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New Breed Of Counselors Deals With Veterans' Ptsd


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New Breed Of Counselors Deals With Veterans' PTSD

By RINKER BUCK - The Hartford Courant - 2/23/09 - Link To Story

Jay White spent his first day in Baghdad in 2003 camping beside a dead U.S. Army soldier in a body bag.

In a very real sense, this would determine his career, an increasingly important one as the United States sends more troops to Afghanistan.

Trained as a mental health specialist at Fort Sam Houston in Texas, White has experienced the horrors of war during two tours in Iraq. This has prepared him to counsel soldiers who can't forget, or cope with, their own horrific experiences in Afghanistan and Iraq.

White, 37, of Cromwell, is an outreach counselor at the Hartford Vet Center in Rocky Hill. He is a member of a new breed of counselors hired by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in an attempt to avoid the Vietnam-era mistake of ignoring post-traumatic stress disorder and other readjustment problems experienced by soldiers returning from war zones. He was hired in 2004, one of about 50 counselors recruited because they had served in Iraq.

In addition to counseling sessions, White has inspired the formation of a unique group of veterans. These men tour the state addressing police departments, college administrators and social service agencies on the hazards of post-traumatic stress disorder, and what can happen when society fails to recognize the symptoms of soldiers returning from combat with hair-trigger emotions and an inability to cope with the everyday challenges of civilian life.

But even as he maintained a busy schedule of counseling veterans in one-on-one sessions in his office, White became aware that many soldiers were falling through the cracks, reluctant, for various reasons, to seek traditional counseling.

So he developed a less traditional course of treatment.

"We recognized that these guys were returning from Iraq and drinking heavily together because they wanted to talk about their experiences over there," White said. "But all of this was happening in bars in downtown Hartford. So, if they felt comfortable together, and this was where the group was already happening, why not replicate that in an environment where they were sober?"

White began scheduling group outings with veterans that included trips to baseball games, kayaking weekends and rounds of golf, encouraging veterans to bring their friends and break down the barriers to counseling.

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Just like I said in the other post....this is great news for male combat vets and I'm happy for them.

Now, what about women vets with MST PTSD? Once again the VA forgets about us...like we don't exist...where are our special counselors??? It's been 15 years and I've yet to see any special female MST PTSD counselor's for women vets. It's a damn shame.

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this will be a big help i believe to all combat veterans male or female. i've seen some really good counselors who specialize in ptsd, i've met several women who were there for mst, they've all been pretty happy with their counselor, finding group therapy though was difficult for most of them, they didn't fit into the combat groups, and thank goodness at that time there were hardly enough mst women to form a group, let alone out of that small number even less wanted to go to group and none wanted to go to a co-ed group.

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Precisely why the VA needs to out-source all MST PTSD care for women vets until they (the VA) is willing and able to handle to our needs....whether it be a group of 2 or a group of 20. The group size shouldn't matter. That's the excuse I'm getting from Dayton now...that there isn't enough women for a "good size" MST PTSD group. OMG....you would think that's a good thing!!!

They really don't get it.

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Just like I said in the other post....this is great news for male combat vets and I'm happy for them.

Now, what about women vets with MST PTSD? Once again the VA forgets about us...like we don't exist...where are our special counselors??? It's been 15 years and I've yet to see any special female MST PTSD counselor's for women vets. It's a damn shame.

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