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You, God, and PTSD: Faith-Based Healing in our Military’s Chaplain Corps

Chaplain Todd D. Fowler, USN

Pages: 100
ISBN: 978-145752-670-1
List Price: 15.95
Category: Health, Self-Help & Spirituality
Available: April 2014
Edition: Perfectbound

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As the nation advances in combat technology and personal protective armor, more people are wounded on the battlefield than killed. By far, the most common of all injuries are psychological and the damage of core beliefs which persist long after the horrific experience when the individuals have gone home. The most corrosive impact of horrific emotional trauma is to be found in the spiritual fabric of persons, and that, the condition of PTSD is spiritual at its deepest level (Sinclair, 1993). While some individuals are capable of processing traumatic events and moving onto posttraumatic growth, others become “stuck” on the trauma, which can inflict such deep psychological wounds that it threatens their very existence. In April of 2010, the Army Times reported that an average of 950 suicide attempts take place every month among veterans already receiving support for their PTSD, 18 of which are successful (Maze, 2010). Clergy are often sought first due to their availability, their services being free, their nonjudgmental stance, and their expertise on sin, guilt, and forgiveness, all of which are common issues for those struggling with psychological trauma. Military chaplains often work on or near the front lines and are the first—and sometimes only—line of support these men and women receive. Periodic training on traumatic stress does take place for the chaplain corps, but unfortunately, this training is primarily clinical in nature. While several studies have been conducted providing empirical evidence of the success in faith-based healing techniques, most chaplains receive little to no continuing education in this area on how to diagnose and treat members suffering from the effects of war. This book, along with the website located at www.chaplainsandptsd.com, will address this important issue and provide both chaplains and pastors several resources to improve their skills in spiritual healing.

Chaplain Fowler joined the navy in 1989, serving in both Desert Shield and Desert Storm as a damage controlman (DC) on board USS Juneau. In 2000, he joined the Coast Guard where he worked as a DC instructor, which allowed him the opportunity to attend seminary at night at Regent University. After graduation in 2007, Todd received a commission to serve as a navy chaplain and officer. Todd’s first duty station was working as the deputy director for San Diego’s Surface Force Ministry Center. Todd holds a master of arts in degree in divinity from Regent University, a master of science degree in leadership and management from Amridge University, a master of education degree in leadership in higher education from Northcentral University, and a doctor of ministry degree in marriage and family therapy also at Amridge University. Todd began his teaching career with Grand Canyon University in 2008, just before being deployed to Iraq for the second time on board USS Cleveland. He teaches courses in several disciplines to include but not limited to Old and New Testament, counseling, management, and education. His educational goal is to develop an undergraduate course in faith-based healing for PTSD. Todd has been married for eighteen years to his wife and best friend, Rani, and is currently working as a Coast Guard chaplain in Baltimore, MD.