LETTER OF INVITATION FOR VETERAN TO VETERAN HEALING PROJECT

Letter of Invitation to Participate

Veteran-to-Veteran Healing Project – Las Vegas, NV

Dear United States Military Veteran,

Thank you for serving in the United States Military, and for your service to your country. If you feel that you may be suffering from active-duty related trauma as the result of your military experiences, you are being invited to participate in a pilot research study that will take place at the Veterans Transition Resource Center, 2550 Nature Park Drive, Building B, Las Vegas Nevada 89084.

The study is being conducted by the Association of Comprehensive Energy Psychology (ACEP) and funded by ACEP. The researchers, Suzanne Connolly, LCSW, Jenny Edwards, and Kristin Miller, PhD, are members of the Association of Energy Psychology (ACEP). Jenny Edwards is on the faculty of Fielding Graduate University. This study has been approved by the Fielding Graduate University Institutional Review Board. The statistical analysis will be performed at the University of Denver by Kathy Green, PhD.

The purpose of this study is to gather information about a trauma treatment intervention that has already been experienced to have helped many veterans who are suffering from active-duty related traumatic experiences. It may permanently eliminate symptoms such as flashbacks, fear, anger, intrusive thoughts, and/or bad dreams; however, this treatment has not yet been methodically tested with the veteran populations. This intervention has been tested in randomized control studies with people in other populations who have experienced trauma, and it has been shown to have reduced their symptoms such as flashbacks, fear, anger, intrusive thoughts, nightmares, and difficulties participating in normal daily life.

What Is Involved In The Study?

If you decide you would like to participate in this study, you will be asked at a pre-screening, to fill out and sign the Informed Consent Form, and to fill out a demographic questionnaire and answer questions on two self-report measures.

If you are selected to be in Group A, you will begin the study with training in a trauma-focused peer-supported self-help treatment using Thought Field Therapy (TFT), which is a method of tapping on acu-points while thinking about your trauma.

If you are selected to participate in Group B, you will participate in a non-trauma focused community building and peer-support group, which will later become a trauma-focused peer-supported self-help group, a longer study.

If you are selected to participate in this study, you will be assigned to one of two treatment groups: a trauma-focused peer supported self-treatment group (Group A), or a non-trauma-focused community building and peer-support group (Group B). Members of both groups will be asked to fill out other assessments at various times during the study.

Group A activities described: 

If you are selected to participate in Group A, you will learn to use TFT, which is a technique of tapping on specific meridian points in a particular sequence while thinking about your trauma. Fellow veterans in your group will support and guide you as you learn this self-help technique. The people who are providing the trauma-focused peer-supported self-help treatment trainings will be licensed mental health professionals led by Suzanne M. Connolly, LCSW, Jenny Edwards, and Kristin Miller PhD. Licensed mental health professionals will be available to you throughout the study. You will not be required to talk about or share your traumatic experience(s) during this study, but you will be asked to think about your traumatic experience(s). Your peer veteran study participants will ask you to think about your traumatic experience(s) while you tap with your fingers on various acupressure points. The training will begin over a weekend of 6.5 hours on Saturday and on Sunday, and it will continue for two consecutive Saturday follow-up supervision and training meetings of four and three hours respectively.

One month later, three months later, six months later, and one year later, you will fill out self-report reassessments.  You will be given a calendar with specific dates and details and times.

Group B activities described:

If you are selected to participate in Group B, you will not be asked to focus on your traumatic experience(s) or think about your trauma during the initial phase of this study. You will have the opportunity to learn about opportunities for veterans, and you will be able to support fellow veterans. There will be speakers from various organizations who work with veterans who will inform you of educational, vocational, and employment opportunities for veterans. You will have an opportunity to work with your group on a community project at the Vet Center where we will meet. There will be at least one licensed professional present at all times. The activities will take place over one weekend of 6.5 hours on Saturday and Sunday and two consecutive Saturday follow-up trainings of four and three hours respectively. One month later and three months later, you will fill out self-report reassessments.

Immediately following the three-month assessments, you will be trained in the trauma-focused self-help treatment. The training will take place on the weekend of the three-month assessment and will consist of 13 hours (6.5 hours on each day). You will learn to use TFT, which is a technique of tapping on specific meridian points in a particular sequence while thinking about your trauma. Fellow veterans in your group will support and guide you as you learn this self-help technique. The people who are providing the trauma-focused peer-supported self-help treatment trainings will be licensed mental health professionals led by Suzanne M. Connolly, LCSW, Jenny Edwards, and Kristin Miller PhD. Licensed mental health professionals will be available to you throughout the study. You will not be required to talk about or share your traumatic experience(s) during this study, but you will be asked to think about your traumatic experience(s). Your peer veteran study participants will ask you to think about your traumatic experience(s) while you tap with your fingers on various acupressure points.

You will meet on two Saturdays in a row for a period of four and three hours respectively, to practice your new skills while being supervised by a licensed therapist. You will then be asked to fill out self-report reassessments one month, three months, six months, and one year following the end of your TFT training.

The total commitment of time over a period of 16 months for Group B will be 13 days, for a total of 53 hours over a 16-month period. Opportunities for more self-treatment practice will be available after all post testing with the exception of the posttest at twelve months.  You will be given a calendar with specific dates and times.

Study Risks:

The risks of participating in this study include being reminded of your past experience(s) that may make you feel sad, angry, guilty, depressed, or unhappy. Licensed mental health practitioners will be available at all times in case this should happen. Local referrals for mental health counseling will also be provided to you.

The benefits of participating in this study are that you may feel permanent relief from the negative symptoms of trauma, such as depression, anxiety, fear, anger, flashbacks, intrusive thoughts, and bad dreams that have been troubling you. In addition, you may find that you are able to engage more easily in life and work outside of the military.

You will not be asked to talk about your trauma, but if you find it helpful, you may want to talk about it when participating in the trauma-focused treatment group. Others in your group will hear what you say, and it is possible that they could tell someone else. Because we will be talking in a group, we cannot promise that what you say will remain completely private, but we will ask that you and all other group members respect the privacy of everyone in the group.

You will be assigned a number that will be on your assessment materials, rather than your name. Only the lead researchers will have access to the link between your name and your assigned participant number. Your records will be kept in a locked file cabinet in Sedona, AZ. All information collected during the study will be kept confidential. Only Suzanne Connolly, LCSW will be able to link your assigned number to your name.

If you meet the criteria for participating in this study as determined by the questionnaires, you will be in a pool from which 52 participants will be randomly selected to be included in this study. You will then be randomly assigned to either the trauma-focused peer-supported self-help training group or the non-trauma-focused community building and peer-support group. Participating in the preliminary screening does not guarantee that you will be selected to participate in this study. You will be notified by mail and given referral options. If you are not selected, you will receive a letter advising you, along with a list of resources that are available to you in your geographical area.

If you are selected to participate in this study, you may decide not to participate in the study at any time by telling one of the researchers either during or after your participation, without negative consequences. Should you withdraw, your data will be eliminated from the study and destroyed. You will not have to give a reason or withdraw in any formal way.

The consequences of declining to participate in this study or withdrawing from the study once you have begun the study could include the possibility that old trauma memories triggered by the assessments or by your participation might not be resolved when you leave the study. Your trauma symptoms could be exasperated, and you would not be receiving follow-up treatments available in the study. Local referrals for mental health counseling in your geographical area will also be provided to you upon your request.

Questions regarding the design of the study can be directed to Suzanne Connolly, LCSW, at smc@suzanneconnolly.com or at 928-282-2627.

Questions about confidentiality can be directed to Jenny Edwards, at 303-674-0645, jedwards23@yahoo.com.

Questions about psychological risk of participating in this study can be directed to Kristin Miller at 530-243-2301, kristinmillerphd@gmail.com.

Questions about location and scheduling can be directed to Amy Frost, MA amy@amyfrost.com, voice mail: 702-362-7239 cell: 909-709-8076.

If you would like to participate in this study, you will be asked to complete a set of questionnaires at Veterans Transition Resource Center, 2550 Nature Park Drive, Building B, Las Vegas, Nevada 89084. It will take you approximately 60 minutes to complete the assessments.

If you would like to be screened for participation in this study, please print out the Letter of Invitation, sign it, and return the letter via U.S. Mail to:  Suzanne Connolly, LCSW at 70 Payne Place, Suite 6, Sedona, AZ 86336  or fax the letter to (928( 282-0121)

Disclaimer: This study will not be conducted at the VA and is not VA research, has not been reviewed by VA’s Institutional Review Board, and is not endorsed by VA. VA is not responsible for any costs incurred by a Veteran if the Veteran enters the study as a research subject. The announcement is being provided for Information only. 

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