Healing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder With Native Medicine

Vincent Schilling | Indian Country | May 26, 2014

Alfred Gibson (Navajo), spiritual leader and medicine man, helps Native veterans heal from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) through the “enemy way” ceremony with the support of the Veterans Administration. While these therapies have been used by Native people for generations, over the past few years, the Veterans Administration has witnessed the power and value of the culutrally sensitive process.

Gibson told the U.S. National Library of Medicine, “When soldiers go overseas, we give them warrior ceremonies to armor and protect them against the battle; when the soldier comes back, we have to remove that armor, to help him reconnect with his home.”

In addition to his role as medicine man, Gibson is also a traditional practitioner at a treatment facility in Gallup , New Mexico, working to help patients battle such maladies as addiction, mental stress and PTSD. In his treatment, he pairs traditional sweat lodge and ceremony with therapy and western medicines...