VISTAS Counseling Veterans and Military Families

VISTAS Online is an innovative publication produced for ACA by Dr. Garry R. Walz and Dr. Jeanne C. Bleuer of Counseling Outfitters, LLC. Its purpose is to provide a means of capturing the ideas, information and experiences generated by the annual ACA Conference and selected ACA Division Conferences. Papers on a program or practice that has been validated through research or experience may also be submitted. This digital collection of peer-reviewed articles is authored by counselors, for counselors. VISTAS Online contains the full text of over 900 proprietary counseling articles published from 2004 to 2017.

Sand Play Therapy with U.S. Soldiers Diagnosed with PTSD and Their Families

Poppy K Moon


“War! Huh! Good god ya’ll! What is it good for? Absolutely nothing!” Edwin Starr howls in his 1970s hit War. Unfortunately Starr stands to be corrected. War is good for one thing: giving hundreds of thousands of American soldiers PTSD. PTSD, or posttraumatic stress disorder, is a psychiatric disorder that results from experiencing or witnessing events that are extremely traumatic or life threatening. Soldiers in Iraq, who experience firsthand military combat and terrorist threats, are especially at risk for developing this disorder. According to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine (Hoge et al., 2004), 15% to 17% of returning veterans are suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder. This means that literally thousands of American soldiers are returning to the United States with a serious mental disorder that not only affects the soldier, but his or her family system as well. Now more than ever, counselors need to educate themselves about PTSD treatment and be prepared to offer innovative individual and family therapy to military families. One treatment option that shows particular promise in the treatment of PTSD is sand tray therapy.

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