Empathy and Combat Trauma | Psychology Today

How to help a veteran bear the unbearable.


The closeness that empathy can create can also feel like one of its problems. It might feel too close to your patient’s overwhelming traumatic experience. To truly get a sense of another person’s suffering can be overwhelming. But for many people, this is what draws us into the mental health professions. We want to understand someone else’s suffering, so we can help. But what do we mean by help?


Sometimes it means giving them an ear, letting them understand what it is like to have someone who cares listening to them.


By Russell Carr, M.D.