Lone Survivor Foundation Therapeutic Retreats

Lone Survivor Foundation is committed to providing support to service members/veterans from all military branches who are challenged with injuries such as:

• Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS)
• Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI)
• Chronic Pain
• Military Sexual Trauma (MST)
• Care Partner Stress
• Compound Trauma from Military and Law Enforcement or First Responder Service

These painful injuries have devastating effects on the individual as well as their family. LSF’s goal is to support both the individual and the family through education, coping skills and reducing symptoms of stress. To that end, LSF conducts retreats with a focus on wellness and therapeutic support. Retreats are conducted year-round over a five-day period at scenic facilities, allowing ample opportunity for the healing effect of nature and relaxation.

We host various types of retreats to meet the specific needs of the populations we serve, with the goal of introducing tools for moving forward successfully. Our retreat types include:

• Individuals

» Service Members

» Care Partners

» Military Sexual Trauma – female

» Military Sexual Trauma – male

» Pre-9/11

» Veteran Law Enforcement Officers

» Veteran First Responders (Firefighters & EMS)

• Couples

• Families

» Single Parent Families

 

Our retreats emphasize the use of Equine Assisted Learning (EAL) using the EAGALA model, neurofeedback, combat trauma specific yoga, and other cutting edge modalities geared toward improving quality of life.

 

Retreat Feedback

At the end of each retreat, attendees are given the opportunity to give feedback on their experience, allowing us to make our program better and more effective. Below are a few of the comments provided by service members and veterans who have attended our therapeutic retreats.

“There were many things revealed in each session. I appreciate being more connected with my wife and hearing what I can do to remain connected and communicating.”


“Even after our session is over, throughout the day, things just come to you as ‘ta-da moments’.”


“I was able to address a situation that has been bothering and haunting me for 9 years.”


“I recommend this program to everyone, because if it worked for me, it can work for anyone.”


“This program saved my life, I had no other choices.”


“Life Changer, after this program I’m recharged and ready.”


“I do appreciate LSF and what you all do. I finally felt that I met people I could connect with during the retreat last year. And in my situation that is difficult to do.”

When and Where

Lone Survivor Foundation Retreats are held on a weekly basis throughout the year and at a variety of locations across the country. The first step to attending a retreat is to complete our application. When an application is received, the applicant will be contacted for a phone interview. After the application process is completed and the applicant is approved to attend, an appropriate date and location for retreat attendance will be set.

Our retreats are typically held from Thursday to Monday. LSF covers travel and expenses during the retreat.

What happens at the retreat?

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Psychoeducational Groups

Psychoeducational group work provides an increased understanding and insight into invisible injuries. Group processes help examine best practice treatments and options available to service members and their families. Strengthening knowledge and understanding of the injuries helps in developing more effective coping strategies.

Individual Sessions

Individual sessions are focused and tailored to the needs identified by each participant. This provides an excellent opportunity to develop a plan for addressing areas of need and providing tools and resources. Brief stress reduction exercises and techniques are utilized to assist in alleviating symptoms of trauma and pain.

Equine Assisted Learning (EAL) using the EAGALA method

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Equine Assisted Learning (EAL) utilizes unmounted activities with horses to provide metaphorical learning experiences. This is not a horsemanship or riding program. Participating in EAL activities allows the individual to practice dealing with frustration, anger, stress, fear and relationship problems in real time, creating metaphors to situations found in “regular” life. Horses mirror the participant’s emotions and responses, which provides instantaneous feedback. This allows participants and the Equine Team to “see” where the problems are and find solutions that work. Participants quickly recognize unhealthy patterns, acknowledge their personal strengths and enact new behaviors.

 

Retreat Outcome Measures:

During each retreat, pre and post assessments are given to each participant using the PCL-5. The PCL-5 is a 20-item self-report measure that assesses the 20 DSM-5 symptoms of PTSD. The PCL-5 has a variety of purposes including monitoring symptoms change during and after treatment, screening individuals for PTSD, making provisional PTSD diagnosis.

The PCL-5 can be scored to provide a provisional PTSD diagnosis and to monitor change in symptoms. The minimum score is 0 and the maximum score is 80.

The post-retreat PCL-5 outcome results reflect very positive growth, reduction in stress, and an increased sense of well-being, and post-traumatic growth. As an example, the chart below represents outcome measures for a 2016 LSF veteran retreat. A reduction of 5 points has been suggested to reflect a reliable reduction in symptoms, meaning the change is not caused by chance. A 10-20 point reduction reflects significant change.

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