Fort Campbell, KY – The Fort Campbell Soldier Recovery Unit has begun a new pilot program for the Army Recovery Care Program, highlighting post-traumatic growth and positive growth through struggle.
“Post-traumatic growth is a positive psychological change following a traumatic or stressful event, and the training largely focuses on these ideas,” said Amanda Miller, Adaptive Reconditioning Branch Chief for the ARCP.
She said that the pilot program focuses on bouncing back from traumatic events and excelling in life afterwards.
“It really hits home that a particular traumatic event should not be defining your life in a negative way, it should be taking this event and using it to actually struggle well, learn how to succeed, and really thrive,” Miller said, also noting that the cadre and leadership of the SRU had given very positive feedback after undergoing the training.
Laura Williams, social work supervisor for the SRU, participated in the pilot and described the program succinctly as a “Nonclinical training to teach Soldiers how to live their life after adverse experiences.”
The first two days of the program were for SRU staff, giving them firsthand experience and an idea of what wider program adoption may entail in the ARCP, the Army’s comprehensive program of medical care, rehabilitation, professional development, and achievement of personal goals for wounded, ill and injured Soldiers. Williams said that she believes that Fort Campbell SRU was chosen for a variety of reasons.
“We are one of the largest and we like to do innovative things, and really try to expand what the Soldier Recovery Unit is all about,” said Williams. The post traumatic growth training consists of both a classroom and activity portion for experiential learning.
Krista Argiolas, Behavioral Health Consultant for the ARCP, said she observed the Fort Campbell participants were engaged and approaching the training very intentionally.
“I would say it’s working even better than we anticipated,” said Argiolas, emphasizing concepts from the training would hopefully affect participants personally and they would be able to incorporate them organizationally in the long-term.
One participant said that he enjoyed the training and praised its strengths-based approach.
“It really is good for us to reorient the way we as a society look at trauma,” said 1st Lt. Trevor Rice, a social work intern with BACH’s Family Advocacy Program and a former infantry officer.
Rice said that he also appreciated that the facilitators were excellent and open with their stories of struggle with a focus on bettering oneself, “Our trauma can make us stronger and not weaker.”
Drawing from his infantry experience, Rice said a perceived stigma may be part of what keeps Soldiers from seeking out mental health treatment.
“What I think this training addresses so well is it doesn’t waste any time telling people that they’re broken or less-than. The training gave participants the tools to translate their experience into a stronger life,” said Rice