Parade or No Parade, Returning Veterans Face Uphill Battle

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Omega Honors Veterans With Four Unique Programs to Address Complexities of Mental Health and Reintegration—Scholarships Available

As reported by the New York Times, in response to last week’s parade honoring the New York Giants, a growing coalition of veterans, elected officials, and other public figures are calling for a parade to honor veterans returning from Iraq. Whether a parade takes place or not, advocates point to a difficult road ahead, as veterans are faced with complex issues as they attempt to reintegrate into society, and deal with the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI). Omega Institute today announced it will offer four unique programs for veterans in 2012, and scholarships for veterans of any war.

“We see a critical need to support returning vets beyond what the current system is equipped to provide. The road to healing from the trauma of war is complex, and we are honored to offer veterans and their caregivers opportunities to aid in their recovery and reintegration,” said Carla Goldstein, chief external affairs officer at Omega.

For more than 20 years, Omega has been engaged with veterans and family members dealing with issues of PTSD. This year Omega will convene some of the nation’s most forward thinking health experts and veterans’ advocates, to collaborate on best practices in healing modalities in an effort to help more veterans get treatment, more quickly. Additionally, in response to the rise in sexual assault, homelessness, and other issues servicewomen face, Omega will offer a new program specifically for female veterans and active duty servicewomen. Scholarships are available for Military & Veteran Women’s Healing Retreat and The Costs of War, Violence & Denial: A Retreat for Veterans Living with PTSD.

2012 Programs:

The Costs of War, Violence & Denial: A Retreat for Veterans Living with PTSD                    
April 18–22. Open to veterans, their families, and friends. Scholarships are available.

The attempts of traditional counseling and therapy, although valuable, often leave spiritual wounds unaddressed. This veterans retreat teaches many different forms of meditation as a path to healing. Author and Zen Buddhist monk, Claude AnShin Thomas, shares his inspiring story from Vietnam combat to Buddhist practice as a road map for others trapped in cyclical patterns of response from any type of traumatic experience. This retreat is open to people of any religious or spiritual tradition. For scholarship information, please visit, or call 845.266.4444, ext. 180.

Veterans, Trauma & Treatment: Best Mind-Body Practices: A Professional Veterans Conference Addressing Resiliency to Recovery                                                                                        
October 12–14. Open to health-care professionals, psychologists, social workers, caregivers, and counselors working with veterans suffering with PTSD and their families.

This conference brings together an unprecedented gathering of experts in trauma and the treatment of trauma for veterans using complementary and alternative medicine. The conference will also touch on resilience studies, and some remarkable trauma prevention work being undertaken with combat and noncombat soldiers. Join Jon Kabat-Zinn, the founding director of the Stress Reduction Clinic and the Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, and other extraordinary keynote speakers and workshop leaders who will discuss many complementary and alternative mind-body approaches. For a complete list of presenters, visit

Teaching Yoga in Military Communities, Part 2: Advanced Teaching Skills for Addressing Combat-Related Issues                                                                                                                                 October 14–19. Professional training for yoga teachers. Participants need to complete Part 1 (teleseminar) before attending Part 2.

As the United States military adopts more evidence-based, mind-body approaches and seeks to hire competent instructors, specialized training focused on military culture and combat-related conditions will be a great benefit. This 5-day certification program for yoga teachers, provides a solid foundation in the art and science of teaching yoga in a military setting. Seasoned teachers, with medical, mental health, and military backgrounds, who have significant experience teaching yoga to servicemen and servicewomen, will train teachers in the effective use of yoga for post-deployment physical and psychological conditions.        

Military & Veteran Women’s Healing Retreat                                                                            

October 14–19. This program, including room and board, is available at no cost to qualified female veterans or active duty women in the military.

With the alarming rise of sexual assault in the military, and many other unique challenges, the wounds of war often run deeper and longer for female veterans. Retired Maj. Nisha Money, former chief of United States Air Force Fitness, and a team of healing arts therapists, along with financial, employment, and life-skill reintegration experts, will guide attendees through a variety of holistic healing modalities and other helpful resources. For an application and complete list of teachers, visit

About Omega Institute for Holistic Studies
Founded in 1977, Omega Institute for Holistic Studies is the nation’s most trusted source for wellness and personal growth. As a nonprofit organization, Omega offers diverse and innovative educational experiences that inspire an integrated approach to personal and social change. Located on 195 acres in the beautiful Hudson Valley, Omega welcomes more than 23,000 people to its workshops, conferences, and retreats in Rhinebeck, New York, and at exceptional locations around the world.    

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Chrissa Pullicino