Gerald Vest: War Post Traumatic Stress - Community Program Development    
 War Post Traumatic Stress - Community Program Development0 comments
picture11 Sep 2010 @ 17:24, by Gerald Vest

Meditation awareness is like completely open space. But not space as we commonly understand it, because awareness is not a place, nor does it have any particular form or shape. This space is neither outside the body nor inside the mind. It is not mental or physical, and yet, at the same time, it is a deep, integrated sense of stillness, openness, and balance--which is the experience of meditation itself. Tarthang Tulku, Tibetan Meditation - Practical teachings and step-by-step exercises on how to live in harmony, peace, and happiness.


For the past 20 years I have been working with soldiers and their families with health promotion, stress related injuries and, as coordinator of meditation & health education We have found mindfulness an integral part of our treatment and health promotion for this serious injury that affects the whole being. I had the good fortune these past 3 years serving as clinical/holistic social worker for the premier PTSD, Wm Beaumont Army Medical Center,(R & R). ([link])

I recently took leave from the R&R Center to develop and consult with community organizations to provide services for this catastrophic injury that has affected almost every warrior deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, their family and our society. We have learned that the warriors who participated in our experimental and experiential program, providing integrative and holistic methods, all improved significantly. Over 60% of our soldiers have returned to the force fit for duty. [link]

We have formed several alliances with community organizations to design and administer our model to advance the use of integrative health practices as the mental/behavioral health programs on all of our military installations are overwhelmed and not able to effectively treat this injury with conventional medicine, therapy and psychotropic meds. Furthermore, the mental health industry has misdiagnosed and labeled this injury as a disorder, disease and illness. This label and identification has prevented most service members from receiving the health, empowerment and treatment required to relieve, transform and transcend war trauma--stress, anxiety and depression--affecting every organ and social system related to the warrior.

There are numerous articles and current events that should alert our society, professionals, their organizations (accreditation bodies, professional schools) to become aware of this emergency and need to respond to this catastrophe that a decade of war has produced in our military services and wider community. [link]

I am bringing this to your attention because Mindfulness Education and Practice are essential to calming, quieting and transforming these injuries into health and wellness, especially when combined with other integrative practices that are provided intensively and extensively with warriors and their families. I have identified the methods that we successfully use in our program, but there are other approaches that can be included as well. The main approach we suggest is that since all of the systems are affected by this war injury, all approaches that interact with them can be included in the recovery process. And, all of us in our Center also believe that the empathy, physical interaction, compassion and love that we all enjoy or appreciate with our warriors and their families, is the sustaining influence for healing. [link] and [link]

We are preparing our community team organization for advancing our model that includes identifying veterans in our community, graduates & families of our R & R Program, integrative & holistic health practitioners, and others interested in serving our warriors, vets and their families. If any of you are interested in providing support or wish to develop a model War PTS Program in your community, do let us know so that we can establish a strong and viable network. Also, do let us know how you can help us--physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, socially and economically

If you wish to form a community outreach program in your area for Warriors and their families do let us know so that we can join together a Network of PTS Community Programs. [link]

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Note: Picture is Chase, one of our graduates of the Ft. Bliss R&R Center, now deployed to Afghanistan following several tours in Iraq. We are very proud of this great Warrior who completed our integrative health program and returned to the Force fit for duty. I'm proud and honored to know you. Way to go, Chase....you are the Best!!! Jerry


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