Catherine Lieb – Listening to Stories of War

Listening to Stories of War:

Veterans, a Psychotherapist and the VA Failing It’s Mission to Treat Combat PTSD

An Iraq vet shows up at a VA mental health clinic. It was his mother’s idea.  She was so happy he survived the war.  Now she’s worried he won’t survive being home…

There is no expiration date for PTSD

Many warriors manage their psychological injuries for years without seeking professional help. Unfortunately, their loved ones suffer along with them.

Families of US Civil War veterans called it soldier’s heart. WWI Soldiers coined the phrase shell shock. WWII psychiatrists called it war neurosis.  After Vietnam veterans marched on Washington, the official name became PTSD, posttraumatic stress disorder.

Listening to Stories of War answers the question:

Does the PTSD label help or hinder recovery?

Catherine Lieb


About the Book

At the heart of Listening to Stories of War, are true stories veterans told the author when she was their psychotherapist at the VA.  Lieb had the honor to serve veterans in a combat trauma program that her VA mentor developed based on many years of experience working with combat vets. 

When the VA shut this highly effective, two-year program down during their nationwide campaign to implement a 12-session, one-size-fits-all treatment for PTSD, Lieb had two choices – collaborate with the VA’s exaggerated claims about their so-called “evidence-based” therapies, or leave the VA.  

After she left, two large studies have shown that the VA’s treatments for PTSD are failing more than two-thirds of veterans who try them (2020).  This book illustrates the common factors skilled clinicians use, and veterans and their loved ones need, to heal the psychological and moral injuries of war.  Hopefully, Listening will also catalyze change at the VA. 

Listening is a book in progress whose mission is to provide hope and information about how psychotherapy helps warriors come home to themselves, their families, friends, and communities. 

Read excerpts and join the conversation as Lieb writes about the veterans she served, the bonds she made with like-minded colleagues, and the challenges she faced working in a VA mental health clinic.

I’ll never know what it’s like to go to war, but I know how to create a safe space for veterans to tell their stories about war, the friends they lost, the civilians they harmed, and the enemies they killed.

CL, LCSW, Author