Researchers studying the suicide epidemic among US veterans have identified several factors that are paramount to a returning veteran's mental health: strengthening family ties, opportunities to connect with friends, and meaningful employment (i.e., feeling relevant).
But these things are not so easy to achieve when you feel alienated from your own life by trauma. It can be a long path home for our returning warriors.
The Warriors’ Retreat helps veterans begin the journey toward healing and well-being through an IFS, nature-based, trauma-informed therapeutic experience. Participants connect with those who have similar backgrounds, and let go of burdens they have been carrying from the trauma of military service. In an environment that feels familiar and safe.
This concept was designed and recently implemented by Beau Laviolette, US Marine veteran, LCSW and Ray Mount, US Army veteran, PhD, co-founders of the Healing Corp. The 6-month experience incorporated individual and group therapy, along with a 2.5-day nature retreat. Beau and Ray found that veterans work better when surrounded by other veterans working toward the same goal, in a setting that encourages their missing combat buddy to become replaced by a new trail buddy.
The Foundation for Self Leadership is building on this knowledge to expand and deepen the Warriors’ Retreat model. Short-term goals for the Healing Corps are to: learn even more about the needs within various veteran populations; tailor the IFS and nature-based models to these needs; and conduct a rigorous study and evaluation of this approach.
The long-term goal for the Foundation is to scale-up the program by partnering with an established provider so that greater numbers of current and former service members can find life-saving connection and meaning. Learn more.
You can help catalyze this initiative with a charitable donation to underwrite the Healing Corps for Veterans & Active-Duty Military.
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