Understanding PTSD beyond Good and Evil: a (Lacanian) Reflection on Jonathan Shay.

achielleMy encounter with Jonathan Shay’s Achilles In Vietnam was almost accidental. I had never heard before of Moral Injury and, perhaps, not many people outside the circle of professionals have heard or read about it. One day my wife, who works with the veteran community, mentioned that a training/presentation on the idea of moral injury would take place at the VA. I am not an expert on PTSD or trauma studies in general. Nevertheless, my almost two decades long interest in psychoanalysis, and my life long training in literature and philosophy, naturally induced me to explore further this fascinating idea. My first exploration of his research took place online. I found a video in two parts where Dr. Shay summarizes his idea of moral injury. Since my wife has worked for the VA, my knowledge of the veteran community has grown deeper and stronger, and my overall understanding of the toll paid by soldiers and their families has increased accordingly. There is, however, an insurmountable gap of knowledge between those who read about veterans with PTSD and those who work close with them in any capacity:  this is not just a difference in the degree of comprehension, but a profound demarcation between what is visible and what is invisible to the common eye. Psychiatrists, social workers, and health professionals who work with veterans with PTSD handle the consequences of invisible wounds. Continue reading

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