Combat Related Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: A Holistic Approach

Combat Related Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: A Holistic Approach is a book for:

…therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists, counselors and others interested in a more effective, more holistic approach to PTSD,

…Aikido senseis, practitioners and dojos wanting to offer a valuable contribution to veterans with combat-related PTSD,

…veterans support programs open to expanding their options to include the kinesthetic therapeutic learning inherent in the practice of Aikido,

…veterans looking for a martial art that will enable them to redirect the energy of their anger and fear to constructive use.

The book presents an analysis of the disorder, an indication of what the statistics imply, a description of the power of Aikido as a kinesthetic therapy, and a one-year case history.

The book is based on forty-three years practicing and attempting to live Aikido; my personal experience, including 8 years in the Army [6 years Special Forces- 24 months Viet Nam]; my work with veterans with Combat Related Post Traumatic Stress Disorder [CRPTSD] and disadvantaged inner city youth; and research done during my MEd and EdD work and in writing this book. I found myself writing in three different voices. I started with the intention of enabling those who teach Aikido to bring the art to other veterans with CRPTSD by expanding on the blog of my first year’s experience teaching Aikido in a program for vets with CRPTSD. As I wrote and researched, the book rapidly morphed into an attempt to clarify why I believe Aikido has a place in treatment programs for vets with CRPTSD. Now, it has become a proposal that the best overall modality for working with CRPTSD is a holistic approach offering a smorgasbord of treatment options, including the kinesthetic therapeutic learning inherent in the practice of Aikido.

Teaching veterans with CRPTSD presents a very unique set of issues.  These can include one or a combination of fear of being touched, deep depression, avoidance of physical closeness, great inwardly-directed anger, a constant internal state of war, fear of harming others combined with violent, combat responses to perceived threats and actual physical disabilities.  I realized very soon that I had to modify and adapt how I was teaching.  But, to give these vets what they needed on a therapeutic level, I would also have to adapt what I was teaching.  To do this, without losing or diminishing the essence of Aikido, I was forced to define exactly what that essence was, what was my Aikido.

This involved some deep introspection, and, since Aikido is so much a part of my “self” and since I’m not a very deep thinker, it was often quite painful.  I had to work at defining who I really was, and what appeared was not always the kindly, honest, humanistic, Taoist, suave and debonaire person I liked to consider my self.  If you want to learn what I came to consider the essence of my Aikido, and how I learned to bring it to vets with CRPTSD, I recommend you read the book.

I will tell you that the path I found came through considering the concepts of ki and kokyu, and the differences in nage and tori, [and whether we have to throw people away] both on the mat and in my life. And, as happens if we continue along most life paths, the route shifted and changed, new vistas opened, new challenges arose.  What I saw from the top of a mountain, was more mountains. Beautiful! Scary!


You can see more details on the book at

You can order it from the publisher at,

and from Amazon at

The book will also be on the raffle display at summer camp.

My email is


Tom Osborn

Aikido of Northampton

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