Dr. Kathy Platoni ’74 will present “When Trauma Doesn’t Bleed: The Psychological Toll of War” as part of the President’s Forum Series on March 24, at 7:30 p.m. in the Seneca Room. Platoni has dedicated her life to serving others, venturing “beyond the wire and into the crucible of war” to care for the Soldiers who need it most. Currently a clinical psychologist in private practice, she recently retired as a colonel with the Medical Service Corps and U.S. Army Reserve and as Army Reserve Psychology Consultant (to the Chief of the Medical Service Corps.)
Platoni is an expert in hypnotherapy and the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). She has helped fellow Soldiers manage the flashbacks, nightmares, sleep disorders, panic attacks and other symptoms of PTSD that often result from their combat experiences.
During nearly 34 years of service in the U.S. Army, she has been deployed four times – one stateside tour of duty during the Gulf War, a command of a Combat Stress Control Detachment at Joint Task Force Guantanamo Bay, one tour of duty to Afghanistan, one tour of duty in Iraq, and once during the aftermath of 9/11 to support the New York Police Department at Ground Zero. She was also voluntarily deployed to New York City twice to provide disaster mental health and critical incident stress debriefing services to the New York City Police Department. Platoni was on the scene during the fatal shooting at Fort Hood, Texas, in 2009 and served in Afghanistan following.
Platoni has also been a vocal critic of the Army’s treatment of PTSD cases and other topics in clinical psychology. Her expertise has given her voice national attention, and she has been quoted in The Washington Post, Newsweek, MSNBC, U.S. News and World Report, Huffington Post, AP News and other local and national publications. She co-wrote and co-edited two books with Dr. Ray Scurfield: “War Trauma and Its Wake: Expanding the Circle of Healing” and “Healing War Trauma: A Handbook of Creative Approaches.” Platoni has also published three chapters in a book titled, “We Thought We Were Invincible: The True Story of Invincible Warriors” by Dr. Art F. Schmitt. Platoni’s chapters give voice to many of the experiences she has dealt with as a colonel and psychologist in the U.S. Army.
A psychology major at the Colleges, it was at William Smith that Platoni says she learned to commit herself to a higher purpose. She went on to earn a master’s in education in 1975 from the University of Miami-Coral Gables and a doctorate in clinical psychology in 1985 from Nova Southeastern University in Davie, Fla.
In addition to her own private practice, she holds appointments as Adjunct Clinical Professor with the School of Professional Psychology at Wright State University and served as Chief of Psychology at DeWitt Army Community Hospital, Fort Belvoir, Va. Platoni serves as a Fellow of the American Institute of Stress Combat Stress Board and is editor of the Combat Stress E-Magazine. She is also the first psychologist to serve as an integral member of both the Dayton (Ohio) SWAT and the Dayton Hostage Negotiation Team.
In recognition of her work as a humanitarian, on March 28, 2008, she was presented with the William Smith Alumnae Association’s Achievement Award, William Smith College Alumnae Association’s highest honor. It is awarded to an alumna who, by reason of outstanding accomplishments in her particular business, profession or community service, has brought honor and distinction to her alma mater.
Her President’s Forum Address will be available on YouTube at
Established in the winter of 2000 by President Mark D. Gearan, the President’s Forum Series is designed to bring a variety of speakers to campus to share their knowledge and ideas with students, faculty and staff of the Colleges, as well as with interested community members. The most recent guest of the President’s Forum was Todd S. Purdum, senior writer at POLITICO and a contributing editor at Vanity Fair. Other recent speakers have included Gus Schumacher, executive vice president of policy and co-founder of Wholesome Wave; Former Maine Senator Olympia Snowe, the first woman in American history to serve in both houses of a state legislature and both houses of Congress; activist speaker Judy Shepard; Mayor of Ithaca Svante Myrick; Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund; and political activist and author The Rev. Dr. Marvin A. McMickle.
The next guest of the President’s Forum Series for the spring semester will be Victor Simpson ’63, Rome Bureau Chief for the Associated Press, on Monday, March 31.