Veterans PTSD and EFT – Creating a Supportive Environment

Coaching the military and Veterans with PTSD is different than working with civilians, and understanding how to set up workshops can make all the difference in the success level that you and the attendees experience.

So many veterans and active duty personnel get hurt by well meaning civilians and practitioners who can’t relate to war trauma, make inappropriate comments and try to compare the horrific events of deployment to civilian experiences. Combat trauma does not translate into civilian trauma. As civilian practitioners, we have to be very respectful and mindful of how we speak and represent ourselves, where natural boundaries are and how we approach the Veteran that we offer healing to.

Here are some personal thoughts about what might have supported the success of the film retreat project in San Francisco.

When you watch the video clip and DVD, you see that Gary Craig’s set up of the event allowed for the the power of EFT when applied by experienced practitioners and in a supportive environment.

This set up was in many ways perfect for the participants.

The week was designed in a very structured way, that could be translated into military culture as follows:

Gary was the “Commander”, who oversaw and set the parameter, gave instructions on how the project was going to unfold (in a gentle EFT way, of course)

Tina Craig was an “NCO” (a non commissioned officer), who was in charge of immaculate timing and organization. She ensured that the filming  projects stayed on time, that everybody knew exactly when to be where and that there were no surprises.

Eric Huurre was the other “NCO”, who was in charge only of the filming.

The practitioners were equally ranking “Squat Leaders”, each of  us assigned to two or three specific Veterans.

We were in charge of keeping up with their changes, responsible for the communication between them and Gary if neccessary, and to  keep the research data on track.

These personal relationships and bonds often lasted until long after the San Francisco project was over.

There was bonding time for the guys,

the free meals and breaks, where they sat around a table without any practitioners, connecting and supporting each other..

There was a clearly defined hierarchy within our participants, with Art Fritog being the highest ranking.

This automatically created specific, comfortable dynamics for the guys, as they were able to fall back on their military culture.

All expenses were paid, so that financial difficulties were not an issue, and everybody was eating the same food and included into the circle.

As I  continue  to dream of opportunities for Veterans healing, I see that this structure is working very well.

If you are planning on creating retreats or other healing opportunities for veterans, I suggest to make sure that you create a reliable hierarchy.

It doesn’t have to be as big as we had, but it needs to be clearly defined, a predictable structure and a time schedule with no  surprises.

The only change I’d suggest is that, after getting to know each other, to assign the same practitioner or practitioners to the veterans.

Our guys shared that it would have been more helpful for them to work with only one of  two practitioners that they trust and feel comfortable with.

Since this film project was also a research study (published in “Traumatology”), it was important to demonstrate that it was truly EFT and not just the individual style or skill level that brought about the changes.

If you are planning to create a retreat or healing workshop, you might find this  information useful.

I’d love to hear your comments, experiences and thoughts!

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