Loneliness holds detrimental ramifications for health and well-being. Nevertheless, loneliness references in the literature addressing combat-related trauma are few. Consequentially, the qualities and characteristics of such experiences in these posttraumatic realities remain uninvestigated empirically. In the current qualitative study we began filling this gap in the literature. We utilized thematic content analysis of life-stories of 19 combat veterans and 7 ex-POWs that have given testimony at the Israel Trauma Center for Victims of Terror and War (NATAL). Our findings suggest that the loneliness in the contexts at hand is primarily characterized by a sense of experiential isolation, rather than social, emotional, or existential. This is the sensation that due to the extraordinary nature of traumatic experiences the fulfillment of needs such as empathy and intersubjectivity may be unattainable. Integrating our findings with existing interdisciplinary literature regarding social sharing, trauma, and loneliness, we discuss implications for clinical interventions and further research.
This book is an invitation to observe the practice of one of the most dominant communities in Israel, and yet one of its most closed ones: the therapeutic community. Through a four-year anthropological field work (2004-2008) among two of the most prominent associations in Israel – Natal (“Israel’s Trauma Center for Victims of Terror and War”) and the “Israel Trauma Coalition” – the chapters of this book trace the inevitable intersection between professional questions of clinical diagnosis, treatment and prevention of PTSD in the context of the Israeli-Arab conflict with political question of group identity and power relations: what differences exist between therapists on the meaning of traumatic experiences and its moral boundaries? What consensus is reached regarding practices of aid and funds allocation, and what is the connection between it and the questions of group identity; including political, ethnic, and social class aspects?
This ethnographic journey will shed light on the development of politics around the therapeutic practice of trauma in two sequential instances: (1) the institutional instance will address the establishment of a new therapeutic home, through the extraordinary juncture of therapists, donors and advertisers; (2) the professional instance will present the branching of four circles of therapeutic occupation of trauma: the “clinical core” among soldiers; the practice of the tense relationship between “primary” trauma of a man and the “secondary” trauma of a woman, his spouse; the growing distance from the “clinical mothership,” for the sake of intervention among “risk groups” from Be’er-Sheva in the South to Daliyat al-Karmel in the north; and the emphasis on the prevention of trauma, through activities such as “strength and immunity” in Sderot. These examinations will demonstrate how the therapeutic practice is far from representing a single objective reality with a clear professional truth. Instead, it will reveal the existence of a polyphonic and multi-participant network of reciprocities surrounding the therapeutic practice of trauma, between various social locations and diverse worldviews.