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PTSD and Folk Therapy: Everyday Practices of American Masculinity in the Combat Zone

by John Paul Wallis and Jay Mechling Lexington Books
Pub Date:
Hbk 182 pages
AU$157.99 NZ$160.86
Product Status: Available in Approx 14 days
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Using war memoirs, war journalism, and John Paul Wallis's own experience as a Marine, PTSD and Folk Therapy analyzes how the everyday folklore shared in male military groups serves as a short-term aid in coping with the stress of living, working, and fighting in the combat zone.

Part I: Cultural Contexts, Trauma, and Therapy
Chapter One: The Socialization of American Boys
Chapter Two: Male Vernacular Culture as Therapy in the Combat Zone
Part II: Folklore Genres
Chapter Three: Animal Companions
Chapter Four: Rough-and-Tumble Playfighting
Chapter Five: Playing Video Games
Chapter Six: The Jack Shack
Chapter Seven: Dark Play and Deep Play

John Paul Wallis and Jay Mechling are fluent in the vocabulary, premises, and current concerns of contemporary academic social critique, yet are still readable and reflective in tone'helpfully sharing their own multi-faceted personal connections to their topic.
Some readers may wonder if it is more the erosion of traditional masculinity, rather than its perseverance, that is among America's major ailments. Nevertheless, folklorists and military personnel alike will be enriched by reflecting on what the authors have drawn from both the mainstream and unusual backwaters of military experience'customs and practices that provide identity, order, and siblinghood in high-stress situations and, afterwards, help manage strong and persistent combat-related emotions. This may be the most compelling book to take seriously the potential therapeutic benefits of folk-psychological insight since David Hufford's The Terror that Comes in the Night nearly forty years ago. It is a welcome push for the field to continue recognizing folkloric processes at work in unexpected forms and unexpected places.
John Paul Wallis is operational efficiencies coordinator at the Veterans Health Administration in the VA North Texas Health Care System.

Jay Mechling is professor emeritus of American studies at the University of California.