We've heard a lot about the trauma of serving in combat; but, we don't talk too much about the stresses placed on family members. Are they doing ok? Do they have ready access to support services during all phases of deployment? Well, if they're an Army Reserve or a National Guard family in the greater Boston area, they most surely do. Here's a free service they have access to:
The Psychoanalytic Couple and Family Institute of New England (PCFINE), with the support of other psychoanalytic groups throughout the country, has launched a new pro bono program called SOFAR: Strategic Outreach to Families of All Reservists. Through this program, SOFAR coordinates the delivery of psychotherapy and psycho-educational services to the families of Reservists and National Guard members who are stationed in or returning from Afghanistan, Iraq, and Kuwait.
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From channel WCVB-TV [Boston's ABC affiliate]:
When Mom or Dad goes off to war it can be devastating for the family left behind. Now, a unique program is reaching out to those families, enlisting mental health professionals to provide free counseling.
Last August, Lillian Connolly's husband, Joseph, was re-deployed to Iraq. His absence hasn't been easy on their four children. "It was an adjustment for them to be with just me. Because it had always been mom and dad together," Lillian Connolly said. "I was confused and sad that he was leaving us," son Joseph said.
Like many families who have loved ones fighting overseas, the Connolly's had a hard time dealing with the sadness. So Lillian found a new way to help them all cope. "We're interested in helping them feel and be stronger from the experiences that they're dealing with around their loved one's deployment," Dr. Kenneth Reich said.
Reich is the co-chair of SOFAR, or Strategic Outreach to Families of All Reservists, a Cambridge-based program that offers free counseling to the immediate and extended families of Army reservists sent to battle. "They experience loss and separation. And they experience a sense of, often, of helplessness, because they don't know what's happening to their soldier," Dr. Jaine Darwin said.
The SOFAR team has already helped 2,000 families in the New England area. What a great outreach effort this is! Please visit their website for more information and to learn how they set up this important service to help these military families.
Inspiring, isn't it?
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