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‘Once a Soldier always a Soldier’ – (What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger…)

Once a Soldier always a Soldier

The idea that adverse events can lead to Post Traumatic Stress (PTS) and that PTS can then be used to ‘drive’ positive changes was initially researched in the late 1980’s but tended to be overlooked – as post-traumatic stress was attracting all the interest.  The Veteran’s Counselling Services’ (VCS) philosophy has always reflected this theory of ‘what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger’.  VCS’s counsellor Kevin Spruce, is a veteran of Northern Ireland and the Falklands War and is a qualified counsellor, qualifying at Keele University BA (Hons) Psychology; MSc Counselling Psychology. In this article he discusses PTS and the ways in which he works with Veterans.

Psychological researchers are beginning to realise that post-traumatic stress (PTS) can be the driving engine to post traumatic growth (The Psychologist, Nov 2012). 

Terry Waite, who was kept for four years in solitary confinement as a hostage, stated:

“Suffering is universal: you attempt to subvert it so that it does not have a destructive, negative affect.  You turn it around so that it becomes a creative positive force” (quoted in Joseph, 2012, p. 143). 

Kevin has overcome his own demons by directing his PTS to PTS growth, which then became positive driving forces in his life.  He has a deep and personal understanding of veteran’s issues and issues that are faced by serving personnel, who are about to leave the services.  Kevin has used his unique insight and understanding to assist many veterans and serving personnel to manage their fear of the unknown and their anxieties of the known. 

Kevin’s work with veterans has assisted him in developing a workshop to assist professionals that work alongside of veterans, enabling them to gain a better insight and understanding into the veteran’s ‘ways’ of being and thinking.  The British Psychological Society’s National Annual Conference in 2013 has accepted this workshop, and it will be presented to professionals and academics that have interests in the well-being of veterans.  Kevin and his colleague Dr David Jackson (also a veteran) have worked hard in getting this idea accepted.  Kevin and David have also been asked to present a Poster Display at the British Psychological Society’s Serving Soldier and Veteran Well-being Conference in November 2012.  This conference is aimed at veterans and professionals who work with veterans.

When you attend Kevin’s counselling practice at The Hope Street Centre, Sandbach it will be YOU that is the expert…it is YOU that decides what YOU talk about…and it is YOU who decides when YOU talk about it.  You will receive understanding and trust of a fellow veteran along with his unique insight and experiences.  Kevin offers his knowledge and expertise as support to help you reduce your issues to manageable levels (levels that you set).  What has happened cannot be changed – no matter what we tell ourselves, or what others tell us – but what can happen is that we can change how we react to those memories and feelings, use them to ‘Turn It Around’©, to gain insight and understanding of where you are; all in a safe and confidential environment.  

‘Turning it Around’© can assist in employment retention, assist in the reduction of relationship difficulties, assist in the management of anxiety and anger, and the aim of this therapy is for YOU to become capable of dealing with any of your future issues. 

Kevin’s experiences in Northern Ireland in the 1970’s, and the Falklands War in 1982 will bring to your progress a unique insight into all topics that veterans bring into the session in respect of combat stress.  Kevin’s experience of ‘surviving’ Civvy Street will be used to develop your insight into the transition from a military culture to a civilian culture.  You will receive a unique understanding from a veteran’s viewpoint based on a veteran’s experience and expertise.

Kevin offers counselling, life coaching and training in mindfulness from a person centred approach.  The first session is £20.00; the 2nd session’s fee of £35.00 is reduced by £20.00; and after the second session each session’s fee will be £35.00.  There are ways to reduce the fees by paying for sessions in advance – please see website:  http://www.hopestreetcentre.co.uk/therapist-sandbach-cheshire/kevin-spruce.  You can also contact Kevin for an appointment on 07723099334 or by email by clicking here .

Next Time:  “What is post-traumatic growth?  A Review.”

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