PTSD Professional Perspective: Words and Trauma


In the past we’ve published a lot of PTSD poetry. Poems offer survivors a unique way of expressing themselves. Today’s guest post Ken Jones, PhD. offers some thoughts about why….

Words and Trauma

Poetry is natural syntax of survivors.  The pauses, the empty spaces, the void echoes a survivor’s reality.  The vast distance between the words is an octave of anguish unheard by many, lost in the cacophony of the mundane. There are many sources of such trauma.

Words like “You should have smelled it in color” capture the essence of experience when survivors first articulate their expressions of experience.

The core of traumatic stress is the vast emotional and spiritual emptiness.  Healing from traumatic life experience is the journey human beings undertake in search of themselves.

When Our Troops Come Home is a free e-book that describes one such journey that begins with the trauma of combat.  More important, it is about offering hope to others that recovery is possible.

For those who have been separated from their loved ones because of trauma, this book offers the reassurance that there are those who await your return to welcome you home.

Here’s an excerpt from When Our Troops Come Home:

This book is about trauma, specifically, the trauma induced by combat.  It is a story recounted in metaphor and symbol and direct experience.  This is the nature of interior journeys.

Such material is intended to be read twice, once with the mind and once with the heart.

I spent eight years as a volunteer counselor at the Anchorage Vet Center.  I had the opportunity to spend moments and hours and days and months with human beings who had experienced trauma.

It was my honor and privilege to share in their anguish and healing.  Many of the men and women I have spent time with were survivors of combat in Viet Nam.

There were also a number of wives of Viet Nam survivors who were desperately seeking answers to questions; questions about the pain and silence of their husbands concerning anything to do with Viet Nam.

Trauma, whatever its form, is devastating.  It tears the mind, shatters the soul, and breaks the heart.  Trauma leaves a human being cut off and isolated.  If the pain is not shared and dissipated, it becomes impacted.

Over and over again I heard the words that “had never been spoken”.

The assumption, expressed by the person with whom I talked, was that they were alone in their anguish.  They felt relief when someone spoke their language.  It was the same with me when I began my journey.

Each of us undertakes a journey of discovery when we decide to talk about what we feel.

It is a journey takes us all the way home.

When you give up trying to speak in complete sentences, what words come to mind?

To read more of When Our Troops Come Home:

Teacher * Author * Consultant

Viet Nam combat veteran reaching out to help our veterans, troops and their families work through combat induced PTSD.

Ken lived in Alaska for the past 30 years and spends as much time as he can in the wilderness.   He has collected some education along the way, and has a management consulting practice that keeps him busy.

He enjoys writing short stories to accompany the art that his wife, Francine, creates.  This is one she did for breast cancer awareness.

The opinions in this post are solely those of the author. To contribute to ‘Professional Perspective’ contact Michele.


The information provided on the is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her health professional. This information is solely for informational and educational purposes. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Neither the owners or employees of nor the author(s) of site content take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading this site. Always speak with your primary health care provider before engaging in any form of self treatment. Please see our Legal Statement for further information.

PsyWeb Poll

Are you currently taking or have you ever been prescribed anti-depressants?
Total votes: 3979