The Military Series
Gerald Vest, ACSW, LISW, LMT
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. Read more about Gerald here.
Charles Figley, PhD
Prof. Charles R. Figley, Ph.D., is the Paul Henry Kurzweg, MD Distinguished Chair in Disaster Mental Health and a professor at Tulane University School of Social Work. He is also director of the award-winning Traumatology Institute, which was recognized in 2000 as the best program of its kind by the University of Continuing Education Association. Dr. Figley is Co-Director of the Disaster Resilience Leadership Academy and directs its graduate program, a former Fulbright Fellow and Visiting Distinguished Professor at the Kuwait University.
Dr. Figley is also a psychologist, family therapist, psychoneuroimmunologist, and social work educator and researcher. Most recently he was a professor in the College of Social Work at Florida State University and former director of the PhD program in Marriage and Family.
Dr. Figley is founding editor of the Journal of Traumatic Stress as well as the Journal of Family Psychotherapy and has written more than 200 scholarly works including 22 books. Read more about Charles here.
Larry Decker, PhD
Dr. Larry Decker has been has been a student of universal Sufism for over 40 years and has been treating combat veterans for over 30 years first in the VA and now in private practice as a contract/provider.
He has published numerous articles in several technical/scholarly journals on the treatment of combat PTSD.
Dr. Decker’s book, The Alchemy of Combat, published by Omega Publications has just been released. In this book Larry presents the process of transforming a traumatic disorder into emotional and psychological growth. Read more about Larry here.
Don McCasland, LCSW
Don is a Licensed Social Worker and Certified Clinical Trauma Professional who retired from the US Army after more than 21 years of service, having served in Desert Shield/Desert Storm, as well as 3 Tours in Iraq with the 101st Airborne Division as a Platoon Sergeant.
In 2010 Don co-founded Soldiers And Families Embraced whose mission is to to ease the readjustment and reintegration of all veterans, along with their families, as they return from war.
In addition, Don is a PTSD survivor, and he brings that experience as well as the insights he’s gained, to his clients struggling with PTSD and other forms of trauma. Read more about Don here.
Eric Strom, MSW
Lt. Eric Strom spent 5 years active duty in the US Marine Corps from 1999-2004. In 2009, he received his Masters in Social Work and then in 2010 began serving with the Minnesota Army National Guard as a behavioral health officer. Today, Eric works in private practice in Northern Minnesota, specializing in trauma with veterans. Read more about Eric here.
Rick Bata, LMFT
Rick Bata is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with more than 20 year’s experience in the prevention, intervention, and treatment of domestic violence.
Rick, a Vietnam veteran, is also a Military & Family Life Consultant and Contractor with the Office of the Secretary of Defense and provides coaching, education and support to help families adjust to military life and the deployment cycle(s).
As a trauma specialist, Rick has been providing pro bono services to returning combat veterans dealing with issues of PTSD and Combat related stressors since the onset of the Gulf War.
His current passion is as Visionary and CEO of The Warrior Project of San Jose. Read more about Rick here.
Tom Kavanaugh is an honorably discharged veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, and has a Master’s Degree in Transpersonal Psychology. Tom is a Licensed Master Trainer inPhotoReading Whole Mind System™ as well as in Neuro Linguistic Programming™ (NLP).
Tom has created The R.E.L.E.A.S.E. Method™, a multi-faceted protocol, based upon accelerated learning techniques that release attachment to the effects of Post-Traumatic Stress. Read more about Tom here.
Edward Tick, PhD
Edward Tick, Ph.D. is an internationally recognized transformational healer, psychotherapist, writer and educator. Co-Founder and Executive Director of Soldier’s Heart, he works internationally on the psychospiritual and cross-cultural healing of military and war trauma and on holistic and psycho-spiritual healing.
He was the U.S. Army’s 2012 trainer in the holistic healing of PTSD, training over 2,500 chaplains and officers, and continues to work with the Army and Air Force.
Peter M. Bernstein
Dr. Peter Bernstein is founder and director of the Bernstein Institute for Trauma Treatment in Petaluma, CA. In private practice since 1974, Peter holds a doctorate in clinical psychology as a California licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.
Dr. Bernstein specializes in the field of emotional and physical trauma and is the author of Trauma: Healing the Hidden Epidemic. A veteran of the Vietnam War era, Peter completed advanced infantry training at Fort Ord on the Monterrey peninsula.
The Bernstein Institute offers individual, couples, and group therapy and uses Reichian-Myofascial Release Therapy (RMFR), a unique and proprietary modality developed by Dr. Bernstein for healing trauma, PTS, and other behavioral health issues. Read more about Peter here
Kathy Platoni, Psy.D. COL, US Army
Dr. Kathy Platoni served as a U.S. Army psychologist for more than three decades, doing heavy lifting on behalf of the nation as an expert in combat stress control and war trauma. She served as a volunteer debriefer to the NYPD following the attacks of 9/11, and as an on-the-ground mental health professional for troops in two combat zones during multiple deployments.
She is a survivor of November 2009 Fort Hood Massacre, and has been an outspoken survivors’ advocate since.
As a survivor of the Fort Hood Massacre herself, Dr. Platoni is an outspoken advocate of the declaration of the mass shooting as an act of terrorism. She believes that the wounded and their families should receive benefits long overdue those who continue to suffer from this act of war.
Dr. Kathy Platoni’s mission is to assist those in her care to learn and master those skills and abilities that enable them to reduce their own suffering…from chronic pain, chronic and terminal illnesses, and from any degree of psychological injury and trauma. Read more about Kathy here.
Theresa Larson, PhD
Dr. Theresa Larson received her doctorate in physical therapy from the University of Saint Augustine in San Diego California. She is a former Marine Corps Engineer Officer and Combat Veteran. Theresa played professional softball in Italy as well as semi-professional softball in the United States, was an All- American Division I softball player at Villanova University, as well as a former Body-for-Life Champion.
In addition to being part of the staff at MobilityWOD and an instructor for CrossFit Mobility courses, Dr. Larson’s activities include writing for The Lab, and working on her forthcoming book Warrior.
Theresa has guest coached the special warfare students at CrossFit University of San Diego and has created an adaptive strength class for the wounded warriors from Balboa Naval Hospital, Challenged Athletes Foundation, Team Red White and Blue, and anyone and everyone who has adaptive needs.
Theresa’s mission is to help you “beyond the clinic walls” in your element to achieve your performance goals and tackle the “why” behind your bodies movement inefficiencies! Read more about Theresa here.
Kate Hendricks Thomas, PhD
Dr. Kate Hendricks Thomas is an assistant professor of Health Promotion at Charleston Southern University. She teaches classes on behavioral medicine, program evaluation, and holistic health.
Kate is also an author of the book BRAVE, STRONG, AND TRUE: THE MODERN WARRIOR’S BATTLE FOR BALANCE, a researcher, professional speaker, and yoga instructor who travels the country teaching mental fitness. A former Captain in the Marine Corps, she loves to work with other military veterans.
Kate spends a great deal of time conducting resilient leadership training and is passionate about helping organizations and individuals improve their holistic health, happiness, and quality of life. Read more about Kate here.
Keith Myers, LPC
Keith Myers is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and has been working in clinical mental health for over 13 years. His clinical specialties include trauma, combat-PTSD, Veterans issues, and Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy.
He has published peer-reviewed articles and given presentations on trauma, combat PTSD, and ethical issues. He owns a private practice just north of Atlanta and regularly works with military members and their families, providing therapy advocacy services. He is also an Adjunct Faculty Member with both Argosy University & Mercer University and is a doctoral candidate in Counselor Education & Supervision with Mercer University. Read more about Keith here.
During her work there, she provided yoga therapy for service members in Chronic Pain with PTSD, Traumatic Brain Injury, and more, and successfully incorporated yoga into the clinical hospital setting at Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center at Ft. Gordon, Ga.
She has worked side-by-side and provided yoga-based training to traditional healthcare professionals as well as complementary and alternative providers, teaching asana, pranayama, meditation, mantra, and other yoga and Ayurvedic practices. She is also a Master Practitioner of Thai Yoga Therapy and Massage and somatic-based therapies. Read more about Kim here.
Joe Morgan was a Sergeant for 13 years in the Marine Corps and was on multiple Combat tours. Now he’s helping other veterans manage the transition home through both his Post Combat Normal Podcast and the Failure to Adapt Podcast.
A friend of mine turned me on to Joe’s podcast, and once I realized what he was doing and how he was trying to help other vets, I knew I had to get behind this guy, support him any way I could and invite him on the podcast.
Joe shares just a bit of his experiences in combat, what his transition home was like, and how his struggles during that time inspired him first to get some help, and then to begin helping others with his podcasts. Read more about Joe here.
Sarah Plummer Taylor
Sarah Plummer Taylor, MSW, is a social worker, health coach, and yoga instructor. She is also the author of Just Roll With It: 7 Battle Tested Truths for Building a Resilient Life, and currently sits on the Advisory Board for the University of California San Francisco’s, Next Mission’s Program for Stress, Resiliency, and Post-Traumatic Growth, as well as the Military Advisory Committee for Service Women’s Action Network.
Her current research focuses on reintegration for veterans and holistic wellness, and she is involved with numerous collaborative research projects in these areas.
Sarah teaches and leads wellness retreats in the US and abroad and runs a private Holistic Health Counseling Practice serving military veterans, professional women, and those seeking to improve all aspects of their health.
Glenn Schiraldi, PhD
Dr. Glenn Schiraldi is a graduate of West Point, a Vietnam Vet, and served at the Pentagon where he developed a prototype courses in Stress Management for The Department of The Army.
Glenn has served on the stress management faculties at The Pentagon, The International Critical Incident Stress Foundation, and The University of Maryland, where he received the Outstanding Teacher Award.
Glenn is also author of the new book, The Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Sourcebook, Revised and Expanded Second Edition: A Guide to Healing, Recovery, and Growth. Read more about Glenn here.
Eduardo Duran, PhD is a psychologist and veteran of the US Navy submarine force and he is pretty amazing. He’s one of those individuals that makes you think, “Yes, he’s someone I want working to help people who’ve been traumatized.” Listening to him share his story from novice clinician to learned therapist is nothing short of inspiring. He is one of the first people to write and bring attention to soul wounding also known as historical trauma.
Ed’s therapeutic work includes a healing philosophy that is deeply ingrained in Indigenous worldviews. He travels to many tribal communities all over the world in order to bring awareness and validate Indigenous clinical and research methods. He has authored 3 books and many papers dealing with soul wounding and how western approaches can be enhanced by integrating cultural responsive strategies into our work. Read more about Eduardo here.
Shauna Springer, Ph.D., is the Senior Director of Suicide Prevention and Postvention Initiatives at the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors.
Dr. Springer is a licensed Psychologist with an undergraduate degree from Harvard University and a doctoral degree from the University of Florida.
She has particular expertise in innovative suicide prevention approaches, moral injury, trauma recovery, close relationships, peer support program development, and veterans’ issues, including post-discharge adjustment as well as strategies for engaging Veterans in behavioral health care. Read more about Shauna here.
Edward Tick, Ph.D.
Edward Tick, Ph.D. is an internationally recognized transformational healer, psychotherapist, writer and educator.
Ed has worked internationally on the psychospiritual and cross-cultural healing of military and war trauma and on holistic and psycho-spiritual healing.
He was the co-founder and Executive Director of Soldier’s Heart, which after 13 years, has just closed its door.
He was the U.S. Army’s 2012 trainer in the holistic healing of PTSD, training over 2,500 chaplains and officers, and is the author of six books including the groundbreaking War and the Soul, as well as, Warrior’s Return: Restoring the Soul After War.
Mary Cortani. Operation Freedom Paws
Today, another episode in our Military Series. I’m very excited to be joined by Mary Cortani.
Mary is a Vietnam-era veteran and a Certified Army Master of Canine Education. She’s been training dogs for more than 35 years, starting in the military where she prepared dogs for work in sentry and explosive detection.
In 2010, a former Marine approached Mary seeking assistance in acquiring a service dog to help him overcome anxiety disorders caused by combat hyper-vigilance. The multi-year waiting lists for trained dogs from existing organizations were just one more source of frustration for that returning vet.
Mary knew that she could leverage her extensive dog-training experience to train that vet to train his own service dog. She also realized there are thousands of dogs waiting for loving homes and that many of them have the right temperament for service work. Those factors combined to form a strategy that would dramatically reduce the waiting time.
The approach turned out to do so much more: It gave the vet a sense of mission and purpose, and as the training proceeded, it provided a sense of accomplishment and renewed confidence as well. Thus was born the Operation Freedom Paws (OFP) program, and for Mary, the alignment of her skillset, her capacity as a gifted leader and her life purpose.
Daniel Roberts, PhD. Spiritual Care For Female Veterans
Dr. Daniel Roberts who holds a doctorate of management in organizational leadership is an author and consultant who conducts world-class, women-centered education, research, and advocacy in spiritual leadership and spiritual support.
Daniel has over 15 years of experience in providing emotional and spiritual support to men and women in the armed forces. He also provides training and mentorship to thousands of military chaplains through conferences, classroom instruction, and one-on-one coaching. His students include chaplains from the U.S. Army, Air Force, and Canadian Armed Forces (CAF). Daniel also helped the CAF develop military doctrine for the deployment of chaplains as religious advisers.
Dr. Roberts created the Comprehensive Female Soldier Support Model, a framework of spiritual care for women service members. His current research includes women-centered theory development on spiritual leadership and moral injury. Daniel is also an expert on world religions.
Dr. Roberts’ recent publications include Combating Religiously Influenced Racism in Organizations (SAGE Business Cases), Modifying the Qualitative Delphi Technique to Develop the Female Soldier Support Model (The Qualitative Report), Women and Leadership: Using the Delphi Technique to Effect Organizational Change (SAGE Business Cases), and The Comprehensive Female Soldier Support Model: A Delphi Study (Journal of Health Care Chaplaincy).
Dr. Roberts holds a doctorate of management in organizational leadership from the University of Phoenix, a M.S. in information systems from Strayer University, and a B.A. in management and ethics from John Wesley College.
E. C. Hurley, Ph.D. EMDR, Veterans & A Calling To Heal
Today on the podcast, E.C. Hurley, Ph.D.!
E.C. Hurley, Ph.D. is a leading mental health professional and author who served 30 years in the active duty and Army Reserve. He served as the EMDR Institute’s trainer to the U.S. Army Medical Command for several years.
On retirement from the military E. C. founded SoldierCenter, a community-based treatment center, near Ft Campbell, KY, which specializes in treating military personnel, veterans and their families with a broad range of military-related stressors ranging from acute stress to PTSD.
Following 9-11, as Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom were evolving, E. C. was treating an average of 8 soldiers a day, infantry from the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), a Special Forces Group at Ft Campbell and members of the (Blackhawk down) special operations aviation regiment dealing with combat related issues. At first it was mostly single incident combat trauma, then later complex PTSD as multiple deployments continued.
Looking for an effective treatment for military-related trauma, E. C. was trained in EMDR therapy which became a core treatment for clients seeking treatment at his center, Soldier Center.
C. ‘s military awards include the Meritorious Service Medal (two Oak Leaf clusters), the Bronze Star Medal, the Legion of Merit, and the U.S. Army’s Air Assault badge.