Monday, August 11, 2008

SOS Sent Out To "Support Our Solders" by Julie Walke

SOS Sent Out To "Support Our Solders"By []Julie Walke

A group of concerned and innovative companies and one private university have developed a four phase program called Support Our Soldiers (SOS) to assist Active Duty Military Personnel and Veterans in transitioning into a productive civilian life. The first two phases of the program include a 9 day family based camp that involves the entire family unit including military spouses and children, parents, grandparents and significant others. At the Camp the entire family is taught to recognize and manage behaviors that are associated with combat trauma.

Phase two at the Camp involves work, job and career counseling where the trained camp counselors, which include many military veterans, begin the process of successfully transitioning military personnel from military service into civilian life. This phase has one key goal in mind... to help these transitioning men and women find careers based on individual interests, skill sets, and regional employment opportunities in the civilian world after discharge from the service.

The third phase of this innovative program involves Follow-on Services. Services include PTSD Education, Career Training and Support and Emergency hotline services for Veterans, their relatives, friends, and employers who may have to deal with a PTSD related crises. This phase is designed to ensure that transitioning military personnel receive adequate on-going help by arranging internships and providing on-going communication, guidance, and assistance to the transitioning personnel, their families and their employers thereby increasing the chances of a successful assimilation into civilian life. The program places special emphasis on Veterans Helping Veterans, including service-disabled veterans, by providing networking resources to connect a wide range of existing training and employment opportunities from both the veteran and civilian population.

The fourth and final phase of the program includes the process of program evaluation. The evaluation includes assessment, accountability, and enhancement of the program's past and future operations.

The team assembled for this effort is comprised of a highly experienced and qualified group of private organizations that fulfill the scope required to develop and run an effective program that begins and continues the healing process for our Heroes. The team includes the following members:

The Minnow Lake Foundation, IncThe Camp Minnow Lake vision is to provide a place where families, from all walks of life, come together to learn from each other important values, mutual respect, team work, and new skills. Families learn to build self-confidence, care, and concern for our natural environment while nurturing each other. The Camp provides a combination of experiences that foster the development of positive and diverse relationships for the betterment of society.

In 1983 the first official Camp Minnow Lake office headquarters was opened for year round business and work and the staff was made up completely of volunteers. 1984 marked the first resident family camp - Family 4th of July Camp at Idyllwild, Calif. Fifty families from low income areas of San Diego were chosen with the help of 19 local school districts. Each family was given a scholarship to attend the July 4th weekend camp along with 50 camp volunteers. Together, 230 people from diverse ethnic, socio-economic and cultural backgrounds proved that understanding, tolerance, appreciation of nature, and love of self and others can be fostered in the camp environment. A formal evaluation demonstrated the success of this first camp and has become the basis for ongoing funding efforts both locally and nationally.

Simons and Associates Psychological Consulting ServicesSimons & Associates is a team of behavioral health specialists working in the field of Employee Assistance and Corporate training and Development. Comprised of corporate, military, and academic experienced psychologists (Ph.D.), psychiatrists (M.D.), marriage and family counselors (MFCC), human health/resource (RN/HR) and legal consultants, the team provides short term training and intervention and longer term, innovative consultation, training, and executive coaching.

SEIDCON, Inc.SEIDCON is an American-Indian and woman owned 8(a) firm. The company has supported the Department of Defense and other federal agencies--including the Veterans Administration--for over 25 years. Over half of Seidcon's employees are retired military, with 3 of 5 board members having U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force and U.S. Army backgrounds. Seidcon's Program Management, Contract Management and business acumen make the firm an outstanding choice to lead and oversee our team efforts. These efforts require accomplished, involved leaders with very strong logistics and financial capabilities, to ensure our heroes, our troops, arrive home to impassioned care that will result in fulfilled lives for all of them and their families.

California Miramar UniversityCalifornia Miramar University (CMU) is a California State Approved private postsecondary institution offering Certificate Programs, Corporate Training Programs, and Associate, Bachelor, and Master Degree Programs in Business and Leadership. After a State Approved change of ownership in 2004, the private California University received additional permission from the State to move the University from Los Angeles to its present location near the Miramar Marine Corp. Air Station in San Diego. While in San Diego, the University has become an active participant in local and international organizations and innovative projects such as its own Military Spouse Scholarship program to assist military spouses by offering affordable educational opportunities coupled with child care for individuals whose spouses are deployed in the service of our nation.

Tax deductible contributions can be made to the Support Our Soldiers program by contacting The Minnow Lake Foundation, Inc. at
Julie Walke

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Thursday, July 17, 2008

Effective Techniques for PTSD Treatments - Part 2 by Jay Bose

PTSD Treatment

It is very important to understand the core stimulus of the post traumatic stress disorder before a remedy can be identified. One of the challenges for psychotherapists is to make the patient open up and describe the event that had caused the trauma. You wish there was something like an eraser that you could use to wipe the traumatic experience from memory or pull a power cord from your brain that would reset the memory. But these are just wishful thinking and more of a pipe-dream. At the core of all PTSD treatments there is only one goal, make you learn to come to terms with yourself - a kind of meeting yourself half-way, recognizing that the past cannot be reversed, but steps can be taken to ensure that the present and future does not involve another such a traumatic experience.

Medications for PTSD treatment

A key element of PTSD is depression, following be excessive anxiety. Anti-depressants may be prescribed to the patient to calm down the nervous system. When your mind is calm, your physiology also relaxes. If the patient is also suffering from excessive nightmares and episodes of waking up in a cold sweat, tranquilizers may be prescribed. However patients could develop an inclination to overdose on such medications, which could do more harm than any good. So if medications are prescribed as a part of PTSD treatment routine, they should be properly monitored and controlled. However, medications are seldom the only remedy for PTSD. These are short term and temporary in nature and there is a risk that the patient may get addicted to it. Furthermore, there is the possibility that the medication may start to lose is potency after a while when the body gets used to it.

Group Therapy as a PTSD treatment

As discussed earlier, the most challenging aspect of PTSD treatment is to make the patient open up and provide an accurate description of the event. Patients have the inclination to keep things bottled up like they've always been ever since that traumatic event occurred in their life. Moreover they feel that the trauma is a personal demon that nobody can help eliminate. Such mental stigmas are the core inhibitors for treating PTSD sufferers. They tend to believe that they are beyond help and nothing can help them overcome their problem.

Research and statistics have proven however that if several patients who have suffered similar traumatic experiences before are brought together and made to talk among their experience, they feel more agreeable to open up. This is the core philosophy behind group therapy which is centered around the concept of sympathetic bonding.

Let's say for example, you are an accountant by profession and you are asked to participate in a forum where a bunch of cardiologists are discussing the latest advances of open heart surgery. Do you think you will open up and talk about why it is so important to have credits and debits cancel each other for a correct balance sheet? But in that same forum, even the most introvert cardiologist who has never met anyone else in the group could be seen to turn out to be a very active contributor on an invigorating discussion. This is the concept of "the like attracting like" or sympathetic bonding. This is what group therapy entails when used as a PTSD treatment method.

The psychotherapist(s) may be present physically or behind a one-way glass wall or through a video feed among the group of PTSD sufferers, who may or may not be aware that their conversation is being monitored by qualified mental healthcare professional(s). As the subjects begin to talk casually at first, eventually they start to talk about their experiences. That is when the psychotherapist(s) present get busy taking notes and analyzing the conversation.After a while the patients really start to open up one by one in the company of fellow sufferers (or sympathizers) and can begin a vivid replay of the traumatic event. Such descriptions provide valuable insight to the psychotherapist(s) on the nature of the problem, which in turn helps them analyze and determine possible remedies.

Post session research has also revealed that PTSD patients feel more relaxed having had the opportunity to "bare their chest" and finally have someone that they can relate to, listen to and share their own traumatic experience. It is the same effect as opening the lid off a pressurized container. The release of all that tension and pent up grief, by simply discussing their experiences with like minded people significantly helps to relax their nervous system. Whatever the psychotherapist recommends after such sessions can only have a positive effect on the patient.

Other PTSD treatment such as cognitive behavior therapy have proven themselves to be pretty effective as long as the patient is willing to open up and provide a true account of their experience. Patients have been reported to get into shock and feel extremely distressed when asked to describe their experiences, so it is very important that the psychotherapist does not rush through the session or convey any sense of urgency to the patient. Instead this should be approached cautiously and delicately with a keen eye for any sense of over-exertion by the patient.

Jay Bose operates his website at, where he writes and coaches students on PTSD treatment how to leverage non-invasive techniques for anxiety and stress reduction. Post traumatic stress disorders are the most sensitive among stress related disorders and must be approached with a lot of care.

Article Source: : The World"s Largest Index of Military Blogs (Milblogs) Military Mental health