Warrior Resilience and Thriving in Operation Iraqi Freedom

Warrior Resilience and Thriving in Operation Iraqi Freedom:
Combining Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy, Resiliency and Positive Psychology

Overview of an article authored by Thomas A. Jarrett, MAJ, US Army

(First published online, May, 2013)*

ABSTRACT:
Warrior Resilience and Thriving (WRT) and Warrior Family Resilience and Thriving were the U.S. Army's first combat Soldier and Family cognitive resiliency training classes based on Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT). WRT, as a pilot program, was designed to enhance soldier and family resiliency, thriving and posttraumatic growth prior to, during and following combat deployments. WRT alloys REBT self-coaching, Army Warrior Ethos, Stoic, survivor and resiliency strategies to teach and promote advanced resiliency, emotional man- agement and critical thinking to soldiers and their families. This article will describe efforts initiated by the author, who served twice in Operation Iraqi Freedom where he developed WRT, as well as training he conducted for over 12,500 Warriors as the Prevention Team Leader for the 98th Combat Stress Control Detachment serving Baghdad. Risk Factors for Army Warriors and families and the advantages of existential and philosophically-based interventions like REBT are described along with a brief inventory of Army resiliency initiatives.

Again, resilience is proven to stand the test of time, vocation and identity. Warrior resiliency training is proving to be an effective tool that aligns military values and warrior ethos with current Army combat stress management or resiliency training programs. Warrior resiliency training has gained support by military leadership as a "character- and virtue-based counseling" program that aligns with the Army values of loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, and personal courage.

As an advocate for resilience, I identified with the warrior resiliency training program as a prevention program grounded in a positive psychology by "promoting resilience, thriving, and recognition of posttraumatic growth opportunities of the human spirit. Thereby, soldiers can "return with honor." A great publication.

* Read the complete article (pdf): "Warrior Resilience and Thriving (WRT): Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) as a Resiliency and Thriving Foundation to Prepare Warriors and Their Families for Combat Deployment and Posttraumatic Growth in Operation Iraqi Freedom, 2005-2009," by Thomas A. Jarrett. © Springer Science+Business Media, New York, 2013. Posted here with permission.

(Overview provided by Molly Siebert, Director, Al Siebert Resiliency Center)