltimore , MD. 21286 410 825 8888 or toll-free 1 888 825 8249 www.sidran.org

Reviews for Vietnam Wives: Facing the Challenges of Life with Veterans Suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress

Vietnam Wives is a profoundly moving book on the psychological and social consequences of war for families; a “must read” for anyone interested in the realities of war. It should be required reading for all politicians. There are lots of helpful suggestions for wives at the end.

Patience H. Mason, Author of Recovering from the War ; Editor of The Post- Traumatic Gazette

This book is a “must read” for families of Vietnam veterans who have PTSD from their war experiences. Compassionate, wise and useful, this down-to-earth book is a helpful guide which will benefit all who read it.

John P. Wilson, PH.D., Professor and Director of Center for Stress and Trauma, Cleveland , Ohio

There is a second edition of Vietnam Wives because the first edition struck a resonant chord among those who care most about the lessons it provides – the hundreds of thousands of wives who care deeply about their warrior husbands. They know about living with someone with a disability (PTSD) that, like a disease, destroys people and their relationships with others. Dr. Matsakis states on page 2, “To all of you Vietnam wives who think that your suffering is unique, I wish to assure you. You are not alone.” And we are all the better for it.

Charles Figley, Ph.D., Psychosocial Stress Research Program, Florida State University

Nothing I have ever read more convincingly illuminates the inner life of Vietnam wives and the family climate made toxic by war. Happily the postwar spouse has an ally now: The book Vietnam Wives was written expressly for her, for the woman caught up in the throes of Vietnam 's nightmarish existence. The book is geared to increase a woman's awareness of her own needs, strengths, and choices and to increase coping by learning practical techniques that put her in control of her situation and reduce her sense of being overwhelmed.

Erwin Randolph Parson, Ph.D. Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Contemporary Psychotherapy.

 

Please Don't Send Me Chocolates” – For the Friends of Compulsive Overeaters

Compulsive Overeating affects family members and friends as well as the overeater themselves. This booklet provides guidance for those who have a loved one who suffers from the devastation of an eating g disorder.” Originally published by Hazelden Educational Materials, this booklet is available now in xeroxed form only from the author. Order using the contact information form. ($14.95 plus Shipping and Handling).

Compulsive Overeaters and Relationships

Long term recovery from an eating disorder involves eating moderately and safely. It means developing a deep sensitivity that part of that process is examining how we relate to ourselves. This book helps you to take a close look at your relationships, why relationships can be difficult for overeaters and common struggles and themes. Using the Twelve Steps as a guide, this book examines relationship issues encountered by compulsive overeaters in their interactions with family, friends, lovers, and others; helps them consider their feelings towards thin people and overweight ones as well as their attitudes towards themselves.

Originally published by Hazelden Education Materials, the book is available in xerox form only from the author. Order using contact information sheet. 100 pages; $24. 99 + Shipping and Handling.)

 

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: A Complete Treatment Guide .

(New Harbinger Publications, Oakland , CA )

This book helps balance the client's need for symptom management and control with work at aimed at re-experiencing the feelings of the trauma. Included are techniques for managing flashbacks, anxiety attacks, nightmares, insomnia, dissociation; working through deeper layers of pain, and handling survivor guilt, secondary wounding, low self-esteem, victim thinking, anger, and depression. (384 pages, $49.95 + SH).

Available from the author. Make request on contact information form.

 

Managing Client Anger: What to do When a Client is Angry with You.

(New Harbinger Publicatioins, Oakland , CA )

Helping clients get in touch with their feelings is one of the tasks of psychotherapy. But when clients get in touch with their agner at you – the therapist –the rsulting emotional overload affects the entire therapy process. Managing Client Anger is designed to help therapists understand their own reactions to client anger and guide constructive interventions when anger express anger toward them. Ways of dealing with client anger are examined from several theoretical perspectives.

Special chapters are devoted to helping therapists manage anger experienced by sexual, ethnic and racial minorities and by the disabled and anger stemming from trauma and personality disorders, such as borderline personality disorder.

Available from New Harbinger Publications, 5674 Shattuck Avenue, Oakland, CA, 94609 or call 1 800 748 6273. Fax orders to 510 652 54722 or visit New Harbinger's web site at www.newharbinger.com

 


By Aphrodite Matsakis, Ph.D.

To be released August, 2005
by New Harbinger Publications, Inc.
1 800 748 6273

IN HARM'S WAY

Help for the Wives of Military Men, Police, EMTs & Firefighters

How to cope when the one you love is in a high-risk profession

Imagine knowing that at any moment someone you love might be injured or killed. Such is the daily reality for the wives and partners of military men, police, EMTs, firefighters and men in other high-risk occupations. These unsung heroines live with the ongoing anxiety of not knowing when, or if, the man in their life will ever come home again. They also must shoulder the lion's share of domestic responsibilities when he's working long hours or away from home, For mothers this means not only assuming all the duties of childcare, but helping children cope with fears for their father's safety.

In Harm's Way offers concrete strategies for dealing with some of the most difficult aspects of loving someone in a dangerous occupation. Step-by-step, women reading this book can learn to examine and cope with fear, loneliness and emotional stress; discover strategies for handling time, money, sexual intimacy and sexual jealousy; address children's needs and build a strong, healthy family life; manage the readjustment issues that can occur during homecoming; learn to communicate more effectively about the issues that matter to them most; and develop helpful ways of communicating with their partner about the life and death experiences he faces on the job. In Harm's Way does not sugar-coated or oversimplified the many hardships facing families of men in dangerous occupations and readers are guided in adapting the suggested coping skills to their individual personalities and the unique needs of their particular situation.

 

 

Growing up Greek in St.Louis
By: Aphrodite Matsakis, Ph.D. Arcadia Publishing, Chicago, IL 2002 128 pages; 90 photos

Since the beginning of the 20th century, St.Louis’ Greek-American community has been a vibrant part of the city’s fabric. Through a series of vivid personal accounts of growing up in two worlds during the post-WWII era, Growing Up Greek in St.Louis explores the challenges faced by Greek-Americans as they sought to preserve a rich cultural heritage while assimilating to American ways.

From a detailed account of her Grandmothers’ struggles during the occupation of Greece during WWII and the Asia Minor Holocaust to the first hand experiences faced by Greek-American children in Greek school, the celebration of name days, and the ever-present “evil eye,” the book captures the sense of tradition, history, hospitality (philotimo), and community so vital to the Greek experience.

In this book, author Aphrodite Matsakis reflects on her experience and identity within the community that has shaped her life. Dr. Matsakis, a native of St. Louis, has worked as a counseling psychologist for 30 years and has authored over twelve books on an array of psychological topics.

Contents

Introduction
1. From Karpathos to St.Louis
2. Shake, Rattle, and Roll
3. The Double House
4. Those Greek School Blues
5. An Old Fashioned Greek Christmas
6. “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death”
7. The Grandmothers in Black
8. Goodbye Sweet Dreams
9. To Fast or Not To Fast
10. How I Got to Go to College
References

Synopsis

What was it like growing up Greek in a large mid-western city -- speaking two languages, going to two different schools (Greek school and American school), and having two sets of clothes (the Greek ones and the American ones)? What was it like solving equations in math class with melodies from last night’s Greek dance party ringing in one’s ears? What can a little girl learn rolling koulouria with her grandmothers or reciting poems on March 25th? For the first time, a practicing psychologists looks at her years growing up in a strong Greek-American community where traditions, such as Greek school, name day parties and homemade Greek pastries, were the rule of the day. She traces the history of her family from the island of Karpathos to the United States and shows how that history impacted on every aspect of family life . In this collection of stories, Growing Up Greek in America, the author hopes to capture in writing what she sees is now a rapidly fading world, a world which was rich with ethnicity, community spirit and emotional intensity. One grandmother survived the fascist occupation of Greece; another was deeply scarred by the Smyrna massacre. Their stories, along with the stories of other grandparents are included in the book. As people often say about these Greek old timers, “They just don’t make people like that anymore.” It is to such people that this book is sincerely dedicated. In sum, the purpose of this book is to capture the spirit of a vibrant Greek-American community, which was rich with tradition and love, as well as the stress of combining the old ways with the new. Ordering Information: Arcadia Publishing Chicago, IL Sales@arcadiapublishing.com Phone 843 853 2070 Customer service/orders Toll free 1 888 313 2665 $19.99

 

duty?
           
4.   Emotional Distancing
5. Combat Stress and Sex
6.  Anger, Grief and Guilt
7. The Reality of Multiple Roles
8. Battered Women
9.  Women Veterans
10.  Military Couples
11. Combat Stress and Children
12. Suicide and the Veteran Family 
13. “I Believe in Love” – The Hope of Therapy 
   
Appendix A  Coping with Anger and Depression                  
Appendix B    Help in Selecting a Therapist or Therapy Program.
Appendix C.  Resources and Suggested Readings
Appendix D. Couples Counseling
Appendix E. Guidelines for Effective Communication
Appendix F. Some Do’s and Donts for Significant Others

duty?
           
4.   Emotional Distancing
5. Combat Stress and Sex
6.  Anger, Grief and Guilt
7. The Reality of Multiple Roles
8. Battered Women
9.  Women Veterans
10.  Military Couples
11. Combat Stress and Children
12. Suicide and the Veteran Family 
13. “I Believe in Love” – The Hope of Therapy 
   
Appendix A  Coping with Anger and Depression                  
Appendix B    Help in Selecting a Therapist or Therapy Program.
Appendix C.  Resources and Suggested Readings
Appendix D. Couples Counseling
Appendix E. Guidelines for Effective Communication
Appendix F. Some Do’s and Donts for Significant Others

 

Back from the Front: Combat Stress, Love and the Family

www.backfromthefront.org
by Aphrodite Matsakis, Ph.D.
Sidran Institute 200 East Joppa Road
Suite 207 Baltimore, MD 21280-3107
 (410) 825 8889 phone
(888) 825 8249 toll free phone
(410) 3370747 fax
sidran@sidran.org       www.sidran.org

Summary

To write about the combat veteran is to write about fortitude, dedication and selflessness and about experiences unfathomable to those who have never known the indescribable horrors of war.  To write about you – the veteran’s spouse or  partner – is to write about another kind of loyalty and perseverance and yet another kind of pain and sadness.

The trauma of war can affect not only the warriors, but their partners and children as well.  Often it is you, the veteran’s partner, who helps sustain the veteran during his or her depressions, anxiety attacks, and post-traumatic reactions and you, and perhaps you alone, who has sustained your veteran’s will to live during his or her most anguished moments.  Unfortunately, some veterans vent their anger (at themselves or at others whom they felt betrayed them) on the people they love and who love them the most –  their partners and children.

The purpose of this book is to help you (and your veteran) better understand combat trauma and its possible effects on intimate relationships and family life and to guide you to resources that can help strengthen every member of your family. The beginning chapters  provide basic information about combat trauma and how it can lead to depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other forms of emotional pain. The remaining chapters focus on some of the most common problems confronting families of combat veterans: emotional numbing, sexual difficulties, anger, and guilt.

There are also chapters on family violence, children, women veterans and military couples and sections on how to cope with anger and depression, how to find helpful organizations and books, and how to communicate effectively on  difficult issues.

In addition to describing the tensions that can result from combat trauma, this book emphasizes the many ways  a veteran’s war experiences can help enrich individual family members and the family as a whole.  Just as one part of your family cannot suffer without that suffering affecting the entire unit, if your veteran has grown emotionally (or spiritually) as the result of combat, his or her growth can influence and inspire you and other family members. Keep in mind that the turmoil you and your veteran are experiencing can lay the foundation for  more meaningful relationship and for an improved outlook on life.

This book is based on the available research on the impact of combat trauma on family life and on some thirty years of clinical experience with veterans (male and female) and their partners and children.

Back From the Front    Outline                 Aphrodite Matsakis, Ph.D.

What It’s Like to Love a Combat Vet: Five Women Tell Their Stories
1. What is Combat Trauma?
           
2. Common Traumatic Reactions: Post-traumatic Stress and other Anxiety Disorders, Dissociation, Depression, and Somatizatioin

3. Questions and Answers about Combat Trauma
            A. How many veterans really suffer from symptoms of combat trauma?
            B.  What effect can combat experience have on symptoms of combat trauma?
            C. What effect can the atmosphere at home have on veterans?
            D.  How might  war affect veterans spiritually and morally?
            E.  Why are some veterans more affected by combat than others?
            F. How can war affect veterans physically?
            G.  How can war affect veterans’ ways of thinking? (Military Mind-Sets:  Perfectionism,
               All-or-Nothing Thinking . Denial of Personal Difficulties)
            H. What are some of the positive benefits of combat duty?
           
4.   Emotional Distancing
5. Combat Stress and Sex
6.  Anger, Grief and Guilt
7. The Reality of Multiple Roles
8. Battered Women
9.  Women Veterans
10.  Military Couples
11. Combat Stress and Children
12. Suicide and the Veteran Family 
13. “I Believe in Love” – The Hope of Therapy 
   
Appendix A  Coping with Anger and Depression                  
Appendix B    Help in Selecting a Therapist or Therapy Program.
Appendix C.  Resources and Suggested Readings
Appendix D. Couples Counseling
Appendix E. Guidelines for Effective Communication
Appendix F. Some Do’s and Donts for Significant Others