Soldier's Heart was founded in 2006 by psychotherapists Dr. Edward Tick, PhD, and Kate Dahlstedt, M.A. We conduct retreats and training and have established a national network of trainers and leaders. We work extensively with the military, universities, faith communities, and other organizations throughout the United Sates and the world. Our founders have more than 60 years of combined experience treating vetrans and their families. After the publication of Dr. Tick's critically acclaimed book, War and the Soul, they closed their private practices and established Soldier's Heart, a non-profit 501(c)(3). They have dedicated their lives to providing hope, healing, and comfort to those impacted by post-traumatic stress.
At Soldier's Heart, we do not consider PTSD to be a mental disorder. Instead, we believe it is a normal reaction to a traumatic experience. It is the expression of anguish, dislocation, and rage of the self as it attempts to cope with its loss of innocence and reformulate a new personal identity.
In an effort to identify what could be the major cause of suicide among American veterans, professionals across multiple disciplines–including clinical psychologists, social workers, ethicists and clergy–are using with greater frequency the phrase “moral injury.” Military leaders now warn of the real danger of spiritual and moral trauma and advocate education about moral injury and its relationship to spirituality and stress.
The Soldier’s Heart idea of the soul wound is similar to the concept of moral injury, but it differs in important ways:
We commonly say that a person was “injured in an accident” but “wounded in battle.” Injury comes from the Latin in juris, meaning not fair or right. It connotes damage or harm done to us as victims of circumstances or others’ actions. A wound, on the other hand, connotes violence done by or to the sufferer. War causes moral wounding, moral trauma, as well as “injury” because it results not from happenstance but from the violence that human beings do. When we refer to a wound, visible or not, we recognize that warriors have survived violent exchanges with others, suffer for it, and are forever different….
Patients are ill. Victims are injured. Society is disordered. Warriors are wounded. (Tick, Warrior’s Return, p. 145)