News: Military spouses learn new skills on how to remain resilient
Story by Staff Sgt. Antwaun Parrish
JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. – According to Webster’s dictionary, resiliency is described as the ability to recover from or adjust to misfortune or change.
“I believe that resilience is mainly adaptability and toughness,” said Patrice Hamilton, an Army spouse, and a counselor at Stone Education Center.
Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s Family Resource Center provides a monthly Spouse Resiliency Academy. The academy is designed to help strengthen the resiliency of military spouses by looking within themselves to learn, grow and thrive when faced with challenges and bounce back from adversity.
The training covers numerous training modules over the three-day course such as problem solving, energy management and how to avoid thinking traps.
“We are adding more tools to the participant’s toolbox so they will be equipped and able to handle stressful situations,” said Carl Newhouse, a mater resiliency trainer assigned to JBLM.
During a recent class, Newhouse led the class through many engaging techniques, which to keep the spouses energetic and ready to learn more. The class started with a breathing exercise which has the spouses close their eyes and take deep breaths and focus on mentally blocking out the pressures of the day. Throughout the class, the spouses are taught to prepare themselves for new challenges which they should approach with a positive mindset.
Many deploying service members leave behind their spouse and children, which causes that spouse to handle everything on their own. For some spouses it’s their first time being without support and often finds it difficult to cope.
“My husband is currently deployed and I have been faced with new challenges everyday,” said Julie Kelly, an education counselor intern at Stone Education Center.
“These tools will not only sustain me at home but at work as well.”
“We want the spouses to not only learn how to handle their own stress but to help their service members and children to find useful tools when they are faced with challenges,” said Newhouse.
Many of the participants had never met before, and were placed in groups and told to share three things about themselves, one being untrue. The spouses were amused and surprised to find out some of the other participants’ hobbies and how much they had in common with one another.
“The exercises take me out of my comfort zone,” said Kelly.
“I’m excited to interact, it’s what I do on a daily basis, this is just teaching me to broaden my horizons,” said Hamilton.
“When spouses feel overwhelmed we want them to be able to step back, rejuvenate and remain positive for themselves and their families,” said Donna Gotel, a master resiliency trainer assigned to JBLM.
Anyone interested in participating in the Spouse Resiliency Academy can enroll by calling 253-967-9977.
“Our community is always in training mode so as spouses we need to be able to maintain ourselves during periods of separation,” said Hamilton.