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Service Members and Care Partners

Service Members
& Care Partners

Lone Survivor Foundation provides therapeutic retreats for service members, veterans and their families affected by Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), mild Traumatic Brain Injury, Chronic Pain, and Military Sexual Trauma. In 2017 – 38 retreats for 335 veterans and family members, all at NO COST to them!

The LSF Retreat Program

Lone Survivor Foundation provides therapeutic retreats for service members (both active duty and veterans) from all military branches and service eras, along with their families, who are experiencing symptoms of the following*:

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* A diagnosis or service-connected disability through VA is not required in order to attend an LSF retreat.

The Foundation’s progressive retreat program utilizes a holistic approach to helping the entire family unit – beginning with individual retreats for the service member, veteran and their care partner, followed by a couples retreat and then a family retreat, all at no cost to them.

These retreats provide tools and techniques that are immediately applicable to combat stressors in daily life, allowing the service member, veteran and their family to adjust to their “new normal” following military service. At the end of the retreat program, participants will have been empowered with resources to create plan for continued recovery, their families strengthened, and their sense of hope restored.

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If you are a service member, veteran (or a SM’s friend/family) with an immediate crisis, please contact the Veteran Crisis Line at 800-273-8255, or text 838255 for help (24/7 responses), or visit www.veteranscrisisline.net. For our nationwide Resource List, click here.

Submit your retreat application

Upon receipt of your online application, you will be asked to supply a copy of your DD214 and a signed referral form from a healthcare provider stating that this program is appropriate for you at this point in your recovery process. You will then be contacted by our Behavioral Health Coordinator to discuss more details and to schedule your retreat.

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Retreat Program Progression

At LSF, we know that a service member, veteran’s biggest support network is their family – that is why our program addresses the family as a unit.

Our retreat program begins with an individual retreat for the service member, veteran. For retreat participants with a spouse or significant other, we also offer individual retreats for care partners.

Based on the service member, veteran’s progress and retreat availability, both partners may be invited back to attend a Couples Retreat, usually occurring 6 to 18 months after the Individual Retreat. The focus of this retreat is educating both partners on how best to communicate and support one another, and strengthening the relationship.

Finally, for those who have children, participants may be invited back again in an additional 6 to 18 months for a Family Retreat. This retreat gives the children the opportunity to express their feelings and needs, and provides education for the whole family on how best to communicate and support each other. The goal is to form a more resilient bond between family members, allowing them to move forward together as a cohesive unit. We offer Two Parent and Single Parent Family Retreats.

What Happens At A Retreat

We bring the best licensed mental health providers together under one roof so that our retreat participants can experience highly effective, cutting-edge methods of therapy that aren’t typically available through government programs. The retreats are five days long (typically Thursday through Monday) and are held at our private retreat facility in Crystal Beach on the Bolivar Peninsula of Texas. The retreats are purposely kept small (8-10 participants) so that the clinicians can provide quality individualized care to everyone.

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Retreat Feedback

"For the first in 15 years, I feel like it's ok to finally live again. I owe it to this retreat! Thank you"

"I came to LSF in a very dark area of my life. I had reached out a few weeks prior to my primary resources only to be treated like I didn’t matter. I was at wit’s end. The symptoms I had been experiencing were all new, even though I had been dealing with PTSD for years. The new symptoms were more than I could handle but I hung on a few more days to reach out again for help. Thank God I was able to get relief from my symptoms through the LSF program. I felt as if I had been unstuck. I got what I needed to start moving forward again. From the bottom of my heart, thanks LSF and staff for what you do."

"I made more progress this weekend than I have made in the last 5 years of therapy."

"For the first time since my husband was shot, I truly believed he/we would be, not only ok, but great. Thank you."

"LSF has given our family a new lease on life. We have been given hope for the future, forgiven for the past, and have gained understanding. We are united as one and are now on our way to living a more fulfilled and positive life together!"

"There were things I had been experiencing since combat that I thought were only unique to me. It wasn’t until Lone Survivor Foundation that I found out that there were other veterans with the exact same things I had been experiencing. I am and will be forever grateful to Lone Survivor Foundation and its staff for everything they have done for me and for making me feel like I’m back home again."

"It has given me the quality time I needed to reconnect with my children, understand their concerns, and learn parenting skills I needed to be a better father and positive role model for them! I am forever grateful for people like you, that give back to disabled veterans reaching out for help to better their lives and the lives of their families."

"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."

"Life Changer, after this program I'm recharged and ready."

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

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

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

"Even after our session is over, throughout the day, things just come to you as 'ta-da moments'."

"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."

"I didn’t know what to expect, but I can sum it up easily. In the four days I was with LSF, I felt I made more breakthroughs and realizations about my disabilities than in the three years of therapy at the VA. I made friends and felt a camaraderie I haven’t felt in a long time. THIS PROGRAM WORKS and I hope it will help many other veterans like myself for years to come."

Therapeutic Modalities

EQUINE ASSISTED LEARNING (EAL) USING THE EAGALA METHOD

Equine Assisted Learning (EAL) using the EAGALA method

EAGALA stands for Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association.  EAGALA is a specialized approach to working with horses to achieve emotional health.  All EAGALA activities are unmounted and ground-based so no horse riding experience is required.  Participating in experiential equine learning activities allows each participant to practice dealing with frustration, anger, stress, fear, and relationship problems in real time, creating metaphors that can be applied to real life.  Horses are very intuitive and they can mirror our emotions and responses, which gives us immediate feedback about how we are feeling and interacting.  Through working with the horses, participants often express feeling calmer, having slower heart rate, gaining a sense of connection, and feeling empowered to find their own solutions to life’s challenges.  Retreat participants are invited to experience EAGALA daily at the retreat.  For more information on EAGALA, please visit www.eagala.org.

Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART)

ART is an eye-movement based counseling technique that works to stop distressing images from replaying in a person’s mind.  ART utilizes rapid eye movement(REM) while the participant is awake to control and direct the processing power the brain uses during the deepest phase of sleep, known as REM.  The participant is fully awake and aware during the session.  With the assistance of a trained ART Therapist, a participant will be guided to frame their problem into a scene format and then visualize it in short segments while also working on the images, body sensations and emotions attached to that scene or memory.  In ART we like to say “keep the knowledge, lose the pain.”  At the end of an ART session, most participants report that they no longer see their distressing images, or that the images seem distant or far away.  After ART participants say they can remember the event without experiencing the fear, panic, and distress that once accompanied that scene.  The participant retains the knowledge of the event or memory but can now think of it without experiencing physical or emotional distress.  ART is offered primarily at our individual combat retreats but can also be requested at other retreat types if available.  For more information on ART, please visit www.acceleratedresolutiontherapy.com.

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Neurofeedback

Neurofeedback

Neurofeedback is an advanced form of biofeedback using electroencephalography (EEG) technology.  The human brain is very complex and communicates through electrical patterns and impulses.  An EEG measures brain activity.  By observing brain activity, our neurofeedback providers help our participants understand how their brains are adapting to post-traumatic stress, brain injury, insomnia, chronic pain, and other symptoms. Our brains have an amazing ability to learn new responses if properly trained.  At our retreats, we offer an introduction to brain training with neurofeedback.  One of our trained providers will assist you in understanding your brainwave patterns and how you can train your brain into a healthier state.   This involves hooking up several wires to the head and watching a screen while being given instructions from the provider.  It is a non-invasive technique that can be used for a variety of symptoms.  We offer neurofeedback at most of our individual combat retreats.  Our participants report that understanding how their brain is responding helps them feel validated and gives them hope that they can retrain their brain with the proper support.  For more information on neurofeedback, visit www.eeginfo.com/what-is-neurofeedback.jsp.

Education Classes

Each day of the retreat we offer an educational class focused on the needs of our retreat participants.  Topics generally include things like post-traumatic stress, post-traumatic growth, brain injury, chronic pain, coping skills, and relationship topics for couples retreats.  We also take time to discuss available treatment options for each of those topics.  We customize the class each day for the needs of each retreat attendee.  This is an interactive, discussion-oriented class but it is not a therapy group.  Participants are encouraged to listen and are not required to share unless they desire.  Most participants report that they learned something new about their injuries in the class and that there is a great sense of relief in knowing they are not alone in the symptoms they are facing.

EDUCATION CLASSES
TRAUMA-INFORMED YOGA

Trauma-Informed Yoga

Yoga is a physical, mental, and spiritual practice that originated in India 4,000 years ago.  Yoga is not a religion.  Yoga is a system to develop a mind-body connection allowing you to effectively manage stress, find contentment and compassion, and lead a healthy and happy life.  Yoga is proven to be an excellent practice to manage the symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI).  National Institute of Health studies indicate significantly lower levels of stress, lower blood pressure, and lower levels of cortisol (stress hormone) in people who practice yoga regularly. Here at LSF we utilize “trauma-informed yoga” to help participants find relief from physical and emotional pain.  Trauma-informed yoga utilizes a specially trained instructor to teach a yoga practice that is sensitive to the unique concerns that people with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) experience.  From the set up of the room to the method of teaching from the mat, our instructors are trained to create a yoga space that is safe and comfortable for our participants.  In that space, our instructors guide you through an experience of mindful meditation, mindful movement, and mindful rest (yoga nidra).  Anyone can participate and benefit from the practice of trauma-informed yoga.  At our retreats, we often provide a short morning yoga to help with stiffness and get the day going right, as well as a mindful movement class during the day which can be customized and modified to adapt to any injuries or limitations, and an evening relaxation meditation known as yoga nidra, or yoga sleep.  For more information on trauma-informed yoga, visit www.veteransyogaproject.org.

Alpha-Stim

Alpha-Stim is a Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation device (CES) that is FDA approved to treat anxiety, depression, insomnia, and pain. At our retreat, we have masters level clinicians who have completed certification training on effective use of Alpha-Stim.  We provide an in-depth tutorial on the device and its application as well as instructional sessions on how to properly use the device.  Retreat participants are encouraged to use the device throughout the weekend.  Many take advantage of this opportunity and report that they feel less anxious and that they are sleeping better after use of Alpha-Stim than with any other treatment they have tried. For more information on Alpha-Stim, visit www.alpha-stim.com.

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Creative Arts

Creative Arts

At some of our retreats, we offer a Creative Arts component where participants are invited to express their experience through drawing, painting, and other creative mediums.  Working with your hands to access, release and transform images related to trauma can be very powerful and healing.  In our creative arts groups, a trained Art therapist will lead you through guided art activities.  No artistic ability is required to participate.  Participants often report that seeing all of their art at the end of the retreat is very fulfilling and therapeutic.  For more information about Creative Arts Therapy, visit www.arttherapyblog.com/what-is-art-therapy.

Meet the Retreat Team

Paula Bonebrake

Paula Bonebrake

Program Director

Paula Bonebrake is a Licensed Professional Counselor with a wide range of experience in the mental health field.  She has specialized in providing behavioral health support to military members and…

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Jennifer Street

Jennifer Street

Retreat Team Lead

Jennifer Street, our Houston Based Team Leader, has been in the social service field since 2001 and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. A graduate of both East Tennessee State…

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Kiki Francis

Kiki Francis

Behavioral Health Administration Manager

Kiki is a compassionate, client-centered mental health professional with proven ability to work collaboratively and independently to provide quality services to at-risk populations. She has over 5 years of experience…

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Terry Hamby

Terry Hamby

Program Coordinator

Terry is a husband, father and Retired Marine Sergeant with eight years of active duty. With three combat deployments, Terry is able to identify with Veterans dealing with PTSD and…

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