SMITH, John Russell
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: A Seminal Archive of Research and Treatment Materials
[Various places], [ca. 1972-1985]. An archive of materials showing the development of the understanding and treatment of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in the first decade after the end of the Vietnam war: when the symptoms of the syndrome were first becoming evident, often with a considerable delay between the end of the veteran's service in Vietnam and the appearance of such symptoms, Compiled by John Russell Smith, a Marine Vietnam veteran who was one of the early researchers into PTSD and later earned a Masters degree in clinical psychology from Duke University, the archive consists of Smith's research materials; diagnostic and clinical tools developed for identifying PTSD; original papers by Smith and others on issues involved with Vietnam service and PTSD, including Smith's testimony before Congress on the subject; and treatment notes, including group therapy ("rap group") accounts and other clinical papers. Smith served as a consultant to the US Army's drug education program in the US, Southeast Asia and Europe, and was a delegate of the Catholic Commission of Inquiry. He organized a construction company to train veterans with bad discharges in construction skills and ran a prison program for Vietnam veterans leaving the New York state prison system. In 1974 he was elected Director of the Vietnam Era Veteran National Resource Project charged with coordinating, funding and promoting 400 local veteran self-help projects. From 1975 to 1980 he served as consultant to the American Psychiatric Association in drafting the category on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in its new Diagnostic Manual. By 1981, when he testified before Congress, Smith had been working on these issues for a dozen years. He became the first Director of the National Veterans Administration Stress Center in Cleveland and later expanded his work to include treating first responders, including the families of police officers and firefighters killed in the line of duty. The archive is a revealing look at the development of a methodology for addressing a catastrophic psychological syndrome that appeared in the aftermath of what was, up to that point, the longest war in American history, the first war that America "lost," and a war that polarized the nation for a generation or more, taking a particularly great toll on those who served in it. Of particular interest in the archive are a carbon transcript of a discussion between several researchers, including Smith, on the establishment of a task force for defining catastrophic stress reactions, and a heavily edited draft of a paper by two of them -- Smith and Chaim Shatan, an MD who specialized in Vietnam veterans' postwar psychological problems -- that emerged from their study. Also included: a four-volume training manual for Operation Outreach, a Veterans Administration program for treating PTSD in Vietnam vets; research materials Smith found relating PTSD to earlier wars' problems of "shell shock" and "combat fatigue" and the military's treatment strategies for them over the previous 50 years; the author's military records, as well as a number of plaques he earned for his work; and the books he collected or were given to him. An inventory is available. A seminal archive by one of the early and important researchers in the field, and one of the only ones who served in Vietnam. [#032712] SOLD
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