There a lack of services for the families of veterans. The majority of existing, established services are aimed at veterans and even these, as has been proven, are insufficient. They Were Families: How War Comes Home is being developed to bridge this chasm. In the meanwhile some external outlets can be recommended and I can provide enormous encouragement for how to cultivate internal respite, a process to taking time for oneself to heal. To find resources where you are there is a requirement for quiet space and sufficient time to sort through your feelings and identify your specific needs and those of your family members. You may well need an ally in this process such as a friend, counselor, therapist or spiritual mentor. This is precisely what respite will provide. Internal resources of creativity evolve when you are safe to be creative, expressive; and let your feelings have safe outlet. Churches, spiritual and religious organizations frequently have programs to develop creative outlets as do local community colleges, recreation centers and educational institutions. Individual counselors can sometimes help you network what may seem like the daunting challenge of reaching out for help. Future blogs will identify specific resources that you can apply individually or in groups that you may join or perhaps even create in your local area. I also want to refer readers to Veterans Families United, an organization I helped to found with Cynde Collins-Clark, LPC, and the mother of OIF veteran Joe Collins. Joe has written a brochure that is available from VFU that prepares both partners and veterans for the PTSD/combat shock experience (The Endless Journey Home). The booklet is available from VFU. VFU has the express purpose of supporting the families of veterans. This organization can help you wade through the steps of getting support from, for instance, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Cynde Collins-Clark and I have developed a new vision of transition that includes families that is presented in They Were Families: How War Comes Home (New Forums Press, 2016). Another organization that I recommend is Soldier’s Heart developed by my friend and colleague Ed Tick and his wife Kate Dahlstadt. Soldier’s Heart addresses the emotional, moral and spiritual wounds of veterans and their family members through workshops and literature. Workshops are held throughout the country and are themselves experiences of respite. Partners of veterans are speaking out in a variety of ways. They are breaking the silence and ending the shame that is not theirs through blogs and by writing books and articles. Websites appear that sponsor these outlets such as the Family of a Vet blog. This site originated when the partner of a veteran with PTSD and TBI (traumatic brain injury) decided to reach out and create a forum for life after combat.
Dr. Stephanie Mines is a psychologist whose unique understanding comes from her academic research as well as her extensive work in the field. Her stories of personal transformation have led many listeners to become deeply committed to the healing journey. Dr. Mines understands shock from every conceivable perspective. She has investigated it as a survivor, a professional, a healthcare provider, and as a trainer of staffs of institutions and agencies.Meet Stephanie.