Shrink in the Making: Learning to Become a Psychiatrist from the War Wounded

Rohul Amin

The Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) has resulted in numerous physical and psychological casualties. Mental health specialists have served with honor and contributed greatly to the care of these injured. The main focus of this volume is to provide insight into the experiences of mental health providers in combat. However the picture would be incomplete if it omitted the challenges in garrison, in specialized teaching military hospitals in the USA, caring for the physically or emotionally wounded.

The sheer length of GWOT has led to a generational impact on the organization and operation of America’s military. In the Medical Corps, we have been forcibly re-reminded of the primacy of psychological well-being of the soldier to be mission effective. Although we have noted this in our past wars, it appears that in each new theater of war it is necessary to address it anew.

In this chapter, I share my experiences while training to become a psychiatrist, in the settings of supporting wounded service members from two wars at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, and later at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. I provide a window into my decision and motivation for training as a psychiatrist. I describe the settings of constant exposure to war wounded my age and younger and its impact on my development as a physician and person. Additionally, I attempt to provide prospective on caring for the wounded in the garrison settings on the continuum of care. Sophisticated care that begins with “battle buddy care” on the battle field, encompassing deployed medical resources to finally more definitive higher echelon care in settings like Walter Reed. The chapter ends with my experiences practicing psychiatry in a deployed setting in Kuwait.

R. Amin, M.D. (*)

Department of Behavioral Health, Madigan Army Medical Center, 9040 Jackson Ave, Tacoma, WA 98431, USA e-mail: This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017 E.C. Ritchie et al. (eds.), Psychiatrists in Combat, DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-44118-4_17

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