Sunday, October 24, 2010

Resilience training won't work tomorrow if yesterday is an example

It doesn't have to be as bad as it has been but as long as they take this kind of approach, it is unlikely to get better any time soon. "Resilience training" has not worked up until now and that is reflected by the ever increasing suicides along with attempted suicides. Drug and alcohol abuse are up, arrests are up so much so many states have rightly set up Veterans Courts, mental health claims are up, divorces are up and the list goes on.

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Resilience training and post traumatic stress disorder
Resilience training reflects a strength-based, positive psychology approach to Warrior behavioral health. It is designed for Warriors, Leaders, Spouses, Families and behavioral health providers. Training and information is targeted to all phases of the Warrior deployment cycle, Warrior life cycle and Warrior support system.
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None of what we're seeing has to happen as long as they start to look at what has worked instead of what has failed.

I've been married 26 years but other couples have lasted 30 to 40 years while sharing a home with PTSD. We raised our kids to understand why their Dad acts the way he does and they didn't end up blaming themselves. We got our emotions out of the way and reacted with our intelligence using the view of a wounded combat veteran standing in front of us instead of some kind of jerk out to cause a fight. We helped them see all the good within them because we were able to forgive and we were able to forgive because we understood there was a reason behind what they did.

Above all, we helped them forgive themselves.

PTSD comes after trauma. From an outside force attacking them. It hits the emotional part of their brain. Under 25, this part is not fully developed. In other words, their character is not carved in stone yet. Exposure to traumatic events in combat weighs heavily on them and the number of times they are exposed to it, crushes them. Our job is to take the weight off their souls brick by brick. It was that way for wives of Vietnam Vets and will be that way for today's veterans.

It doesn't matter if the people in their lives are a spouse, sibling or parent or even a friend. We are the ones on the front lines of this. While they fight the battles in combat, we must fight the battles for their lives but we must do so fully armed with understanding, love, forgiveness and patience with them. "Resilience training" should not be geared toward them but should be geared toward us so that we have the ability to help them heal. From what I've seen, this attempt falls flat because the people running this type of program have little understanding what it is like to be in their boots 24-7 or live with them.

None of what we see has to happen but much we have done should happen. It won't as long as the powers that be will not listen to what has worked because they are too busy asking what has failed. If the people in their lives get emotionally hurt, then they turn away from them. Most of this comes from lack of understanding and looking at them as if they were the way they used to be. Homeless veterans, for the most part, can be tracked back to coming back with PTSD and families that were destroyed by it because no one understood why any of the damage done was happening to them. Want to really make a difference, then start what what already has. The track record of aware Vietnam veterans' families proves nothing is impossible.