Soldiers learn resiliency skills during newcomer training
July 29, 2013
Soldiers new to Fort Belvoir received resiliency and performance enhancement skills during Headquarters Battalion's newcomer resiliency course at the Belvoir Community Center July 17 and 18.
The course taught five resiliency skills and one performance enhancement skill to the 123 Soldiers who attended the two-day course.
"This stuff works," said Lt. Col. Brian P. Zarchin, Headquarters Battalion commander. "Soldiers, civilians and Family members who have already gone through the training believe it does, too."
The courses, titled Effective Praise and Active Constructive Responding, Hunt and Good Stuff, ATC (Activating Event, Thoughts, Consequences), Avoid Thinking Traps and Detect Icebergs covered the five resiliency skills. Goal setting was the performance enhancement skill the training covered with Soldiers.
Since the summer months are when most permanent change of station moves occur, Capt. Daniel Tucker, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, Special Activities commander, feels now is the perfect time for Soldiers to receive resiliency training.
"This is the perfect time to do the training because it decreases stress during the transition," said Tucker. "A lot of the training is geared toward how to effectively communicate, avoiding icebergs and thinking traps. It will help Soldiers and their Families transition to a new installation."
Senior leaders across the Army continue to report that these skills are yielding positive results, according to Zarchin.
"Increased marksmanship, physical fitness scores, higher retention rates and significantly reduced suicide attempts and suicidal ideations are what our senior leaders continue to report," said Zarchin.
Goal setting is important to performance enhancement because it encourages Soldiers to establish their "Big Dream" in the physical, social, Family, emotional and spiritual areas. Soldiers are forced to make an honest assessment of their current resources and potential obstacles.
Detecting icebergs is very critical to the resilience process because it directs Soldiers to ask themselves the "What" questions. What is the most upsetting part of that for me? What does that mean to me? What is the worst part of that for me?
"Participants should use this skill when their emotions or reactions are out of proportion to their heat-of-the-moment thoughts," said Zarchin. "Participants should use the four 'What' questions to identify the Iceberg Belief."
The lesson, Avoid Thinking Traps, is important because this skill is mostly used when a person's initial perception is inaccurate or he or she missed critical information. When implementing the Avoid Thinking Traps technique, Soldiers should ask themselves, "What is the evidence? Did I express myself and ask for information? And, look outward. How did others and/or circumstances contribute?"
"Thinking traps are patterns that prevent a person from seeing all the facts about a situation," said Donald Dees, Fort Belvoir Public Affairs Office, chief, command information and Master Resiliency Trainer. "That's why this is such a critical resilience skill to use."
Now that the Army is equipping Soldiers with resiliency skills, it's up to Soldiers and leaders to ensure the skills are being used, according to Zarchin.
"One can see that our training is effectively planting critical resiliency skill seeds," said Zarchin. "It's up to your leadership emphasis and your Master Resilience Trainers to help sow the seeds to ensure our community is resilient and ready to bounce back from the adversity we encounter every day."