VA offering program to help veterans, significant others

Becky Campbell • Sep 4, 2018 at 7:36 PM

When veterans return from military service, there is often a divide between them and their loved ones as the veteran processes his or her experiences.

The Veterans Affairs Medical Center at Mountain Home recently started a program, called Warriors to Soul Mate, for veterans and their significant others that helps them reconnect.

“This program, run by the chaplain’s office in cooperation with mental health, offers an effective way to positively impact veterans’ relationships, in turn helping their overall health and well-being. W2SM is not ‘couples therapy,’ but a practical educational program for couples that helps develop skills for deepening their relationships and working through conflict and difficulties,” Brian Miller, the VA’s staff chaplain, said.

The program uses the Practical Application of Intimate Relationship Skills curriculum, described on the nonprofit organization’s website as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charity that teaches the “attitudes, emotional understandings, and behaviors that nurture and sustain healthy relationships and to make this knowledge broadly available on behalf of a safer, saner, more loving world.”

“This program provides hope and renewal to relationships, providing a safe and healing environment for veterans to renew and reconnect with their significant other through the teaching of vital relationship skills,” Miller said. He said recent participants have had positive responses to the weekend-long event.

“These two sessions had a profound impact upon me and provided something that I can use, not only in my marriage, but in all my relationships, to better communicate and participate in more consciously, compassionately, empathically,” one veteran participant said.

The workshops are scheduled through the VA’s chaplain, with the next one set for Sept. 15-16. For more information, call 423-926-1171, ext. 2485.

“These workshops are important because they assist veterans with their relationships,” Miller said. “There is clear evidence that healthy relationships decrease episodes of stress-related illnesses, divorce, mental health issues, abuse, addictions — the list goes on. These are concerns that we work to address with our veterans in ways they may not have considered before. Our mission is to provide them the tools they need to have healthy relationships and healthier lives overall.”


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