Trauma Resiliency Model, Veteran and Warrior
“This is the first time in over 40 years that I finally understand my symptoms.” Vietnam Veteran
“These are skills that I can use for myself everyday. My life has changed and I feel more like myself for the first time in a very long time.” Iraq Veteran
TRM-V&W explores the biology of fear and threat and the automatic, natural defensive responses that occur when faced with a life-threatening and/or dangerous situation. Most importantly, this model explores the concept of resiliency and how to restore balance to the body and the mind after military and/or combat trauma. When the focus is on normal biological responses to extraordinary events, there is a paradigm shift from symptoms being described as biological rather than as pathological or as mental weakness. As traumatic stress symptoms are normalized, feelings of shame and self-blame are reduced or eliminated. Symptoms are viewed as the body’s attempt to re-establish balance to the nervous system.
TRM-V&W has been designed as both a trauma reprocessing treatment model as well as a self-care model. The nervous system is re-set or rebalanced through a skills-based approach that can be learned and practiced independently. The skills help develop a sense of personal mastery and self-management over intense physical and emotional states. Warriors and Veterans often report a renewed sense of hope as the activities of daily living become easier to manage as TRM-V&W skills are incorporated into life as a wellness practice.
Traditional talk therapy primarily focuses on changing limiting beliefs leading to insight and problem solving strategies. While this is helpful, recent neuroscience research indicates that the part of the brain responding to traumatic events does not benefit from verbal processing or introspection. Thus there is a need for a stabilization model that focuses on sensations associated with internal resiliency. The skills can be a stand-alone intervention but they can also be integrated into other treatment modalities.
TRM-V&W interweaves salient issues important to clinical understanding of working with active duty service members, veterans and their families. Active duty service members and veterans have consulted with TRI with regard to military culture in order to enhance the learning experience.
TRM-V&W is offered in a Level 1 and Level 2 format of 3-days each. TRM, V&W can be a useful training not only for clinicians but for case managers, outreach workers, chaplains, ministers, peer support workers, doctors, nurses, teachers, family members and others who work with combat and military veterans, active duty service members and families. Training integrates didactic, experiential exercises and daily practice sessions for skill development. Case consultation is recommended for 3-6 months following training to anchor skills as trainees are actively using TRM-V&W.
The Department of Defense named TRM, V&W a promising practice in a paper that was published in March 2011. Trainings have been sponsored by the Bethesda Naval Center PTSD Unit, the VA, Sepulveda, Department of Veteran Affairs, and San Bernardino County. TRM’s effectiveness is currently being researched by Walter Reed Medical Center.