Culture Shock or PTSD: Breaking Barriers Activity


I didn’t always know these things.  I drew these insights and messages from my own experiences by being aware of myself and the situation around me.

I asked an annoying amount of questions to my friends and family about what they are thinking/feeling at any given moment.

I recognized fundamental differences in my family’s culture from my own at the time; a culture that I used to deep down understand myself.

At that point I realized my innate culture has been forever changed.  I can’t unlive these intense experiences. I can delete those lessons.  I can only learn new ones and use them for a more aware future existence.


Step 1… [see tip 1 at bottom]

Both the veteran and the family member (or anyone else for that matter) are to write down two descriptions in the set order.

Each description is referenced below.

For the Veterans:

  1. Describe Marine Corps culture/respective branch
  2. Describe your own culture

For Family/Friends/Everyone:

  1. Describe your own culture
  2. Describe what you think might be Marine Corps culture (or respective branch)

Step 2… [see tip 2 at bottom]

Compare your responses.

Use the differences as talk points for deeper explanation.

At every moment, keep it on the front of your mind that this is the person you love and care about deeply.

Become intrigued by the differences and unexpected responses.

It should be interesting to know more about them, their views, and why they have those views.

Most importantly… No matter what you hear or where the discussion leads, Don’t Judge.  Save that shit for some other time.

Step 3…

Set up a time within a week or two to compare responses all over again.  The conversation should delve a little deeper than the first time.

Stay open.

Prepare yourself to start questioning and adjusting your own cultural views.  There isn’t one way to live, knowing more about how others live can be enlightening.


Tip for Step 1:

Pick a definition below to use as an aid.

  • the customary beliefs, social forms, and material traits of a racial, religious, or social group.
  • the characteristic features of everyday existence (as diversions or a way of life} shared by people in a place or time
  • the set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an institution or organization
  • the set of values, conventions, or social practices associated with a particular field, activity, or societal characteristic


Tip for Step 2:  

Veterans, Family, etc- try to redefine what you think an “open mind” is.  Chances are you are both going to have things you can’t readily wrap your head around.

Sometimes new and raw information needs to ferment in our minds for a little while to truly grasp the concepts that lie within.

See related for more information on this activity:

Culture Shock or PTSD: Condensed  Summary of Culture Shock vs PTSD.

Culture Shock or PTSD: Storyline 1 – the expanded version.

2 responses

  1. Pingback: Culture Shock or PTSD: Condensed – The Last Peace

  2. Pingback: Culture Shock or PTSD: Storyline 1 – The Last Peace

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