This is the 8th episode of the Veteran Mental Health Boot Camp, a series of podcasts that is looking at all aspects of Veteran Mental Health. Check out the first episode and all episodes as they’re released by going here


Dr. Aaron James Smith is a United States Marine and Associate Professor at Western Washington University. His focus is on military veterans and Existential Psychotherapy.


  • Aaron’s journey from the Marines to Veteran Mental Health
  • Lack of conversation about purpose and meaning in veteran mental health
  • Logotherapy and Viktor Frankl
  • Identifying the future in order to deal with the past
  • Three tenets of logotherapy: Freedom of Will, Will to Meaning, and Meaning of Life
  • Veterans already have the knowledge to heal, they just need help to become aware of it
  • Posttrauamtic Growth
  • Veterans and awareness of their own mortality


The Warrior Wellness Lab at Western Washington University

Aaron’s LinkedIn profile

Man’s Search for Meaning: Viktor Frankl

The Doctor and the Soul: Viktor Frankl

Gift of Therapy: Irvin Yalom

Staring At The Sun: Irvin Yalom

Are You Just Starting on this series? Check out the first episode and all episodes as they’re released by going here





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Duane France

Duane K. L. France is a combat veteran of both Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as a mental health counselor practicing in the state of Colorado. Do you want to join the conversation regarding veteran mental health? Share, like, and comment. Read Duane's previous posts and follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn. Keep the conversation about #veteranmentalhealth going.

1 Comment

Veteran Mental Health Bootcamp: Beyond PTSD and TBI — Head Space and Timing · December 30, 2017 at 12:31 pm

[…] 32 (Show Notes Here): Purpose and Meaning with Dr. Aaron James Smith, a Marine veteran and professor of counselor […]

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