War Trauma Therapy

Martin is a 38-year-old Mexican-American man who is a sergeant in the United States Army. He recently returned from Iraq with a purple heart for leg wounds sustained during an enemy attack. Some of his patrol were killed. He is despondent over the prognosis that his injuries will prevent him from continuing with combat duties. Rehabilitation to regain normal use of his leg will take many months. He feels survivor’s guilt and grief at the loss of his best friend during the enemy attack. His wife of 18 years and teenage son and daughter are relieved to have him alive and home, but are confused as to how to help him. He repeatedly states that he “shouldn’t be here. Isaac was a much better soldier than me. I don’t deserve to live.” No matter what they do, he continues to be depressed and have flashbacks.
1. Would you complete a suicide assessment with Martin? Why? Why not? What are the risk and protective factors that might have a bearing on this assessment. What safety measures might be needed?
2. Would you perform a trauma screening? Why or why not? What are some possible symptoms that might emerge as indicators of trauma arousal?
3. What relationship assessments might provide insight into the quality of his family relationships?
4. What family therapy interventions would you suggest for this case? How would you integrate these with trauma and grief issues?
The case assignment should be 5 – 8 pages double spaced, with headings for each of these questions and a reference list.

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