In Hope & Healing For Those With PTSD, Harold Koenig, M.D. shares about the research that’s been done to address this issue for those who are suffering from the aftermath of severe trauma.
Koenig describes what PTSD is, the causes for it, and its protective factors. He also explores the relationship between PTSD and moral injury and writes about the religious or spiritual practices that serve as part of the treatment for this condition.
Koenig has spent the bulk of his professional career treating patients as a Psychiatrist and also conducting research on the link between religion or spirituality (R/S), and mental and physical health. He is currently on the faculty at Duke University Medical Center and serves as the Director of Duke’s Center for Spirituality, Theology and Health. He’s eminently qualified to author this book.
Koenig provides data that explains the prevalence of PTSD and the causes of this condition and of moral injury. I was happy to see that more than half of the book addresses the various psychological and medical treatments.
My particular interest in reviewing this book was to read what Koenig might write about the R/S treatments that have been shown to be effective in the treatment of PTSD. In Chapter 5 – The Role of Religious Faith – he addresses this facet of treatment.
In the first paragraph of this chapter, Koenig writes:
“Psychological and medical treatments for PTSD, while effective and helpful for many people who struggle with this disorder, are often not enough. Something more is needed for the complete healing of those with PTSD. Religious or spiritual (R/S) approaches may help to fill this void.”
Some of the medical, psychological, and spiritual therapies that Koenig briefly describes are as follows:
- Building Spiritual Strengths (BSS)
- Spiritually Integrated Cognitive Processing Therapy (SICPT)
- Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction (MBSR)
- Mantra-based Therapies (MBT)
- Trauma-focused Pastoral Counseling and Religious Counseling
- Religious Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (RCBT)
I liked that Koenig addressed the value of meditating on writings found in sacred texts and that he included a brief listing of scriptures for the following populations: Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and Hindus.
He ends the book with a few recommendations for family members of those who suffer from PTSD and with 11 pages of references, most of which are cited throughout the book.
One area that I would have liked to see addressed more deeply in the book is a deeper dive into how a pastor or chaplain or a religious-based counselor could effectively help the person who has PTSD. How some of the the various important truths found in scripture can be applied. The role of one’s beliefs and attitudes about who God is and about who they are as an individual. In essence, how one can embrace the truths of scripture and apply it to their life.
For those of you who may still be suffering from past significant trauma, the content of this book will point the way to some resources that you may be unaware of. The book may point you to resources that give you hope!
For professionals who work in this field, you’ll appreciate Koenig’s insight on this topic.
I highly recommend reading Hope & Healing For Those With PTSD.