The Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center Warrior Combat Stress Reset Program celebrated its fifth anniversary of helping soldiers overcome post-traumatic stress with a small graduation ceremony and party on Aug. 15 at the Reset Center.
The ceremony itself was small, but the reset program has served 850 soldiers to date, said Dr. Jerry Wesch, psychologist and director of the program.
“Our results have gotten better every year in terms of reducing PTSD symptoms, depression and anxiety,” Wesch said. “We have gotten better at selecting soldiers who are ready for the intense work that we ask of them. The data says we have had somewhat more severe PTSD symptoms in our soldiers but they get more improvement.”
Wesch said the methodology the program uses is what makes it so successful.
“We approach the problem of PTSD from as many aspects as possible, using a phased approach that starts with reducing hyper-arousal and reducing chronic pain/headache. Then we use a synergy of trauma-focused psychological therapies and complementary and alternative modalities. The holistic approach allows us to address all facets of the PTSD symptom picture. The synergistic approach is what gives us the power to produce the exceptional healing results,” he said.
The average group size is 12, and the program lasts three weeks. Soldiers who participate usually find the results and benefits are even better than they expected.
Soldiers are chosen to participate in a wide variety of ways, Wesch said.
“We accept soldiers from a wide range of sources — including self-referral. Our usual referrals come from other behavioral health clinics, chaplains, the Warrior Transition Brigade, drug and alcohol programs, commanders and our own graduates,” he said. “We evaluate soldiers carefully so that we can ensure their success. We often have soldiers walk in ... and pick up information.”