Battle Field Induced Psychic Disturbances (BFIPD): The cause, and why conventional Western treatment approaches for “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder” (PTSD) are ineffective—Mind-Body-Spirit connection to healing of BFIPD.
I will begin by explaining to the readers that the term (BFIPD) is not a disorder in The American Psychiatric Association (APA) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM). It’s the term I have use to reflect the true nature of psychic disturbances people experience when exposed to horrific events of war either as soldiers or civilians. APA classified this in general term as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). From my clinical healing perspective and experience, war induced disturbances does not constitute disorder/s. It does not mean the individuals struggling with these experiences are mentally sick and need psychoactive medication to feel better.
I would also like to refresh the knowledge of the reader on three important components of a human being—the mind, body and spirit all interconnected to one. I will also explain what trauma is and how traumatic experience affects these levels of the body. My personal life experience and stories are shared in this text to elucidate the case made.
Trauma is any event or experience which could be physical, emotional or spiritual in nature that cause conflict or psychic effect within that region in every human being Jung once described as the collective unconscious. Trauma or psychic conflict occurs when the event or experience forces the conscious mind to address buried issues in the collective unconscious which the conscious mind was not prepared to address. In many cases, these issues surfacing to the conscious mind are past lives issues carried over to the present life buried deep inside the unconscious mind.
For the purpose of this discussion, most people would agree that all human beings originate from one source regardless where one was born, what region of the world he or she resides in or what one’s cultural background or belief system is. One of the most important characteristics we all share in common is our soul or spirit, whatever term one feels comfortable using. The physical body eventually separates from the spirit body through the process we all know as death. The spirit part of us continues living after the physical body dies and reincarnates to a new life carrying with it every single previous life experience.
Life after the death of the physical body is one aspect of life scientists, academicians and theologians of all spectrum especially in the Western culture have sliced and diced for centuries. Discussion on this matter continues in the West even after some reputable members of the scientific community such as Psychiatrist and Professor of Psychiatry, Dr Adrian Finkelstein marvelously documented in his book “Your Past Lives and The Healing Process” overwhelming evidence of past lives and the impact of past lives on current life healing process. Because some in the scientific community and scholars over the years have demonstrated lack of an open mind in understanding the dynamics and role of past lives, past lives influences on present life, and the impact in clinical field does not change the facts and what has been clinically validated by clinicians outside the West from the beginning of time.
Most books of spirituality, life and wisdom including the Bible clearly document life after death and reincarnation of souls. There is an overwhelming Christian belief in reincarnation of the death and rise of Chris. What I find ironic however, is that the Western Christians who celebrate with other Christians around the world the death and rise of Christ find it difficult to also believe in reincarnation of any other soul even when the Bible teaches that all departed souls must rise again. The truth of the matter is, Christ may be living among us today or, He may have come and gone multiple times.
Most would agree that the Western clinical frame work is grounded in fascinating “scientific theories.” It is fair to state that culture and religious belief played a major role in the framing of these clinical healing theories. However, even as fascinating as these theoretical frame works are for academic reasons, some would also agree there are some serious clinical healing concern with this model which attempts to fit every human wellness issue into a scientific theoretical frame. Many of us who approach clinical healing from humanistic and integrated mind-body-spirit approach would not have any problem with the model if humans are robots and do not comprised of these levels of life.
A clinical healing model which ignores some of the most important aspect of a person in clinical practice complicates healing. Ignorance of evaluating the entire person in clinical healing deepens and lengthens all levels of human pain. In many case, it unduly exacerbates the sufferings of individuals experiencing wellness crises. Some of the most painful aspects of human sufferings are the ones emanating from the mind and the spirit of a person.
The truth remains that all humans are the same regardless where one was born. Our differences are in our geography, cultures, and traditions within that culture. The differences in our physical characteristics can also be explained in large part by our gene, geography and nutrition. The fundamental experiences of life and living are the same. Our passion for life, our love for our families, our experience of joy and pain are the same.
Souls reincarnate every single second of every minute of the day. If you doubt that visit the maternity unit of your local hospitals. Clinical divination and practice outside the Western culture provide and document overwhelming evidence of reincarnation of souls and past lives influences on the present life. In many part of the world outside the West, folks who are interested in finding out personal past lives history are able to do so through clinical divination.
In 1987, following the tragic death of my mother’s oldest grandson who was about seventeen years old at the time of his death, my mother came to the United States to visit and have some healing time away from home. Mom also came with surprising however, exciting news. Few days after she arrived, she announced to us that we were expecting our first baby. Mom reported that we were expecting a boy and a reincarnation of my nephew. My nephew was “accidentally” shot to dead by a police officer when he was coming home in early hour of a morning from a party with his friends. My wife at the time argued that she was not pregnant and was not expecting a baby. My mom responded that she was.
Two weeks later, my wife’s physician confirmed she was pregnant. Ultra sound later confirmed my mother’s revelation. When my son was born he shared striking physical and behavior characteristics with my late nephew. One amazing behavior and past life carryover my son displayed prominently growing up was his emotional trauma towards gun and people in uniform. At the age when most boys his age played with toy guns and uniform armed figurines my son did not touch or play with those items. He was terrified by those play items. These items presented tremendous amount of emotional trauma to my son. He cried and wanted those items removed from him whenever they were introduced. He cried each time he saw a uniform armed professional. Our family were aware of who our child was in his previous life and explanation for his reactions towards certain events and items. My family also was aware of clinical healing intervention to help my son overcome his psychic disturbance from previous life. Those clinical healing steps were taken and my son’s past life psychic disturbances were resolved. These healing interventions allowed my son to have a normal childhood and played with just about any and every toy introduced to him thereafter. As a young adult however, he is not interested in guns and armed uniform professions.
Many soldiers come from long line family of soldiers where great grandfather, grandfather, father, uncles, and aunts all the way down to the young soldier. Some of these family members lost their lives in the battlefield. Souls (human beings) tend to reincarnate in families and regions that present the opportunity for individual souls to relive certain experiences consciously, subconsciously and through the dream state, as well as actualization of certain expected level of spiritual growth.
For example, people from the southern United stated generally are fascinated with guns and weaponry. Many would argue that folks from the Southern United States are obsessed with owning guns and involvement in military activities both organized and unorganized. These characteristics stem from the past lives civil war experiences of the people from this region of the country and also past lives rooted in fear of aggression from the government.
Another very good example is the Middle East where many souls reincarnate to fight old centuries same war of hate and intolerance many of these souls so passionately gave their lives to, and reincarnated many times over for the same war of hate. This region of the Middle East will continue to war just as they have for centuries, until there is a serious collective positive shift in consciousness among the people in this region extending to one another, deep feelings of tolerance, love and sincere desire for healing for their people and their land.
It is a serious clinical deficit anywhere on earth for a healing clinician of any modality to lack clinical investigative knowledge and skills to assess the entire person, and more importantly identify the influences of past lives experiences in current life disturbances. Because one does not believe deeply in the importance of clean air, water and proper nutrition does not change the fact that these are some of the most important fundamental qualities of healthy living. In the same manner also, because the Western clinical training does not understand and include in education and training of clinicians the impact and influences of past lives does not change the fact that past lives experiences significantly impact our current lives.
From the beginning of time without an exception, human beings survived by the principles of survival of the fittest. Many of these survival of the fittest involved wars and killing. Many of these killing also involve some of the most vicious human atrocities and tortures before death, such as in the case of holocaust and in all other wars fought around the globe.
All of these human experiences are recorded in our collective unconscious and stored deep in our soul (the spirit entity). It would be both spiritually and intellectually naïve to believe that life cames to an end the moment permanent consciousness (life) was squeezed out of our souls. African and Eastern theologians have taught for many centuries reincarnation of souls and the impact of past lives experiences on current lives. African clinicians also have applied clinical knowledge of past lives experiences in their clinical work for many centuries.
There are relatively very few things about war and activities of wars that are beneficial to positive human experience and personal growth. In time of war, people are exposed to explosive horrifying activities of war. These include the sounds and sights of war. These war experiences also include the worst of all incessant killing of lives, human torture of all levels, war atrocities, desecration of human dignities, and destruction of properties. Wars also present tremendous amount of human pains, sufferings and all levels of negative human emotion.
All of these horrifying war experiences present intense psychic disturbances to the lives of soldiers and civilians exposed to these experiences. These psychic disturbances evoke pressure and force the content of the collective unconscious (experiences of past lives) stored deep in the unconscious level of the mind to deal with those issues the conscious self was not ready and adequately prepared to deal with.
From the beginning of modern day military might to the present, soldiers in war fronts comprise of very young men and women. Despite the fact that these young soldiers are well trained in the mechanics and science of war, majority of them were at the early stages of gaining deep insight into life and developing life sustaining principles. Young soldiers are relatively inexperienced about life, life challenges and have minimal coping skills for brutal horrifying nature of war. Consequences of war are very unpredictable and very few human beings have coping skills for disturbances of the collective unconscious induced by horrors of war.
It is extremely difficult to predict what in the content of the collective unconscious (past lives carry-over) would be evoked when bombs start dropping, bullets start flying, shells start landing, neighborhoods start turning into rubble, and when killing and desecration of human bodies become a normal practice. Nothing prepares a soldier for the experience of losing a comrade in the battlefield and that soldier has to continue to advance leaving behind the dead body of his comrade. Every individual soldier or citizen in crossfire of war carries unique individual current and past lives experiences and would react differently to each warfront experience.
One can make a valid case that warfront deployment trauma coping skills training would be counterproductive to warfront psychological preparedness because of the nature of psychological mind set a soldier has to have to face the ugliness of battlefield. It would be surprising to find in the manuals of military warfront deployment, psychological preparedness coping skills training for trauma. Even if military warfront deployment training manual covers coping skills training for trauma, there is nothing on the face of earth that can adequately prepare a soldier especially, a young soldier for psychic disturbing experience of killing another soul, comrades fallen in battlefield or many of gruesome atrocities of war. Every single war ever fought has all components of these negative consequences and more.
Soldiers have been psychologically trained to accept killing as a profession and patriotic duty. However, there are deep adverse psychological, physiological and spiritual major changes that occur in every levels of a human being especially, in the spirit level deep inside the unconscious mind after taking a life of another. There is no human being that remains the same after taking a life of another soul even in the act of defense until deep clinical spiritual cleansing occur. After taking another human life, human psyche adopts a distorted and disturbed manifestation similar to that of an animal which violently tastes a human blood. The DNA of a human spirit, if I should use this term “DNA” for lack of a better term in this case is never the same after a person takes a life of another.
War induced psychic disturbances and other war induced psychological disturbances are complex in nature. Their roots are deeper than the Western style psychological assessments are capable of evaluating, understanding and addressing. These disturbances do not respond to chemical (medication) and other interventions prescribed by Western psychological module. Cases can be made that chemical intervention not only does not help in these case but indeed exacerbates presenting problems.
I personally feel troubled each time I come across Veterans from old wars who are still suffering war induced disturbances and are on multiple psychiatric medications for these issues. This cannot be happening. I cannot stand any longer by the sideline as a health and wellness healing professional and a specialist in mental health healing watch this endless enormous human suffering continue to go on in the lives of so many veterans and families. Many of these men and women sacrifice their lives for so many others. We cannot afford to continue to deal with these human issues in the same old ineffective ways we did in the past. We cannot allow this generation of soldiers experience the same post war pain and sufferings their fathers, grandfather and great-grandfathers endured after serving in warfronts.
BFIPD among military population linger mostly in the Western veteran population. In 1967, Eastern Nigeria seceded and declared independent from the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Eastern Nigeria became known as the Republic of Biafra. Nigerian government, with the support of the United States, Great Britain, France and many other countries in Europe who wanted access and control on massive supply of crude oil and other natural resources in the Eastern Nigeria waged war against the Eastern Nigeria.
Yours truly was a big ten years old at the time that looked like he was fifteen. As a young boy, my family and so many citizens of the Eastern Nigeria experienced some of the worst horrors and atrocities of war in that civil war which lasted till 1970. Our families were bombed out of our homes. We watched our homes burnt to the ground as we were fleeing our cities. Many of our family members and relatives did not survive the military might of the world’s super powers under the flag of Nigerian government.
When my neighboring city Asaba, fell into the control of the federal troops from Northern Nigeria, the federal troops immediately announced they wanted to make peace with the citizens and invited all citizens to the city’s events field for peace celebration. All male citizens who honored this invitation for peace celebration were gathered under the gun point by the federal troops and were massacred. Many of them were buried alive in that field in shallow graves. The women were mercilessly raped in the presence of their children, the city was desecrated and burnt down. These types of horrific war experiences can be equated with some of the documented war horrors many from the Western have tremendous amount of difficulties healing from.
At the end of the war, families reunited with surviving loved ones. Soldiers came home to their families. Communities celebrated the lives of survivors, began the healing process for all who did not survive and rebuilding of their respective communities.
It is important to note that our communities did not have veteran support system in place for any type of post war assistance. There were no Western style community mental health centers and resources to help war survivors address BFIPD and other war related mental health issues. What our communities had and still have is their ancient integrated healing ceremonies that effectively addressed the roots of war induced disturbances by honoring all components of a person’s psychic experiences. These healing ceremonies effectively heal the wounds and disturbances of war and give citizens who suffered BFIPD their lives back.
As a young boy who survived battlefield and horrific experience of war, participating in these healing ceremonies is one of the most treasured gifts of life the elders of my community gave me and the people of my community especially, young people following that horrific war experiences. These healing ceremonies became my wellness foundation moving forward with life after the war. These post war healing ceremonies is the difference between myself, the citizens of my communities and war veterans in the Western culture who came home from war and received Western style mental health care that has minimal understanding of the dynamics of the human spirit, and which also ignores in clinical healing practice the impact of past lives experience on the current life.
These post war healing ceremonies are deep therapeutic mind-body-spirit cleansing. These ceremonies go straight to the roots of psychic disturbances and heal the unconscious levels of the mind. These healing ceremonies also help civilians and soldiers who suffered physical wound from war accept respective new physical self and help bring about a healthy integration of the mind, body and spirit. The healing ceremonies bring about inner peace, healing closures and inner well being that allow people affected by horrors of war to share their experience and lessons of war with ease, minimal disturbance and without re-traumatization.
These healing ceremonies also give people who experienced war induced psychic disturbances inner rebirth. They strengthen inner dimensions of self and renew individual’s purpose for life and joy of living. The healing ceremonies help individuals gain deep insight into the values and respect for human soul and life. These healing ceremonies strengthen and psychically empower individuals who suffered horrors of war to embrace life’s new challenges. They usher renewed healthy mind, body and spirit which allow individuals and communities collectively to move forward, also with renewed appreciation of life and living.
So many young boys of my age fought in that war on the Biafra side. At the end of the war following the post war healing ceremonies, we all picked ourselves up and went back to school and job trainings. Adults, including those who previously served in the Nigerian armed forces who also came home to fight and defend the rights of Biafra for independence went about the business of rebuilding our respective communities as well as taking care of their families and the communities at large.
The war atrocities and psychic disturbances experienced by boys of my generation on the Biafra side of Nigerian civil war would have psychologically crippled for life young people in the West who would have experienced similar war horrors. If that had been in the West, majority of us would be on medications for “PTSD” and multiple psychological diagnostic labels. There are so many Vietnam vets in the United States still suffering post war disturbance and on psychotropic medications. That in itself is a human tragedy.
It is time for a major shift in paradigm. We cannot allow this generation of war veterans to suffer the same set of emotional and psychic pain veterans from previous generation suffered especially, when there are healing solutions for their presenting post war problems. It would be a travesty if the healing professionals working with war veterans continue to practice with this new generation of veterans the same clinical interventions that thus far have yielded minimal positive result in the lives of veterans.
The evidence is right in our families that these old interventions are ineffective because we have millions of war veterans around the world particularly, Vietnam veterans in the United States still suffering “PTSD.” It is now also established that chemical interventions has not healed these veterans. One can make a strong case that chemical interventions actually prevent true healing from taking place in the lives of individuals fighting demons of battlefield.
It is well documented that battlefield veterans continue to experience numerous problems in many areas of their lives including family and other relationships, career, chemical dependency and inability to maintain quality healthy living. It is unhealthy for soldiers and their families to come home from battlefield and pretend all are well. The truth of the matter is all are not well. There are specific integrated healing interventions for soldiers and civilians who experienced horrific events of war and battlefields that must take place before these individual can go back to normal, happy and productive lives for themselves, their families and respective communities at large. These healing interventions not only should take place before soldiers leave battlefield and returning home but also after they are home.
Time has come when society can no longer think that the war is over for the country, soldiers and their loved ones the moment troops are home, their community comes out waving flags in heroes’ welcome home parades. These welcome home parades are wonderful ways of communities showing appreciation for soldiers’ sacrifice. However, many of these soldiers feeding into the community emotion of pride and patriotism adopt soldiers’ mentality of self minimization of the impact of their physical and emotional wound in the battlefield. Solders need more than parades. They need more than anything else, healing care that restores their inner peace and wellness so that they can go back enjoying life and living again.
These battlefield disturbances do not magically disappear if healing process did not take place. Even when soldiers are not presenting immediate signs of disturbances, healing must still take place in a timely manner. When not addressed in a timely manner, BFIPD has an ugly way of manifesting when a soldier is completely removed from activities of war and normalcy appears to have returned in the life of the soldier. When these issues manifest late in the life of a soldier, it has tendencies to seriously disrupt the soldier’s life both in relationship and career. These disturbances induce unhealthy use of chemicals, chemical addiction, dependency and other life crisis.
Time has also come when clinical healing professionals must recognize that issues soldiers in battlefield come home with are beyond clinical training and education offered in current training of healing clinicians. The old Freudian psychotherapy and psychiatry have proven ineffective for these set of human issues. Also, this old age paradigm that all clinical healing issues and interventions must fit into a scientific box has become a disservice to health and wellness consumers.
I am called to the healing profession to make a difference, help bring changes that truly heal people we serve and bring about deep sustained healing experience in the lives and wellness of health consumers. Healing is not in the pill. I and so many fellow survivors of war I know from the part of the world I grew up in have never taken one single psychiatric pill for war induced disturbances. We all moved on with our lives and joy of living as young men following the war and post war healing ceremonies. The same is also true about the adults who survived the war. It is always a devastating and heart breaking experience personally for me each time I encounter in clinical field veterans of wars still fighting demons of wars long after they have been removed from battlefields. This cannot continue to happen. There is a solution.
Modern day science and innovation has given doctors in reconstruction and rehabilitative medicine amazing tools for helping soldiers who suffered serious physical and bodily wounds in the battlefield. These doctors in healing institutions such the Walter Reed National Military Center have done some of the most amazing work in their field with these soldiers. For these soldiers however, their physical and body reconstruction is just one step in their desired quality of life. Body reconstruction and physical rehabilitation does not stop the horror dreams that constantly wake these individuals up at the middle of the night and other cascade of serious BFIPD that will continue to hunt these soldiers’ quality of life if not properly and adequately addressed.
I have been working on BFIPD and have developed contemporary healing interventions specifically for battlefield veterans who experienced horrors of war. I and many from the part of the world I grew up in received these healing interventions after our lives were torn apart by horrific civil war. Time has proven that these post war healing interventions are evidence based. Thousands of young people and adults who experienced horrors of that war and received these healing interventions have and are living normal and happy lives today. Many of those young people are now adults with families of their own today. Many of these young survivors today are lawyers, doctors, engineers, college professors, accountants, health care professionals, corporate executives and in all fields of live services. Yours truly happens to be one of those young war kids. Think about this, these young people experienced some of the worst war horrors at the time boys their age were thinking about their first kiss from a girl.
I am offering to assist in training and consultation with military psychologists, psychiatrist and mental health clinicians, colleges and training institutions in gaining deep clinical understanding of the dynamics of BFIPD and healing interventions to help soldiers and individual who are experiencing BFIPD heal. This is not the time to serve special interest groups who benefit from status quo and interventions that have not helped these soldiers heal and give them inner peace to enjoy life again. This is a matter of national security for countries who engaged in wars. We as a society cannot ignore this human issue. We cannot afford to waste the best of our human resources from this generation of young soldiers. We must take lessons from the past. We wasted so many human resources from the previous wars. We cannot repeat the same mistake again. So much resource is spent on war veterans. However, it is difficult for anyone who does not have inner peace and is unhealthy to hold down a job, be a good father or mother and a productive happy citizen. When a Nation sent their young men and women to wars, that Nation must step up and do whatever it takes to give these soldiers back quality of life and living. We would be wasting another generation of soldiers if we fail to step up and embrace a new approach about how we move forward helping soldiers heal their mind, body and spirit after we put them through horrors of war. These healing interventions are not only the most effective healing care we have ever given to our war veterans but also the most cost effect intervention we have ever spent our dollars on.
By Dr Chris O’Banye