RELEASED FROM CAPTIVITY: Bowe Bergdahl will have to acclimate himself after being held prisoner
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
6/15/2014 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
Why questions and controversies continue to swirl around Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl's release from the Taliban after five long years, one thing is certain: He has a long road ahead of him in readjusting to his life as a free civilian. Arriving at Brooke Army Medical Center in Texas, Bergdahl is reportedly doing well in the "Phase III" of his reintegration. It's not known when he will be reunited with his parents.
Held captive by the Taliban for five years, Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl has begun the process of returning to civilian life.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Dealing with the fear and isolation of being a prisoner of war, unlike most American POWs in Vietnam and previous wars, Bergdahl did not have fellow prisoners in which to communicate. Isolated and alone, he had no fellow prisoners to fall upon for support. Scientists believe that Bergdahl dealt with his torture with coping mechanisms.
"Phase III" of his reintegration will include how best to relieve post-traumatic stress. This will entail unlearning coping mechanisms, which can interfere with return to normal life, such as the freedom to make simple personal decisions.
"We see [POWs] as a normal, healthy person who underwent an abnormal event by relying on coping skills and resilience," Col. Bradley Poppen, an Army psychologist, says.
"Our goal is to help them understand that the coping skills they used in captivity, although functional in that environment, may not be functional now."
Phase III for Bergdahl began last week when he was flown from a U.S. military hospital in Germany to Brooke Army Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio.
"He appeared as any sergeant would with a two-star general - a little nervous," Maj. Gen. Joseph P. DiSalvo, who is in charge of Bergdahl's reintegration, said at the news conference. "But he looked good, he saluted, and he had good deportment."
"Overall, we're pleased with his physical state," Col. Ronald Wool, who is in charge of Bergdahl's medical care added.
The pace of reintegration is set by the returnee. Over time, the patient makes their own decisions as the individual regains a sense of control.
In Bergdahl's case, that includes deciding when and how to communicate with his family back in Idaho. Officials will only say that his parents have not yet traveled to Texas.
Bergdahl is still unaware of the controversy surrounding his leaving his post in Afghanistan, as well as his exchange for five Taliban detainees released from the US military prison in Guantánamo, Cuba.
"We expose them more and more to events that surround them, so at some point he will be exposed to the media inquiries about him," Poppen said.
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