How would you deal with being given the honor, challenge, horror, and joy of debriefing a brigade of US Army soldiers, one at a time, face to face, as they returned from active duty in Afghanistan?
Dr. Vali dealt with it the best way she knew howshe wrote.
"A heart wrenching peek into the emotional turmoil of life as a soldier "
Vali Hawkins Mitchell, PhD, LMHC, REAT, CEAP was given the honor of being part of a small team of consultants who accepted the privilege to debrief a brigade of approximately 5,000 U.S. Army soldiers as they returned from active duty in Afghanistan. Each soldier was required to "debrief" as part of an effort to assist in his or her transition home.
As an Expressive Arts Therapist who teaches how to use art-making for self-care, Dr. Vali wrote this collection of prose and poetry each evening to take care of herself. She wrote so she could be there each day for them.
Their stories are confidential. What they shared with Dr. Vali was more than she could have ever imagined, and the details were intensely graphic and profoundly tender. Dr. Vali would take a detail shared and create a mandala of words to hold her feelings and ideas without putting in a detail that would identify anyone personally. The writing was for her, and she shares it now for herself, as well as for you, dear reader, to catch a glimpse into the depth of emotions shared.