Combat, Connection, and Counseling with Veterans – A Conversation with Sebastian Junger

Combat, Connection, and Counseling with Veterans – A Conversation with Sebastian Junger


About this Episode:

In this episode, Dr. Aaron J. Smith interviews New York Times Best Selling Author and award winning journalist Sebastian Junger on his time embedded with US troops in the Korengal Valley of Afghanistan, coping with posttraumatic and transitional stress upon returning home, and how clinicians and researchers can support our Veterans in recreating a sense of meaning and connection in their post-military lives.


About Sebastian:

Sebastian Junger is the #1 New York Times Bestselling author of THE PERFECT STORMFIREA DEATH IN BELMONTWAR and TRIBE.   As an award-winning journalist, a contributing editor to Vanity Fair and a special correspondent at ABC News, he has covered major international news stories around the world, and has received both a National Magazine Award and a Peabody Award. Junger is also a documentary filmmaker whose debut film “Restrepo”, a feature-length documentary (co-directed with Tim Hetherington), was nominated for an Academy Award and won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance.

“Restrepo,” which chronicled the deployment of a platoon of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan’s Korengal Valley, is widely considered to have broken new ground in war reporting.  Junger has since produced and directed three additional documentaries about war and its aftermath. “Which Way Is The Front Line From Here?”, which premiered on HBO, chronicles the life and career of his friend and colleague, photojournalist Tim Hetherington, who was killed while covering the civil war in Libya in 2011.  “Korengal” returns to the subject of combat and tries to answer the eternal question of why young men miss war.   “The Last Patrol”, which also premiered on HBO, examines the complexities of returning from war by following Junger and three friends–all of whom had experienced combat, either as soldiers or reporters–as they travel up the East Coast railroad lines on foot as “high-speed vagrants.”

Junger has also written for magazines including Harper’s, The New York Times Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Outside and Men’s Journal. His reporting on Afghanistan in 2000, profiling Northern Alliance leader Ahmed Shah Massoud, who was assassinated just days before 9/11, became the subject of the National Geographic documentary “Into the Forbidden Zone,” and introduced America to the Afghan resistance fighting the Taliban.

Links and References

Junger, S. (2016). Tribe: On homecoming and belonging. New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers.

Junger, S. (2011). War. New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers.

Junger, S. (2010). Restrepo. Documentary movie.

Junger, S. (2014). Korengal. Documentary movie.

Putnam, R. (2000). Bowling alone: The collapse and revival of American community. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.


APA Citation for this Episode:

Smith, A. (Producer). (2019, October 22). EP145: Combat, Connection, and Counseling with Veterans with Sebastian Junger [Audio Podcast]. The Thoughtful Counselor. Retrieved from


Thanks to the Following:

Photo by Christopher Rusev on Unsplash

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