(Jessica Christian/S.F. Examiner)

UCSF releases new study results on veterans’ psychological trauma

A study of 26 California veterans by UCSF has shown new connections between those who have killed in war and lasting psychological trauma.

The moral conflict many veteran feels upon returning home after having these experiences can create long-term negative effects on self-image, relationships and spirituality. Most of the veterans studied said that killing was the most difficult war experience to talk about, but it was also the topic they were asked about most frequently by others.

The study was conducted by  Shira Maguen, PhD, a UCSF associate professor of psychiatry and mental health director of the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Health Care System (SFVAHCS) Integrated Care Clinic, as well as Natalie Purcell, PhD, who directs the Patient Centered Care Program at the SFVAHCS.

“Many veterans feared that, if they talked about killing, they would be judged or mischaracterized by other people’s notions of what it means to be a combat veteran,” Purcell said. “Being asked about killing left many veterans feeling anxious, isolated and even angry because most felt that someone who did not serve in war could not possibly understand what it was like to kill.”

To help combat these difficult emotions, the SFVAHCS has launched a new program titled Impact of Killing (IOK). The treatment program emphasizes self-forgiveness, and offers veterans a chance to engage in group discussion about the issues they’re encountering.

So far, Purcell says she’s seen positive effects of the program on veterans.

The new study was published in the October 2016 issue of Counseling Psychologist.

Just Posted

10,000 e-scooters? Not so fast — SF slashes fleet sizes before launch

A plan for 4,000 e-scooters to hit San Francisco streets Tuesday has… Continue reading

Newsom calls on PG&E to repay customers impacted by power outages

After last week’s Public Safety Power Shutoff by PG&E that left more… Continue reading

You’ve heard of the Clinton Park boulders. Now, meet the Ingleside Pathway blockade

Move over Clinton Park boulders, you’ve got competition. While weeks ago a… Continue reading

Five injured after three vehicles collide on Divisadero and Hayes

Five people were injured - one of them with life-threatening injuries -… Continue reading

Most Read