Veterans Share Stories with Community at Just Listening Circle

Friday, July 19, 2013

The University of West Georgia’s College of Social Sciences is partnering with Veterans Heart Georgia, an Atlanta-based non-profit organization, to introduce a veteran-focused “Just Listening” circle to Carrollton, Ga. The community-based initiative brings local veterans and community members together to “just listen” to veterans share their stories.

“As the name suggests, the modality is simply to facilitate a safe relational environment in which veterans can truly be heard, without being judged, given advice, or told what they should do or how they should feel,” said Dr. Larry Schor, UWG associate professor of psychology and licensed professional counselor. “While it is not therapy, it can be very therapeutic.”

Schor approached UWG alumnus and Vietnam veteran Bill Liggin, founding member of Veterans Heart Georgia, about expanding the “Just Listening” project. Liggin, a Carrollton, Ga. resident and licensed marriage and family therapist, understands the importance of involving the Carroll community in listening to and understanding the experiences of all veterans.

Liggin and Schor explained they hope the “Just Listening” circle brings together UWG’s student veterans and veterans in the community.

“We believe that when Vietnam veterans and Iraqi or Afghanistan veterans get together, there is the possibility for mutual understanding and even healing,” said Schor.

“Beyond politics lies the fact that war requires its participants to sacrifice a portion of their humanity on our behalf,” concluded Schor. “It is our responsibility, as a community, to offer our own humanity to listen deeply, sincerely and lovingly, and to acknowledge the sacrifices our warriors have made.”

The “Just Listening” circle is held the second Tuesday of each month from 7-9 p.m. at Carrollton Presbyterian Church near Adamson Square in Carrollton, Ga. The circles are open to veterans, family, friends and community members.

For more information, please contact Dr. Amber Smallwood, assistant dean of the College of Social Sciences at 678-839-5170.