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Field director learns how to reconnect US service members with life back home

Judith Sevel

Judith Sevel

Judith Sevel, a mental health disaster volunteer and the director of Field Education at Illinois State University, above left, attended the two-day training Reconnection Workshops through the American Red Cross in Washington, D.C.

The program’s focus is to assist service members and their families to ease the transition home after deployment.

The Reconnection Workshops focus on individual and small-group interactions that enhance the likelihood of successful re-engagement of service members into civilian life. The workshops cover a number of topics, including communicating clearly, exploring stress and trauma, identifying depression, relating to children, and working through anger.

While there, all participants were introduced to life in the military and the unique issues that arise during all phases of deployment. During the practice sessions, Sevel co-facilitated the “working through anger” training with another mental health professional. Other participants role-played, allowing her to practice the skills she had learned in a real-life setting. The training sessions are meant not to provide psychological and behavioral treatment, but to offer a safe place to listen and to help the group participants understand how they manage the changes in themselves and their loved ones.

Now that Sevel is trained as a facilitator, she can be called upon by any military affiliated group requesting such a service. If you or someone you know may be interested in these workshops, contact the American Red Cross in your area.