Raymond Monsour Scurfield

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Raymond Monsour Scurfield (born 1943) is an American professor emeritus of social work at The University of Southern Mississippi,Gulf Coast. He is in private practice with Advanced Psychotherapy in Gulfport MS. He has been recognized for his expertise in war-related and natural disaster Psychological trauma. He has published books and articles exploring the effects of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in both combat veterans and disaster survivors, including a trilogy of books about war’s impact. The trilogy’s third instalment, War Trauma: Lessons Unlearned from Vietnam to Iraq, was published in October 2006. His two newest books are Scurfield, R.M. & Platoni, K.T. (Eds.). War Trauma & Its Wake. Expanding the Circle of Healing. New York & London: Routledge (2012); and Scurfield, R.M. & Platoni, K.T. (Eds).Healing War Trauma. A Handbook of Creative Approaches. New York & London (2013).

Scurfield has also written substantially about the impact of Hurricane Katrina, and helpful interventions to address post-Katrina mental health recovery. Scurfield has been recognized as a "Hero of Katrina" by the University of Southern Mississippi (2006), the 2006 Mississippi Social Worker of the Year by the Mississippi Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, the 2006 and 2007 College of Health Distinguished Teaching Awards and 10 additional awards and recognitions during his tenure at Southern Miss. He most recently received the 2012 Mississippi Lifetime Achievement Award from the Mississippi chapter, National Association of Social Work, and the NASW National Lifetime Achievement Award. NASW PRESS RELEASE :Raymond Monsour Scurfield, DSW, ACSW - Lifetime Achievement Award: Dr. Scurfield is Professor Emeritus of Social Work at the University of Southern Mississippi. In his 45-year career, Scurfield has made extraordinary contributions to the profession and society. Dr. Scurfield has a distinguished reputation in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a clinician, innovative therapy and program developer, educator, and researcher publishing on topics such as Vietnam War and other war-related trauma, post-disaster interventions, race-related trauma, and exposure and experientially-based therapy. [see video at: www.youtube.com/watch?v=R41_MFijjl]

Scurfield holds a bachelor's degree in Sociology/Anthropology in 1965 Dickinson College, Carlisle, PA), and both a master's degree in social work (1967) and doctorate in psychiatric clinical social work (1979) from the University of Southern California.


Scurfield is the son of Helen Monsour (Bridgeville, PA) and Raymond (Pete) Lytle (Finleyville, PA) and was adopted by Thomas Edward Scurfield (Clairton, PA). He was born in Chicago, Illinois, on August 3, 1943, but raised in Elizabeth, Pennsylvania, about 16 miles outside of Pittsburgh. In 1961 Scurfield enrolled at Dickinson College in Carlise, Pennsylvania. While at Dickinson, he enrolled in Army ROTC. While at Dickinson College he decided that he wanted to become a social worker and he applied to Schools of Social Work. Upon graduation from Dickinson College in 1965 as a Dinguished Military Graduate, Scurfield was simultaneously commissioned in the Army Medical Service Corps. In the summer of 1965 Scurfield arrived in Los Angeles to attend the University of Southern California. This placed Scurfield right next to where the Watts riots happened. Scurfield has stated that this exposure to urban poverty and racism was a very important learning experience.

Scurfield served four years on active duty in the Army (1967–71) as a social work officer. His first duty assignment was as outpatient clinic social worker at William Beaumont General Hospital in El Paso, Texas. Complaining about his duty assignment in El Paso, Scurfield was soon given orders for Vietnam. The Vietnam War was a turning point in his life; as he arrived in-country as a fresh 2nd LT and M.S.W., he was the only M.S.W. on a psychiatric team treating psychiatric casualties from I and II Corps of South Vietnam. This was the beginning of Scurfield’s real-life education about trauma and its powerful impact, and getting first-hand knowledge about the catastrophic short-term and lifelong consequences on combatants and civilian populations of policies and decisions made by our government and military when war is waged. Dr. Scurfield was promoted from 2nd Lt. to First Lt, and then to Captain, during his deployment to Vietnam.

Work history[edit]

During 1971–72 and 1974–82, Scurfield held several positions at the Brentwood (West Los Angeles) VA Medical Center, including director of the Vietnam Veterans Resocialization Unit and supervisor of the Veteransin-Prison Program. He was a community social worker with the Queen Liliuokalani Children's Center in Hilo and lower Puna on the Big Island of Hawaii (1972–73). Scurfield was appointed to the national-level position of National Associate Director for Clinical Services from 1982 to 1985 with the VA's Readjustment Counseling Service (the Vet Center Program) at VA HQ in Washington, D.C. Scurfield spent seven years (1985 to 1991) in the Gig Harbor/Tacoma/Seattle area, founding and directing the Post Traumatic Stress Treatment Program at the American Lake VAMC that received national and international attention for innovative trauma healing strategies (helicopter ride therapy; Outward Bound river rafting and rappelling ventures; sweatlodge and Pow-Wow warrior recognition American-Indian-led healing rituals; and then five years (1992 to 1997) in Hawaii, founding and directing the Pacific Islands Division, VA National Center for PTSD that pioneered the inclusion of culturally-sensitive Native Hawaiian healing elements and a focus on Asian-Pacific Islander veterans throughout the Pacific, to include establishing the first VA outreach PTSD service in America Samoa. In 1997, he served in a one-year position with the VA's National Center for PTSD and was outstationed at the Gulfport Division of the Biloxi VA.

In 1998, he retired from the VA and accepted a tenure track position at the University of Southern Mississippi School of Social Work, based at Long Beach. During his 13-year faculty tenure, he received some 15 awards for teaching and service (to include being the 2006 Mississippi Social Worker of the Year (by NASW) and designated as a "Hero of Katrina" by the University of Southern Mississippi—both awards in recognition of his leadership and counseling/debriefing services to displaced faculty, staff and students. And then he was appointed as a Professor Emeritus of Social Work upon his retirement in 2011. He has made over 350 professional presentations nationwide and numerous media appearances, to include 60 Minutes, Nightline, National Public Radio, New York Times, Boston Globe and many other newspaper and media interviews.

Scurfield was a pioneer in returning to Vietnam with veterans with PTSD to help in their healing process. In 1989 he co-led, with April Gerlock, the first return trip to Vietnam by a therapy group of veterans with PTSD. This trip was filmed by PBS and produced as a documentary in 1990, entitled Two Decades and a Wake-up. This return trip also was a focus in Scurfield's first book about Vietnam in 2004 (A Vietnam Trilogy. Veterans and Post-Traumatic Stress, 1968, 1989 & 2000). Scurfield then co-led the first university-based study abroad course to Vietnam (in 2000, with Dr. Andy Wiest and Dr. Leslie Root). This trip was a major focus of Scurfield's second book about Vietnam: Healing Journeys: Study Abroad with Vietnam Veterans (2006).

Scurfield also originated in 2007–08 and maintains an extensive on-line War Trauma Resources listing of some 500 public and private resources on his University of Southern Mississippi School of Social Work homepage (http://www.usm.edu/social-work/dr-raymond-scurfield-home-page).