November 8, 2017 Webinar Announcement - Patient Care Services
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November 8, 2017 Webinar Announcement

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Vets and Friends Retreats: A Unique Team/Retreat Approach
to Post-traumatic Growth

Link to Webinar Recording

Download Presentation PDF

Originally broadcast November 8, 2017


Researchers and Retreat team trainers will introduce participants to some of the promising results that have emerged from the five past retreats and the research interviews with trainers and support group leaders on the unique “Vets and Friends Retreat Team Approach to Veteran Support and Post-traumatic Growth.” Content includes Retreat Wellness and Group Meeting Safety Guidelines, how teams get the ball rolling with bank shots and the safety afforded by diversity, time and distance. The material in this presentation has application for clergy who want to improve individual or group spiritual support for veterans, families and friends (civilians included) who struggle with post-traumatic stress injuries and their ripple effects.

Learning Objectives

Following the webinar, participants will be able to:

  1. Explain how diversity, time and distance contribute as safety factors at retreats and be able to give one application of how each one applies to your own work.
  2. Understand team bank shots and give two examples of how they could be employed in your work.
  3. Name two Retreat Wellness Guidelines and two Group Meeting Safety Guidelines and apply the guidelines to your work.
  4. Give two examples of how post-traumatic growth occurs and apply those examples to one's own work setting.

Your Presenters

John Shelton, (Ret., LADC) served as a Substance Abuse Counselor. John worked with Linda Atkinson and John Sippola to develop a Team Approach to Relapse Treatment and Aftercare at Miller-Dwan Medical Center. In 2014 they reconnected and recruited other trainers who have helped them create the Vets and Friends Retreat Team Approach to Support Group Development.

Linda Atkinson, (LADC) served on Relapse Treatment/Aftercare Development Team with John Shelton and John Sippola. Linda’s energy, perspective and input have been essential in the formation of the Vets and Friends Retreat Team Approach. Linda’s background also includes: Northland Center Men’s Intensive Unit for Substance Abuse and Mental Health. Lead Counselor Family Education, Grief Groups and Cognitive Therapy.

John Sippola (M. Div., APC BCCI, Ret. – Chaplain, LTC, MNARNG), is the Executive Director, Welcome Them Home – Help Them Heal nonprofit and co-author of Welcome Them Home – Help Them Heal (Benjamin Franklin Award 2010). John has served as the Director of Spiritual Care and Clinical Chaplain at Miller-Dwan Medical Center, a Family Assistance Chaplain (First Gulf War), the Minnesota State Family Assistance Chaplain and as a Parish Pastor for 25 years. He served with John Shelton and Linda Atkinson at Miller-Dwan on Relapse Treatment and Aftercare Development Team, John and Linda reunited with him in 2014, and since then they have recruited 10 other trainers who volunteer their time and energies at Vets and Friends Retreats and assist in training group leader teams for Vets and Friends Support groups. John and Sarah have been collaborating on Vets and Friends Research since 2015.


Official Seal of the Department of Veterans Affairs

The "Community Clergy Training to Support Rural Veterans Mental Health" Promising Practice is funded by the VA Office of Rural Health.