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Soldier Treatment in “Regeneration” by Pat Barker Essay

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Updated: May 9th, 2021

In Regeneration by Pat Barker, Rivers has several different patients. Even though all of them come from different backgrounds and have different stories, they all share one problem. All of these patients have been severely traumatized by the events they had encountered while being soldiers. Their experiences are truly horrific, and thus their shock has very serious causes. They have been sent to Rivers, who specializes in treating the problem they suffer from—shell-shock. In particular, one of the patients, Siegfried Sassoon, is requested by his commanders to be returned to service. In other words, it is the duty of Rivers to “fix” Sassoon so that his opposition to the military service and the war in general are transformed. Rivers is hesitant about his mission because the last thing he wants to do is force the soldier’s recovery from shell-shock. That said, his treatment includes non-invasive methods, getting to know the patients, close contact, trust, and conversations.

However, the methods of Yealland are very different. This professional relies on electroshock—a painful treatment that forces patients to overcome their trauma in a short time and return to service. Yealland claims that some patients are unwilling to recover and handle their psychological problems, and that is why his therapy is universally helpful.

In terms of effectiveness, from the perspective of the military commanders, the methods of Yealland are more efficient because they seem to achieve the desired results quickly and result in returning the soldiers to duty. At the same time, if the effectiveness stands for benefit to the patients, the therapy used by Rivers is more helpful because it helps the soldiers handle their trauma naturally without shocking them yet again. However, during times of war, state officials do not have the interests of the individual soldiers in mind, and will readily sacrifice them in order to achieve military success. That is why, according to the morals of the times of war, Yealland’s electroshock therapy is the most effective approach to solving the problem of PTSD among the soldiers who are physically suitable to continue their military service. However, according to humanistic morality, this approach is ultimately harmful.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "Soldier Treatment in "Regeneration" by Pat Barker." May 9, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/soldier-treatment-in-regeneration-by-pat-barker/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'Soldier Treatment in "Regeneration" by Pat Barker'. 9 May.

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