A free service for soldiers disappears…
I just received the email below from Chris Hagey. Chris has started www.probonoforsoldiers.com to offer free holistic services to returning service members and their families. It was a project that was created with much idealism, and other practitioners signed up to help. However, after two years, she is now closing the website, as the response from soldiers and their families has been rather minimal. Most of us healing practitioners are struggling with reaching out effectively. Here are some thoughts that came through my experience of introducing hundreds of soldiers to EFT.
As I have discussed in this blog and other locations many times, working with EFT for Veterans, reaching out and creating rapport is one of the most challenging things when it comes to working with EFT and Vets.
We have to understand that soldiers have a different understanding of service and self sacrifice than most nonmilitary people. At a post deployment event, a service member explained to me that for him to ask for help is embarrassing and feels inappropriate. He shared that he would feel very uncomfortable if people offered help. “I volunteered to serve!” he said. “I don’t want pity, I knew what I was doing!” As people who want to help returning service members, we need to find a way to present our intention to help in the context of the a military mindset. Offering gratitude and honor, acknowledgment and respect is of the essence. Understanding that most soldiers are very sensitive to people who just talk about gratitude, but then switch over to political subjects is very important, too.
When I join a new group of warriors, I always spend a moment making my “thank you for your service” a personal message. I look people in the eyes and make sure they understand that this is not just a phrase. I talk about honor, acknowledgment and respect. I make sure that it is understood that I don’t pretend to completely understand what they hae been through. I am not a service member, so this would be completely inappropriate. I also make sure that I don’t make assumptions about what someone has been through and don’t compare stories. Veterans don’t compare scars – instead they honor each other unconditionally.
It is hard to reach out to soldiers, but I know that we have to keep going and continue our efforts as much as we can. working with Veterans is a humbling and transformational process for both, the client and the practitioner, and I feel deeply grateful to have the opportunity to offer many servce members, veterans and their families.
Here is Chris’ email. Thank you Chris for all the great enthusiasm and work that you have been doing!
First I want to thank you for sharing your time and expertise with our soldiers/veterans – and I hope that you will continue on with this in your own ways. If you are working with soldiers or vets that came to you via PBFS, that is fabulous and I hope that if you have the time and they wish to work with you that you will continue.
I have held the Pro Bono For Soldiers doorway open for two years. Although this was / is a great concept, what I am finding is that the website is not reaching out to the vets and soldiers as we had hoped. It is simply not connecting to them the way we wanted.
I am not sure if this is because of the content of the website itself, if it is the name of the site or if it is merely that our soldiers are not ready to ask for aid in this way. It may also well be that they are not as ready to place holistic methods into their healing protocol just yet.
Perhaps it is a bit of all these.
Based on my research however I have made the decision to fold this website. What I envision is coming back at a later date when there is a better way to connect with our soldiers and vets. I am not sure what that would entail as yet.
If you have placed the PBFS logo on your website, you will want to remove this soon. I know that we each will continue in our own ways to help our vets and soldiers…
Thank you sincerely and wishing you many blessings,