The brochure For War Veterans & Family: On Combat Exposure was written in late 2008 for veterans and their family members who were connected to the Stress Disorder Treatment Unit (SDTU) at what was then the North Chicago VA Medical Center, and is now the Lovell Federal Health Care Center. Although there were many educational materials available on the psychological effects of combat (e.g. National Center for PTSD internet resources available at: http://www.ptsd.va.gov/public/) these appeared to focus on describing PTSD symptoms, attempting to normalize them, and encouraging treatment. They certainly met a need, however, their focus on diagnosis and symptoms failed to address essential issues that would help to clarify a reasonable understanding of how the effects of combat related stress might occur, and what paths might lead toward relieving them. The standard approach also did not answer many of the questions that had arisen over the years from veterans and family members.
In an effort to meet these needs work began on the brochure. As was the process with many of the clinical materials developed for the SDTU, after a first draft was completed by staff it was presented to groups consisting of residents and some alumni outpatients of the SDTU program. Their feedback was incorporated into subsequent drafts. This process continued until there were two consecutive groups who found no objections to the material. The brochure was then made available to veterans and family members in its completed form.