Free combat-stress workshops focus on acceptance, open to community
September 10, 2009
FORT BENNING, GA - Ranger Joe's is sponsoring a two-day stress management program aimed at helping Soldiers, civilians and families of deployed service members tackle trauma.
The free workshops, broken into two daily sessions, are scheduled for 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 18-19 at the National Infantry Museum and Soldier Center. They'll be led by Harold McRae, a professional counselor and licensed marriage and family therapist with a private practice in Columbus, and Sarah Bird, a leading practitioner in energy psychology from Ireland who's worked as a personal development consultant for the past two decades.
Paul Voorhees, owner of Ranger Joe's on Victory Drive, said he's paying about $6,000 out of his own pocket to fund the program. He took the classes last year and said he's gotten very positive results.
"It's something too good to sweep under the rug (and) I cannot imagine me trying to charge for it," Voorhees said. "This is a situation where we plan to save lives. It's just that simple ... This is being done with pure love for our Soldiers. But it's open to anyone."
The workshops aren't just geared toward the individual dealing with a traumatic event, he said. Spouses, family members and friends also are encouraged to attend.
He said the program, which was devised as a way to help women who had been raped, is not carried out in a traditional group therapy manner.
"People don't have to say or talk about anything. It's not something where you empty your soul out. There's a procedure you go through," Voorhees said. "It's so simple, yet it works. The beautiful part about it is after the four sessions, you don't ever need to go to another one if you don't want to ... I had immediate results within 20 to 30 minutes."
According to a program advertisement, the classes can help participants learn basic knowledge about combat stress and how it affects deployed troops; develop selfAca,!A?awareness and understanding by addressing certain emotions, beliefs and fears; and discover how to live life in the present through inner strength and new ways to relax and release tension.
"It allows your mind to accept there are things in this world you can't do anything about. What people are experiencing is normal, and there's a way to relieve it," Voorhees said. "We're real excited about it. People need to come in with an open mind and allow it to work."
Advance registration is preferred but walk-ins are welcome. For more information, contact McRae at 706-323Aca,!A?6123 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Army to launch 'master resiliency training'
In October, the Army plans to begin "master resiliency training" within the force - including the Guard and Reserve - as part of the Comprehensive Soldier Fitness program, according to a Sept. 3 report by the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation public affairs office.
The Comprehensive Soldier Fitness program focuses on the five dimensions of strength: emotional, social, spiritual, family and physical. Master resiliency training is aimed at building mental toughness.
GEN Martin E. Dempsey, the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command's commanding general, talked about mental health and the rising rates of post-traumatic stress and suicide in the Army during the Summer 2009 TRADOC Initial Entry Training Forum in Columbus.
"We've been doing a lot of thinking and introspection to try to understand what eight years of war may have done to the fabric of our men and women who served," Dempsey said. "We want to build some coping skills at the basic training level to help them deal with situations they may encounter in the Army."
In mid-August, about 50 Soldiers - mostly drill sergeants or platoon sergeants with combat experience in squad or platoon leadership positions - attended a 10-day "master resiliency training" session at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, according to information provided by Walter Thompson, chief of the Directorate of Training's Central Taskings Office, current operations division.
The goal is to have noncommissioned officers who attended the course go back to their installations and teach "resiliency" to their unit's Soldiers or basic trainees, BG Rhonda Cornum, the Comprehensive Soldier Fitness director, said in an article posted on army.mil prior to last month's training program.
She said MRT would operate as a "train-the-trainer" program and eventually be taught during basic combat training, at officer schools and throughout the Army.
The program will be offered to family members and Army civilians on a voluntary basis beginning in October 2010, the DFMWR report stated.