Veteran’s Day provides us with an opportunity to place a renewed emphasis on our nation’s veterans, as they heal and transition in the aftermath of 15 years of war. It is estimated that more than 700,000 post-9/11 combat veterans are battling post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD); as evidenced by a suicide rate of 20 per day, a number that has grown every year since 2002, it is clear that the current approaches are not working.
In August 2015, the Journal of the American Medical Association declared that “new innovative and engaging approaches for the treatment of PTSD are needed.” Boulder Crest Retreat for Military and Veteran Wellness is embracing this challenge through the development and delivery of Warrior PATHH (Progressive and Alternative Training for Healing Heroes), a new and innovative approach that should be scaled across this country.
“Our first-in-the-nation status provides us with a unique responsibility and opportunity,” said Ken Falke, Boulder Crest Retreat’s chairman and founder. “We have spent the past three years working on a new, innovative and effective approach to PTSD that allows combat veterans to thrive in the aftermath of war, and be as productive at home as they were on the battlefield.”
Warrior PATHH is an 18-month program that begins with a 7-day immersive and intensive training program in Bluemont, Virginia. The program includes a range of Warrior-oriented, proven posttraumatic growth-based modalities. Warrior PATHH focuses on helping veterans make peace with their past, learn to live in the present, and begin to create a new story about a life of service at home. The 18-month journey is supported through video conferences, phone calls and a leading-edge technology platform, MY PATHH. Warrior PATHH is a collaboration with Dr. Richard Tedeschi, the “father” of Posttraumatic Growth (PTG). For more than three decades, Dr. Tedeschi has researched and written many articles and books on the well-established and well-regarded science of PTG.
Dr. Tedeschi noted, “Boulder Crest Retreat’s Warrior PATHH program facilitates posttraumatic growth through an intensive program that is based on well-validated concepts supported by years of research studies of military service members and other trauma survivors.”
Dr. Tedeschi and Dr. Bret Moore, a former Army psychologist who served two tours in Iraq, are halfway through an 18-month comprehensive program evaluation study, assessing the impact of Warrior PATHH across three critical areas – symptom reduction, quality of life improvement and posttraumatic growth experienced.
Based on his in-person observations of the program, Dr. Moore noted that, “In just two days, Warrior PATHH achieves breakthroughs that would take the traditional medical model 12 months.”
Scaling Warrior PATHH begins with an 18-month study and with the creation of the nation’s first-ever curriculum for cultivating and facilitating posttraumatic growth in combat veterans. “We seldom see and desperately need the strengths, skills and abilities of combat veterans here at home,” said Josh Goldberg, Boulder Crest Retreat’s director of strategy. “Warrior PATHH ensures that these remarkable men and women can transform times of deep struggle into profound strength and lifelong growth, and live the lives they deserve – full of passion, purpose and service – here at home.”
In recognition of the plans to scale Warrior PATHH, and the progress made to date, Boulder Crest Retreat has partnered with Martin Papazian, the director, writer and actor behind Least Among Saints and the upcoming film Losing in Love, scheduled to be released spring 2017. Martin volunteered his time to help write, direct and act in a video about Warrior PATHH.
“It is a privilege to partner with Boulder Crest Retreat and create this video that speaks to both the hardships faced by combat veterans and their value here at home,” said Martin Papazian. “Warrior PATHH provides hope, opportunity, and the chance for the most deserving among us to live the lives they deserve.”
Falke added, “Martin’s ability to tell a story in a compelling and comprehensive manner ensures that my brothers and sisters know that the life they seek awaits them, and that there is an approach that works. This approach – Warrior PATHH – is developed by and for combat veterans.”
For more information about Boulder Crest Retreat, please visit http://www.bouldercrestretreat.org.