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Gerald W. Vest, ACSW, LISW, LMT is a military OneSource and TRICARE provider for individual, couples, and families. He supervises students and professionals for licensing requirements. In addition, he is an organizer, consultant, and trainer for the Community Integrative Health Collaboratives which serves warriors and veterans and their families, utilizing integrative and holistic approaches to healing.

Recently, Gerald served as a Senior Social Worker for the premier US Army Warrior Restoration and Resilience Center (R and R Center), Ft. Bliss, TX, where his responsibilities included meeting with soldiers diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress (PTSd), as a primary therapist, along with their children and families.

The Quote

Gerald shares how he was inspired by the wonderful work of both Tarthang Tulku Rimpoche and Claudio Naranjo, MD.

What Led to the Specialization of Trauma?

Gerald talks about being called to work in the field of trauma and how he feels a spiritual connection when working with those who are suffering the most, individuals who are in prison and hospitals.

A Crucial Early Mistake

Gerald shares an early, exasperating experience he had with a client he had been working with for several years, one who apparently wasn’t “improving.”  Gerald had bailed his client out of prison several times, but it was only when he finally “gave up” on him and told him, “That’s it, until you get cleaned up, I can’t work with you,” that the client was able to turn things around.

Gerald’s Why

Trauma work is in Gerald’s blood. You can hear it in this interview. Gerald shares how from a very early age he’s been drawn to helping individuals who are suffering, and especially drawn to helping veterans.

Gerald’s Advice

  • You have to “walk the talk.” Get a self-care plan and do the work on yourself first, otherwise you will not be trusted by your clients.
  • Be willing to learn from the veterans you are treating. Listen to them, they know what is wrong with themselves. They will tell you.
  • “Get trained in every system: body, mind and spirit.”

Two go-to books

Interview Links

Susan Pease Banitt, LCSW
Mary Sise, LCSW, DCEP

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