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Tuesday, July 20, 2010


The impact of war

Health Affairs, July issue

A stunningly good first-person essay called "Back From the Brink: War, Suicide and PTSD" appears in this peer-reviewed health-policy journal. Ron Capps, who retired from the Foreign Service and Army Reserve in 2008 and now works at a small nongovernmental organization in Washington, starts his account like this: "When the phone rang I jumped -- startled -- and nearly shot myself." He goes on to tell about his five-year odyssey through three wars and across three continents that led him to sit in a pickup in 2005 preparing to end, with a gunshot to the head, the post-traumatic stress disorder that terrorized him. Capps shares the alarming statistic that in the first half of 2009, more American soldiers committed suicide than died in combat. "Many service men and women face the same dilemmas I faced: admit you need help and face ridicule and scorn, or seek help and put your security clearance and your career on the line." Capps's report is available for free at


Monogamy 2.0?

Psychotherapy Networker, July/August issue

The cover story of this professional magazine for psychotherapists reveals "The New Monogamy," which includes . . . sleeping with other people. Tammy Nelson, a Connecticut couples therapist, writes that in this new model, "outside attachments of one kind or another are allowed -- as long as they don't threaten the primary connection" and that therapists ought to open their minds to these new practices so they can better relate to their patients. The juiciest part of the article is where Nelson explains some of her patients' unconventional arrangements (while maintaining their anonymity, of course) such as the couple who agree they can each have sex with other people, but only while on business trips.

-- Rachel Saslow

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