Texas for Heroes, Inc. hosts weekend retreats for veterans diagnosed with PTSD, or that might be suffering from traumatic stress problems. During the weekend, veterans (and their spouses at couples retreats) learn about the cause and effect and treatment of post-traumatic stress from coaches and they listen and talk about their personal struggle with PTSD. Thru open and caring conversation, vets share their stories and explore coping strategies with other vets and trained coaches. The weekend “journey” aims to help veterans heal and find peace after the war experiences that have kept them from coming home in the truest sense.
What to Expect
Weekend retreats begin with a short “greet and meet” on Friday evening, devoted to making participants feel at ease, and is followed by a review of the program agenda. Finally, the program facilitators and participants make a pledge of confidentiality to each other as recognition of their responsibility to keep what they hear private.
On Saturday, the facilitators start off by sharing their personal experiences with trauma and how it has affected them. Through this exercise, participating veterans will be able to identify the similarities with their own experiences, and come to the realization that they are not alone in their struggles with trauma. The remainder of the day and evening will be dedicated to participants taking as much time as they need to tell their stories, followed by an exercise in which trained coaches will guide participants through a safely devised process of trauma event re-creation and psychodrama. The theory of the exercise being— the brain does not have the ability to distinguish between reality, and the re-creation of a trauma and the process will stimulate positive change by a release of trauma.
Finally, on Sunday, a summary on the lessons learned and effects of trauma will be given, including an overview of the healing process. Participants will be given information on VA benefits and health programs, along with other available resources. The program ends with a graduation ceremony conducted in the afternoon where veterans will be joined by their families and friends, coaches, volunteers and people from the community to honor them for their services. Participants will also have the opportunity to share the impact of their weekend experience.