FACT: One in 5 vets who serve their country in a war suffer Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) if they get back home alive.
FACT: PTSD is a very lonely, widely misunderstood and costly condition. It’s a heart-breaking, soul-destroying and family-dysfunctioning illness.
In his recent book EXIT WOUNDS, a sad, confronting but brave account of his own private struggle with PTSD illness, Australian Maj Gen John Cantwell says:
‘This is my story, but it is also the story of thousands of Australian veterans from Iraq, East Timor, Afghanistan and other conflicts who bare similar emotional scars.
This is what becomes of those men and women we send off to war, pay little attention to, then forget once they are home.’
STRATEGY: One of the promising strategies for many of these vets is to raise their decision intelligence by helping them develop their problem-solving skills. SOT can help by developing for vets a special intensive problem-solving weekend: VETS XIO. We are now exploring ways to get this program started in 2014.
INNOVATION: Just like it is in the military itself, this is an area that needs an evolving range of options. A lot of new research. A multi-faceted approach. For example, here’s an innovative approach in the US using horses. Equine Assisted Psychotherapy is currently offered to military personnel in various locations throughout the United States. It is a powerful, short term experiential therapy that is highly effective in developing resilience and adaptability in civilian as well as military life. There is no riding. Equine sessions develop coping skills for PTSD, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), anger, depression, addiction and grief.
Time spent with the horses, out in a natural setting fosters trust, respect, problem-solving skills, improved communication and healthier relationships.
The horses are co-therapists that offer a healing presence and have the unique ability to mirror their clients. They model authenticity, how to be congruent and immerse completely in the moment. Metaphors emerge during the sessions, revealing attitudes and patterns of behavior. These stimulate insights readily transferable to day to day life.