Shamanic Healing for Veterans with PTSD: A Case Series

May 2, 2017
Helané Wahbeh, ND, MCR

Wahbeh H., Shainsky L., Weaver A., Engels-Smith J. (2017) Shamanic Healing for Veterans with PTSD: A Case Series. Explore, 13(3), 207-217.


Context Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a serious health concern. Current evidence-based treatments for PTSD are efficacious; however, they are not appropriate or tolerated by everyone who needs them. Alternative treatment approaches are needed. Shamanic healing is one such therapy that may potentially be beneficial but no systematic research has been conducted on it for PTSD. Objective The objectives of the case series are to (1) develop a structured replicable shamanic treatment plan for veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD); (2) collect preliminary data on PTSD-related outcomes, and (3) explore the feasibility and potential for adverse events of the plan. Design Case series. Setting Clinical. Patients or Other Participants Veterans with PTSD. Intervention Shamanic healing. Main Outcome Measure(s) PTSD symptoms, quality of life, and piritual wellness. Results A semi-structured shamanic healing protocol was created with the following components: rapport building, power animal retrieval, extraction, compassionate spirit release, curse unraveling, soul retrieval, forgiveness/cord-cutting, aspect maturing/soul rematrixing, and divination. Six veterans enrolled in the study (mean age = 49.3 ± 13.1). Qualitative descriptions of the participants, their histories, and effects from the intervention are reported. Preliminary data was collected on PTSD-related outcomes. The protocol was found feasible and acceptable and recommendations for its future use are suggested. Future research is warranted and needed to evaluate the efficacy of shamanic healing as a potential therapy for veterans with PTSD.

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