EFT4Vets http://www.eftforvets.com Healing War Trauma, One Soldier At A Time Tue, 05 Sep 2017 19:32:24 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.2 http://www.eftforvets.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/cropped-Screenshot-2015-08-10-14.58.19-32x32.png EFT4Vets http://www.eftforvets.com 32 32 Free Webinar: What every practitioner must know before working with veterans http://www.eftforvets.com/1743/free-webinar-what-every-practitioner-must-know-before-working-with-veterans/ http://www.eftforvets.com/1743/free-webinar-what-every-practitioner-must-know-before-working-with-veterans/#respond Tue, 05 Sep 2017 19:32:24 +0000 http://www.eftforvets.com/?p=1743 Here is an almost 70 minute interview I gave to Craig Weiner DC and Suzanne Fageol on essential things every practitioner must know before attempting to work with Veterans. We talked about military culture, historic trauma, rapport building, things to never say or ask – and why, good session starters, backgrounds of different wars and how they may impact a session, how to deal with numbness and other emotional reactions, ethical and legal boundaries of doing this work, self care, mindset, and so much more. The webinar will be offered on September 7th. Please don’t miss it!
Free Webinar with Ingrid Dinter

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Never Judge PTSD – Healing From War Trauma with EFT http://www.eftforvets.com/1306/never-judge-ptsd-healing-from-war-trauma-with-eft/ http://www.eftforvets.com/1306/never-judge-ptsd-healing-from-war-trauma-with-eft/#comments Wed, 28 Dec 2016 19:08:03 +0000 http://www.eftforvets.com/?p=1306

“What do you think of me now Ma’am?” He asked.
My head was racing. I had worked with this Marine over the phone for several hours. His wife was there to support him. He told me his name was Joe, but I didn’t know if that was true. I did t know if he called me from a friends house or his own phone. I had no idea what he looked like and would most likely have passed him by on the street.
But I had heard his stories. Stories of intense trauma.
Vietnam did that to people. All wars do.
He was uder care of the VA and had permission to try EFT with me.
Story by story we unpacked whatever he was ready to share. He was a high ranking officer. He took command of the session, decided where to go and what to talk about.
In the beginning, we just worked on his physical stress. That’s all he could do.
But as he learned to trust me more, he began to share stories that nobody other than his pastor had ever heard.
He didn’t talk about it at the VA, and his therapist hadn’t even asked him to do so.
He asked his wife for forgiveness for some of the things he had done to her, when he was raging, infuriated and out of control, destroying so much of their relationship and hoping that she wouldn’t break up with him as a result.
As we worked together, his voice changed from session to session. It became lighter, friendlier, and had a new sense of happiness, even purpose in it.
He was stoic and monotonous when we started, now, after just a few hours, he talked with a sense of freedom and relief.
We addressed some childhood issues, memories with his father, who was also a Marine.
They were intense, some of them more dramatic than his war memories.
I was grateful that we could work through them so safely without him tuning in emotionally.

But then, there was this afternoon, when he told me that he wanted to share something that only his priest knows.
“Ma’am,” he said “I need you to understand that I am not asking for forgiveness. I have been blaming myself for this every day since it happened, since I did this. I would give my life to make it undone. I am a monster and I deserve to burn in hell for this. My guilt is my punishment and I accept that.”
“Can you talk about it?” I asked? I am here to listen
“I talked with my priest. He was trying to make me feel better. But I didn’t want to feel better. I deserve to live in hell for this.”
This was a strong man. I had learned to respect him for so many reasons. I could feel his pain and confirmed that I’d be there for him.

“So here is it.” He said: “I was a Sniper, special forces. My job was to take out the enemy before it took out us..”
“I understand that.” I replied.
“My mission that day was to blow up that civilian bus. We expected enemy forces to be in it. ” “Yes.” I said.

“But…,” he paused, overwhelmed. It took some time for him to regain his composure… “But here’s the thing: the bus was ready to leave. But then, at the very last moment, I saw a father with his son running up to the bus….”
“And I waited until they got on before I blew it up.”
I could hear the crying in his voice. But he had no tears left. He had been carrying this for so many decades.
“I talked to my priest. He was trying to tell me that maybe this was gods will!” That’s bullshit. He was trying to tell me that maybe this little boy would have turned I to a terrorist! But seriously! This was a 9 year old kid! What are the odds of that???”

“What do you think of me now, Ma’am?”

My mind was racing. Could I help him with this? What was I going to say? Was there an appropriate response? Was I the right person to help him, given the severity of the story that he had just shared? Could I even find it in my heart to talk about this differently than he did?
I realized that this was a pivotal moment for me as a healer. If I couldn’t find a way to work with him now, I couldn’t do the work I wanted to do, helping Veterans release war trauma What was my place in this? And was I prepared to take it?

All this took just a few seconds. As I listened to the silence in the other side of the phone line, I realized that I hadn’t asked him the most important question yet.
“Joe” I said “my job is not to judge you. It is not to condone or excuse what happened. My only job that I have signed up for is to help you heal what happened.”
“Please tell me more. Who were you at the time? What were you trained to do? What were the real circumstances of this?”
“You don’t judge me?”
“No. I don’t.”

“Ma’am” he said “nobody has ever asked me this. Even my therapist at the VA never wanted to know.
You see” he continued ” at the age of 8, my dad put me in a secret military cadre for gifted kids. I was raised there. I was brainwashed. They put those headphones in us and made us think things about ourselves that I can’t repeat here. We believed to be so big, so invincible. I speak Russian and Vietnamese in my sleep. I do t recall to have ever learned this. I can tighten up my muscles so hard, that they can’t even give me a shot at the hospital when I feel threatened. I just break the needle. I am in my 70s now, but I can still pick up a live size tractor if necessary. Had to do that to save someone a little while ago. I am trained and programmed to be invincible and to not think. We all were. We didn’t have a choice. ”
He told me many more stories that I promised not to share. But it became apparent, that what happened that day had a big, huge, decades long story.

That this man had been systematically trained to forget about his humanness so he could do his job. So many of the troops I have worked with report this.

“Joe ” I said, when he was finished “I’d like to share something with you:
I understand why you say that the priest telling you that his was gods will is BS. And that the odds of the boy turning into a terrorist are very very slim. I understand why you want to take full responsibility for what happened that day. And I respect that.
But after listening to you, even though I am a healer not a Marine, after learning more about you, after hearing how you were raised, trained and prepared for many many years to do this job, I can’t help but seeing this differently now”

I paused, as this was huge for me, and quite frankly, it still is…

“Joe, I realize that if I had your background, your upbringing, your story, I would have done the same thing. Anybody would have. Not just you.”

There were many emotions coming up for him now, and we tapped through all of them with EFT.

Eventually we were done, and his demeanor had completely changed.
“I still have a lot to give.” He said “There are many poor devils like me who carry their mess around every day of their lives never knowing how to put it down. This EFT stuff works. I want to reach out to them and support them, too. I have a new mission in my life. No I am ready to take that on now.”

When we send our troops into war zones, we must expect for them to come back changed, injured and deeply impacted by what they were exposed to.

When they return, it is our job to take the responsibility for sending them into war in the first place. And for the things that happened while they were there. It is our job to
Never judge
Never condone
Never excuse what happened

But instead to help heal what happened with respect, listening and acknowledgement.
There needs to be a place for this in our society, where we hold and cherish our troops, and not just want them to “get themselves fixed so they can operate again.”

War trauma impacts everybody, not just the service members.
But when we learn how to acknowledge this without judgment, forgive without condoning or excusing and are truly I recreated in taking the time to listen and learn, our troops have a chance to return home
and have a place in the civilian world.

Thank you Joe for having the courage to step forward and teach me this important lesson. You have saved many lives.

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10 Reasons Why Hiring Veterans Is A Smart Business Decision http://www.eftforvets.com/1290/10-reasons-why-hiring-veterans-is-a-smart-business-decision/ Wed, 02 Mar 2016 22:31:00 +0000 http://www.eftforvets.com/?p=1290 Hiring Veterans is not just a patriotic act or “a way to give back.”

Hiring Combat Veterans successfully is a smart business move, which allows companies to maximize profits by getting access to unique skill sets and training that military veterans bring to the table.

Here are only some reasons why hiring Veterans will benefit your company:

  1. Leadership: Veterans are trained to be highly effective leaders who lead by example, through motivation, delegation and inspiration
  2. Teamwork: Veterans are strong team players who understand that everybody must work together and depend on each other to get the job done. Veterans rely on each other with their life and are 100% accountable to their team mates and leadership.
  3. Ability to meet deadlines and handle stress: Military veterans are trained to perform effectively even under the most adverse circumstances. They are trained to work under high stress and difficulty and to never leave a mission before it is finished.
  4. Self-Direction: Veterans are trained to be resourceful and get the job done without step by step instructions and micro managing. When the mission is understood and the task handed to the veteran, you can trust that it will get done and completed quickly and efficiently.
  5. Ability to work in Diversity: Veterans are accustomed to working well in a diversified field of different ethnicities, cultures, religions and genders. This will avoid conflicts within teams and ensure mutual respect and commitment.
  6. Military Core Values: No matter which branch of the military a veteran comes from, all military core values are based on Accountability, Commitment, Integrity and Service before Self.  This will directly translate into your company profits.
  7. Time Management: Veterans have a strong ability to work effectively and finish their job in a timely manner. They are trained and accustomed to multitask and understand the importance of dedicating themselves to achieving their goals.
  8. Organizational skills: Veterans are trained to break down highly complex and multi faceted tasks into manageable parts that can then be easily delegated. They are trustworthy leaders for large projects which require extraordinary project management skills
  9. Ability to conform to rules and structure: Veterans work well within defined structures and are comfortable adhering to regulations within your company. You will minimize stress and maximize productivity as your processes are respected and followed without question.
  10. Highly trained specialists: The military offers unique opportunities for cutting edge, specialized training. When you hire Veterans, you will hire people with extraordinary skill sets and backgrounds that usually translate very well into a civilian job description. Some of those fields are: computer science, financial management, medical, engineering (many branches), administrative, personnel, technical mechanical or security fields
A true story for Veterans Day http://www.eftforvets.com/1265/a-true-story-for-veterans-day/ Mon, 30 Nov 2015 19:20:43 +0000 http://www.eftforvets.com/?p=1265  

“Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Manchester Airport and thank you for flying with us!  And for the Military Service Members on board:  Welcome home! In the name of the captain and his crew, I want to thank you for your service. We are glad you are back safely and we appreciate your service and your sacrifice to this country.”

It became quiet for a moment. A strange silence. It felt inappropriate to just jump up and grab our stuff from the overhead. Most people must have felt that way.

The two soldiers in the row before me looked down on their seat.  I could tell that being on this airplane, surrounded by strangers and confined into a small space hadn’t been easy for them.  I could see how they were constantly scanning the rows of passengers, looking for signs that something might be wrong. I could tell that they were somewhat stunned about being back in the US, and how strangely easy and unrealistic everything around them seemed after a long deployment. They were not used to being called out on over speaker. They were not used to people turning their heads to them. They had just done their job.

I don’t know if it was more than a second that this awkward silence where neither the passengers nor the troops know what to do next. I clapped my hands.


Then again.

The person next to me chimed in.  Then someone from the other side of the airplane began to clap.  Then a whole group of people in the middle section. For a moment, the flight attendant looked surprised.  Then she smiled and started clapping as well.

As the airplane echoed with applause, the soldiers in the row in front of me looked at their seat. Then they looked up.

As if a realization had just come over them, their faces twitched with a small smile, paired with a notion of disbelief. Then they nodded their head, looked at a few passengers directly. They weren’t the first ones to exit the airplane, but as they did, they felt the recognition of everybody around them.

Eventually, all the passengers got up to leave the airplane. Many had tears in their eyes. I think I had, too.

Something strange had happened. Passengers felt connected, stronger together.

They exited the airplane quietly and somehow changed. A magical moment that is hard to forget.

To all my Veteran friends and the many that I had the honor to be connected to over the past years: Thank you!

Thank you for being willing to sacrifice your life and wellbeing for others.  Thank you for being willing to take the risk of getting hurt, of loosing your life to protect others.  Thank you for trusting me enough to sharing with me the depth of the darkness you felt after you came home.  Thank you for giving me the privilege to allow me to lend a hand and doing my part in healing. I know that this took courage, and I respect you for this. And to your families, and the many military families that have been worried and suffering with their loved ones overseas:  Thank you for your sacrifice. There are no words…”/cilostazol-online-buying”>.

What is Brotherhood – Four Powerful Facts About PTSD From War Correspondent Sebastian Junger http://www.eftforvets.com/1229/what-is-brotherhood-for-powerful-facts-about-ptsd-from-war-correspondent-sebastian-junger/ Mon, 14 Sep 2015 17:13:29 +0000 http://www.eftforvets.com/?p=1229 Please watch this Ted talk:



It will help you understand better why young men want to re-enlist, and the power of brotherhood in war.

You will understand better that combat isn’t something that civilians can really understand unless they have been there.

I believe that this mindset: Knowing where our place is as a civilian, and who we need to be for a soldier as a civilian who cares and wants to help in the right way, is essential to be able to do our work with EFT.

Please do take the time to study those materials.

With gratitude for all that you do


EFT for PTSD – War Trauma – Handed Down Through The Generations http://www.eftforvets.com/1174/eft-for-ptsd-war-trauma-handed-down-through-the-generations/ http://www.eftforvets.com/1174/eft-for-ptsd-war-trauma-handed-down-through-the-generations/#comments Wed, 06 Mar 2013 05:02:25 +0000 http://www.eftforvets.com/?p=1174 Most people of my generation were raised by parents who had extensive war trauma. My father was a POW for three years in Russia during WWII. His mother died from a wound while he was gone. My Grandfather served in WWI and II. My mother’s family were refugees. Memories they never overcame.

War was present at the dinner table, in discussions about politics. An undercurrent of anger was normal. Nobody to blame for this. But it sure hurt.

The trauma was handed down generation for generation, and depending on the circumstances of the war, children were raised with pride or shame, rage and withdrawal.

My father never talked about what happened in those three years in Russia, when his friends were starved to death and he barely survived because they had a use for him as a musician. We were not allowed to ask. Nevertheless, there was barely a day when the aftermath of what happened to him wasn’t sensable.

I never thought of my father of a man with PTSD. I had no idea what this was, and he truly didn’t show many symptoms. He was friendly and quiet, somewhat withdrawn and hard to get to. The only way to truly connect with my father was through music. So I learned the piano. Asked him to teach me. And he did. That was special.

When I was about fourteen years old, I had the courage to ask him what happened in Russia. It was just one sentence, one question. I wanted to know, enter the forbidden territory of questions never to be asked.

I have never seen him so angry. He flew over the table, his finger pointing at me shouting “You must NEVER ask me that question again. NEVER! Do you understand?”

I understood, and I was sorry. Very sorry. I thought that time might have healed some wounds. And I wanted to know. I didn’t know about PTSD.

My mother told me that she had found letters in a drawer in the basement from friends who had made it out as well. “You must forget.” they said. “You must try to forget and live.” Nobody will ever know what happened in Russia.

My father died from cancer when he was 61. We all knew: He died from a broken heart.

He was a quiet man, whom I will never understand. I knew that the scars in his neck were from infections he got while he was captured. I was photos with his head swollen from starvation. Most people never knew what he had been through.

And even if they did, they would never understand.

I wish I had had EFT back then, when the dinner table became a battlefield of yelling and accusations. Teenage kids say stupid things, and parents who have to work so hard to keep it together don’t always know how to react.

I wish I had had the ability to tap with him and my mom when they got angry. It would have changed things, opened a dialogue. 

EFT wasn’t known then.

Today, it is.

All over the world, families suffer from the aftermath of war. Kids are being raised by traumatized parents. Families break apart because nobody speaks. It is easier to hide what happened than to face it, fearful of admitting how bad things have become.

Veterans are terrified to hurt their wives and children in a flashback and leave before they can do them harm. Others freak our or withdraw, drowning their memories in alcohol and drugs. Others again overwork and volunteer where they can, serving their communities in whichever way possible. There are veterans wherever we look. Many of them carry a load of memories, sorrow, sadness and rage.

It is not abnormal, it is normal. Anybody who has been thought what they experienced would feel the same way.

But today, with EFT we can make a difference.

Families can make a difference.

Friends can make a difference.

Buddies can make a difference.

Most Veterans prefer to talk to a buddy or a loved one over talking to a therapist at the VA.

So we have to help the families, the communities, the people they want to talk to  to help with EFT.

EFT is not rocket science. Kids can learn it. Teachers can learn it. Mothers, fathers, wives and husbands can learn it.

And they can help better because they care. They want their loved one to be well. They have the insight, the patience, the compassion. They are there when the soldier wakes up screaming from a nightmare. They are there when he sees blood all over the place. They are there when the smell of burning plastic makes him run from the backyard. They are there when he is afraid to use the bus or attend the 4th of July fireworks.

They are there when he needs help. And with EFT, they can do something that makes a difference. A real difference.

It saves families and allows for a better future.

I am grateful that EFT is so effective with war trauma and Veterans.

I only wish I had known about it when my father suffered from PTSD.


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EFT For Emergency Response – DBHRT Presentation http://www.eftforvets.com/1168/eft-for-emergency-response-dbhrt-presentation/ http://www.eftforvets.com/1168/eft-for-emergency-response-dbhrt-presentation/#comments Sun, 03 Mar 2013 05:20:18 +0000 http://www.eftforvets.com/?p=1168 On February 8th, I was invited by the DBHRT, the Disaster Behavior Health Response Team of New Hampshire, to give a presentation about how to use EFT in shelters.

As a DBHRT Team Leader, I am grateful that EFT is now available to Behavior Health Volunteers in the state of New Hampshire and beyond.

Since the training was only 3.5 hours, I had to focus on an effective and easy to learn way to teach tapping to providers who had heard of, but didn’t have experience with tapping.

To accomplish this, I decided to focus on three main teaching points:

EFT for self care for providers

EFT for Shelters

EFT for Schools.

These are, with the exception of working with the Military, the main areas where DBHRT gets called most frequently.

The approach we took was:

– Teach and practice the basic recipe without the finger points or gamut, so that it coule easily be learned and memorized in an effective way.

– Demonstrate and practice the constricted breathing technique. The intention here was to

a) Show how stress shows up in the body of almost anybody

b) Demonstrate how EFT is effective even if people just follow the demonstration without any knowledge or background in EFT 

c) Bring measurable results without tuning into emotional aspects of trauma – which is important in a collective stress situation, such as schools or shelters

d) Teach an effective way to work with children or adults that can be repeated as needed and be fun

e) Teach a tool where emotional work can be prepared, as this technique takes the edge of emotional intensity


After the effectiveness of the general tapping with a very basic set up statement ” Even though I have this constricted breathing, I completely accept myself” Was taught and practiced by the attendees, we went on to learn the

Chasing the Pain technique

The intention for this workshop was to make sure, that we can effectively help in groups and emergency situations, without doing therapy or deep trauma work.

By refocussing the intention on the body, we allow trauma victims to release the intensity without having to tune into the emotional cause of it.

We can monitor success in releasing energy blocks by focussing on the physical location, releasing it, and then observing shifts in intensity and location. By doing several rounds of tapping, we can bring great physical and emotional benefits, without having victims tune into the emotional component of the trauma.

Next, the Personal Peace Procedure tool was introduced and practiced. Participants filled out at least 5 issues that they wanted to release, with the added intensity measure “SUDS (Subjective Unit Of Distress Scale”). They learned how to release the intensity of the issues they wrote down, and also practiced in pairs on how to release it.

The combination of the basic recipe, the constricted breathing technique and the chasing the pain technique was then demonstrated and practiced for self care, Shelters and school aged kids.

For shelters, we brainstormed the different emotions that victims go through, divided into age groups.

We found that, even though there are some age specific issues that each group had, there were also some general, effective issues that could be safely addressed with any group. These were: 

– Overwhelm (Even though I am completely overwhelmed right now, I choose to be surprisingly OK with that)

– Anger/Rage

– Fear of what’s next

– Concern for family and friends

We realized that these feelings could be safely addressed by a DBHRT volunteer, without the need to analyze each member’s specific situation.


Finally, we talked about specific ways to help children with EFT.

Reframing of the basic “I deeply and completely accept myself” Was necessary, to make it age appropriate.

Some of the ways to do this were:

Even though I am so upset right now, I know my parents love me

– I know I am a great kid

– I know that I am a great baseball player

– My friends think I’m cool


Or for older kids: Even though  am really upset right now, I know that I can do this

– I know I am a cool dude

– It’s OK, anybody would feel this way.


We introduced the “monkey tap” for younger children, which means “banging” on the chest/collar bone points like a monkey, or tapping simultaneously on the top of the head and under the arm. “monkey noises” or small sounds like “poc poc poc” can be made with each tap, to help the children have fun while they de-stress.

The “SUDS” can be measured by comparing the intensity to the size of animals (Elephants vs kitty cats), or simply by stretching out the arms for the highest intensity and bringing the hands closer together as the intensity decreases.

There is much more to learn to do this work effectively to help people in shelters and schools, as well as the military, but bringing the work back to the four basic teachings:

– Basic short recipe

– Constricted Breathing Technique

– Personal Peace Procedure

– Chasing the pain Technique

Is a solid and effective foundation even for beginners of EFT.



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Help for Veterans Radio Interview EFT for Veterans http://www.eftforvets.com/1163/help-for-veterans-radio-interview-eft-for-veterans/ Sun, 19 Feb 2012 17:45:15 +0000 http://www.eftforvets.com/?p=1163 .]]> Please listen to this Radio interview:


Veterans can receive help from so many resources. Silverliningvillages in Georgia can help homeless Veterans who want to find peace and create a new life that works for them.

Listen to internet radio with SilverLiningVillages on Blog Talk Radio


Anger Management for PTSD: Three Steps to Transforming Rage with EFT Coaching- EFT Podcast http://www.eftforvets.com/1144/anger-management-for-ptsd-three-steps-to-transforming-rage-with-eft-coaching-eft-podcast/ http://www.eftforvets.com/1144/anger-management-for-ptsd-three-steps-to-transforming-rage-with-eft-coaching-eft-podcast/#comments Tue, 07 Jun 2011 19:17:45 +0000 http://www.eftforvets.com/?p=1144 Anger Management is a very important skill for troops who suffer from PTSD and their families, as well as those who want to help them.

In my experience with EFT for Veterans, rage happens when a person had to endure situations that are unforgivable, inexcusable and that violate what he/she believes in.

I have yet to see a soldier that is not outraged about something that he saw, was exposed to, did or couldn’t prevent from happening.

Even though EFT can take the charge out of those memories, in my experience, there are three steps necessary to truly release rage:

Acknowledgement of what happened without judgment

Releasing the intensity with EFT tapping

Transformation of the experience, to find a deeper meaning and new purpose.

Please click on the link below to listen to the EFT Tapping podcast interview with Ingrid Dinter, conducted by Jondi Whitis from TapFest Radio




Listen to internet radio with EFT Radio Online on Blog Talk Radio


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Veterans PTSD – How to Gain Rapport and Initiate a Conversation http://www.eftforvets.com/1137/1137/ http://www.eftforvets.com/1137/1137/#comments Fri, 25 Mar 2011 22:10:55 +0000 http://www.eftforvets.com/?p=1137 Hi Ingrid,
I just finished listening to the pod cast you sent me on the intro to EFT and PTSD for Vets. I learned a great deal. I am a Vietnam Vet myself and a CERT-1 EFT person. I do not use EFT for income as I do not charge for my services. I have worked with civilian and Veteran clients. I have been doing so for 3 years.
I have a question. I was recently talking to an active duty reservist about 27 years old. He has served two duty deployments to Iraq. He commented that the previous night he had drank 3/4 of a fifth of whiskey. We were at the local VFW and he was already on his 3rd whiskey and Sprite in a tall glass. I felt certain he was avoiding war memories by his drinking. My question is this, how would I get to know more to see if EFT might help him? I did not know where to start and maybe it wasn’t the right place or my place to go there anyway at that time.
Thank you for your work and your sharing,
Bill Spiller

Dear Bill,
Thank you for your service and for your willingness to help others with EFT!
I deeply relate to the situation with the 27 year old veteran. I think that this is one of our biggest challenges, and the foundation of EFT4Vets:
EFT doesn’t work, as long as the Veteran doesn’t want to try it. Sound’s like a no-brainer, but it is the deepest problem we have.
This is why I teach about the warrior mindset, and the importance of acknowledgment without judgment.

I know that you as a Veteran do this naturally.
For “outside people”, it is often hard to understand: We need to acknowledge without judgment, condoning or excusing anything (ANYTHING!) that happened, and honor the warrior, welcome him back and take over responsibility for what happened in war.
If someone is drinking heavily – then this is the best he can do at the time. If he was looking for someone to help him, he would say so.
He feels that there is no way that anybody will ever understand or even more – be able too heal what happened.

I don’t have to tell you this, as you have been through more than most civilians yourself, and I respect and honor you very much for this.

I never ask straight forward, personal questions, or share my observations about how someone is doing, as this might feel either intrusive or trigger the “I’m OK” response that they are trained to have.
I’d simply sit with him, acknowledge that he is drinking and confirm that this sometimes is the best we can do.
When we get rapport, I might ask: How long have you been back? (as that’s more distant than “where have you been?) it’s a safer question.
Another question is: “How are your buddies doing?” It might be easier for him to talk about his buddies than about himself.

If the rapport is really good, I’d ask :”Everybody came back?”, and either share my relief or offer my regrets by simply saying “I’m sorry… .”

I then share that my father was a POW, and that I grew up seeing what this did to him. I’d share that he would never allow us to ask questions and he never spoke about it.
This opens another door.
I find that all Veteran honor POWs very much, so there is usually a response that might initiate a small conversation.
Sometimes they share that their father was in the Military, too, or something like that.

Then we have mutual ground.
I always keep language short and don’t intrude. For many Veterans, just talking about something is hard. They are afraid of judgment, afraid to be missunderstood. They don’t want to have to explain themselves.
So I just confirm and acknowledge what they are willing and able to share.

I have seen more than once that, once they understand that I am safe and reliable, they begin to talk. This by itself is powerful and healing, and I listen and confirm.

When the time is right, I share :”You know, there is a new relaxation technique that takes the charge out of nightmares and flashbacks, so Veterans can sleep better. There are no drugs involved, and you can learn how to do this yourself.” I don’t explain much about EFT – it would be too weird in the beginning. If they ask how it works, I tap first, and then explain, meaning I show them exactly how to tap, and after each point I make the comment. This way, they see that it is easy and become curious before they receive an answer.

If this works, then I might tell them to try it with a physical stress symptom. The reason is that I don’t want to open up a “can of worms” on a public area, and I want to demonstrate immediate results. Stay away from tinnitus in the beginning, as this has shown to come back (we don’t know, why yet), and from medical conditions, as they may or may not improve. Rather work with tension in the body, and, after it subsided, ask how he is feeling now. Then point out that feelings and physical symptoms are connected, and so are our thoughts.

Keep it as easy as possible, so that it is comfortable to digest.

With my veterans, I replace the “I deeply and completely accept myself” with “I honor and respect myself”. It is more suitable language for them – it simply makes more sense.

Then see what he wants to do next, and offer to work with him. Don’t wait for him to call you. He won’t, even if this worked for him. Instead try to offer calling him at a specific time (without pushing). Chances are he won’t be there when you call, but calling multiple times will help him understand that you mean what you said when you told him that you care and want to help. For you as a veteran this should be so much easier than for a civilian.
My guys have always told me that they will most likely not pick up the phone, but that I should please keep trying. It is a symptom of PTSD….avoidance…and they have to get over this in their own way.
Don’t push out the time too far, the sooner the better, otherwise their memories overcome them and the “window of opportunity” closes again. I have seen this, and it hurts when it happens.

I hope this helps and makes sense.
Thank you so much for all that you do Bill!
Please let me know how I can support you!

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