Eros, Thanatos, and Ares: Counseling Soldiers about Love and Death in a Combat or Hostile Fire Environment

  • Cathleen A. Lewandowski
Keywords: Iraq, combat stress unit, mental health, client engagement, stigma, grieving, Greek mythology


This narrative describes the experiences of a social worker counseling soldiers about love and death while deployed with a combat stress unit in Iraq during the early phase of operations. The author describes the basic purposes of combat stress units, some interactions with soldiers around love, loss, and grief, and draws some conclusions about these experiences. The narrative concludes with some suggestions on how to engage veterans in treatment upon redeployment, encouraging helping professionals to consider combat stress services as part of the continuum of care.