, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp 48-57

First online:

Comparison of “rap” groups with traditional group therapy in the treatment of Vietnam combat veterans

  • J. Ingram WalkerAffiliated withThe Veterans Administration HospitalDuke University Medical Center

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An estimated 500,000–700,000 veterans suffer from posttraumatic stress disorder characterized by mental flashbacks of the war, recurrent dreams of the trauma, repetitive, intrusive thoughts of the war, irritability, generalized anxiety and difficulty relating to others. For many years, these individuals went undiagnosed and, except for rap groups, untreated. The rap groups were formed to talk about the war in a general debriefing process during the early 1970s. Rap groups failed to focus on the individual pathology, but, instead, provided a forum to refashion value and meaning in the veterans' lives. Recently, more traditional forms of group therapy have been used to help treat individuals suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder secondary to the Vietnam war. This paper discusses the unique features of traditional group therapy with Vietnam veterans.