Besides being your National Chaplain, I am also the president
of the National Conference of Viet Nam Veteran Ministers, an
organization I founded in November 1990. One of our affiliate
members, Margaret Nelson-Pechota, is a graduate student in
clinical psychology at the Illinois Institute of Technology in
joined our organization while she was doing an internship at a
New York VA Medical Center. She was working primarily with
PTSD in Vietnam veterans. She has a strong spiritual base and
became interested in the work of NCVNVM, particularly the PTSD
Spiritual Healing Retreats we offer. She attended several of
them and saw how effective they are in helping Vietnam
veterans and their partners with spiritual healing. Shortly
thereafter, she decided to pursue the topic of PTSD and
Spirituality for her doctoral thesis. She needs help.
little attention has been given to the spiritual suffering of
Vietnam veterans, although the literature abounds with
descriptions of the moral dilemmas these men and women faced,
their ensuing guilt, existential meaninglessness, and
disconnection from God. Pechota's study will investigate how
the interrelationships among guilt, spirituality and combat
experiences of Vietnam veterans are related to their current
levels of psychological functioning.
will be addressed primarily within the context of Christianity
for two reasons: (1) the values of American society have been
based upon Judeo-Christian religious traditions, and (2) most
American soldiers in Vietnam came from Christian backgrounds.
Thus a veteran's relationship with God will be considered to
be a primary target of investigation.
under investigation are: level of combat exposure,
combat-related guilt, global spirituality, religious
involvement, religious coping (positive or negative
relationship with God, representing connection versus
alienation), life purpose, forgiveness (of self, of other, and
by God), and PTSD symptomatology.
will require approximately 200 non-hospitalized combat
veterans without a diagnosis of severe mental illness - other
than PTSD - and without alcohol or substance abuse problems.
These participants will be recruited through Vet Centers,
Outpatient PTSD treatment groups, and organizations such as
NCVNVM. Participants also will be recruited through community
resources such as churches, bookstores, store bulletin boards,
and newspaper press releases.
A flier will
be created to explain the study briefly and encourage
participation. Packets of questionnaires with self-addressed
stamped envelopes will be provided to individuals willing to
participate in the study. The estimated time to complete the
questionnaires is 30 minutes. All information will be kept
In the event
that completion of the questionnaires leads to emotional
distress, participants should consult the list of referral
sources provided with the packet.
If you are
interested in participating in this study, please e-mail me at
email@example.com This will
be a very important study. I believe it will help us understand
how to help combat veterans with spiritual healing.
I want to wish
you all a Happy and Blessed Holiday Season. Please remember to
pray for peace and for all of our soldiers, sailors, and airmen
deployed overseas and for their families.