International Conference of War Veteran Ministers
Our Ministry: Spiritual Healing
One of the mistakes of the Vietnam War was failure to recognize the nature of its wounds. It appears that in the wars that have followed, the same mistakes are being made. Somatic medicine performs miracles for physical wounds, and psychiatry in conjunction with the Vet Center program has moved psychological care far beyond its starting point, but despite increased attention to understanding and providing spiritual healing for veterans, much more is needed.
Fr. William P. Mahedy, a Vietnam Chaplain and NCVNVM founding member, in his book
Out of the Night: The Spiritual Journey of Vietnam Vets describes how service in Vietnam was "a journey into spiritual darkness."
Dr. Jonathan Shay, author of Achilles in Vietnam, identifies in Homer's classic Iliad war narrative the concept of "themis" (Greek) or "what's right." Shay identifies betrayal of "what's right" by oneself or those in whom one trusts as a key element which, when added to traumatic stress, is likely to result in long term character damage. Such betrayal is not so much a violation of the combatant's body or mind, but of the spirit, and spiritual healing is required. Without disparaging the contributions of the psychiatric profession, Shay identifies two critically important elements in healing from traumatic stress as:
(1) the opportunity to tell one's story --
(2) in a community of trust.
Our Spiritual Healing Ministry is a response to this need. It takes place on many levels:
Turn to our sitemap for a detailed map to all the locations we have prepared for you on our site and to coming events for a schedule of upcoming activities and programs.
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©1999-2005 National Conference of Viet Nam Veteran Ministers, now serving veterans as the International Conference of War Veteran Ministers. All Rights Reserved. The National Conference of Viet Nam Veteran Ministers is a registered trademark. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. NCVNVM is funded by membership dues, donations, and major grants from organizations believing in our work. Contact information for officers and webmaster on separate page. This page last updated February 18, 2005