Welcome Home Vets Treatment Methods
Evolving Toward a Recovery-Oriented Mental Health Model
Welcome Home Vets contracts with local psychotherapists who are experienced in military culture and in treating combat-related trauma. Our psychotherapists provide individual, group, couples and family therapy to veterans and their families at no cost.
Welcome Home vets also trains and supervises peer group facilitators to lead peer support groups for veterans and family members. Peer support provides opportunities for "bearing witness," a practice that allows the speaker and listeners to establish new connections while validating the idea that recovery is possible. Peer facilitators are veterans and veteran family members who have either undergone psychotherapy or are currently in treatment.
With the addition of peer support groups, Welcome Home Vets' therapeutic approach is evolving toward a recovery-oriented model of treatment for veterans and their families.
"In the model, recovery refers to both internal conditions experienced by persons who describe themselves as being in recovery—hope, healing, empowerment, and connection—and external conditions that facilitate recovery—implementation of the principle of human rights, a positive culture of healing, and recovery-oriented services," writes Dr. Nora Jacobson and Diane Greenley, M.S.W, J.D. , in "What is Recovery? A Conceptual Model and Explication" published in the journal Psychiatric Services.
"The aim of the model is to link the abstract concepts that define recovery with specific strategies that systems, agencies, and individuals can use to facilitate it."
Welcome Home Vets therapists and peer group facilitators focus on developing resilience and responsibility for themselves while promoting recovery from related syndromes, such as codependency, anxiety and depression.
Unlike traditional group therapy, in which a veteran attends group therapy week after week, sometimes for an indefinite period of time, the recovery model focuses on strengthening and empowering the individual and the family to have greater control and choice in their treatment and to "recover" in a healthy manner.
The aim is for the veteran and family member to assume more and more responsibility for him- or herself. Responsibilities include developing goals; working with a therapist; engaging with a peer group, family and friends to reach goals; making decisions; and engaging in self-care.
Under the conventional model of therapy, treatment termination is often initiated by the veteran, who, simply drops out--not a healthy way to end therapy. However, peer group counseling provides a “back door” for the veteran, enabling him or her to see beyond simply alleviating his or her post traumatic stress symptoms to envision a fuller return to the community.
Thus, moving from group therapy with a licensed therapist to a peer-led group, the veteran is one step closer to recovery. The recovery model enables, the veteran to see progress in regaining a richer life. Once the veteran has taken that step and is comfortable, he or she can begin to focus on giving back to the community.
Group therapy can offer insights that you may be too close to your situation to see. By providing a sounding board, the group can offer a wider range of perspectives on how you come across. Groups can also teach you about yourself: feedback from group members serves as a mirror that enables you to see yourself through their eyes. It's a way of uncovering blind spots that may be blocking your ability to overcome your issues.