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    Program improves Soldiers' mental, spiritual health



    Story by Joel McFarland 

    Reynolds Army Health Clinic

    Over the past two years, Maj. Fe Nall the chief of the Intensive Outpatient Program in the Department of Behavioral Health at Reynolds Army Health Clinic has provided Soldiers with programs to improved their mental and spiritual health, and improve the overall readiness for Fort Sill.

    Her most recent program is in tandem with the Fort Sill Family Life Program, and Family Life Chaplain (Maj.) David Ditolla. As part of the Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) Ditolla leads twice weekly group therapy sessions that incorporate the spirituality component of psychological health, healing and resiliency.

    "The program is faith based, not religion based," said Ditolla. "We focus on moral injuries in an individual's life that have occurred on or off the battlefield. When a person's value system have been violated either through their own actions or the actions of others, I use the group therapy sessions to work through the guilt and/or shame that often comes with such spiritual injuries.

    "Speaking about shame in a safe place is the greatest healer of shame," continued Ditolla.

    This statement was echoed by Sgt. Alex Graber a Soldier with Headquarters, 434th Field Artillery Brigade and a participant in Ditolla's therapy sessions.

    "The courage to start sharing in the group setting frees you from guilt and pain," said Graber. "The hurt is going to hurt, it's all about how you deal with it.

    "There is an overwhelming sense of acceptance and a nonjudgmental feeling from everyone here in the IOP program and the group therapy sessions that let me be able to really open up in a way that I had not been able to before," said Graber. "Chaplain Ditolla works hard to push through our Soldier mentality, that wall of toughness we all put up so we don't appear weak or vulnerable."

    The chaplain coined the term "terminal uniqueness" to describe many Soldiers he sees.

    "It's an idea that they are the only ones that are going through whatever it is their problem may be. They feel, 'If anyone knew this about me ...'" said Ditolla, "and the isolation that brings is very crippling."

    Pfc. James Ramsey, Headquarters Battery, 2nd Battalion, 20th Field Artillery, said he wholeheartedly agreed with the chaplain's statement.

    "I wish I had spoken up in the group a lot sooner," said Ramsey. "I am not a religious person but it didn't take me long to see that Chaplain Ditolla is genuinely concerned with my issues. I found a lot of acceptance here, and once I did take that step to open up, it really helped me to heal and grow."

    "We are not defined by our past and our problems," Ditolla said, "Broken people can be made whole again and find that relief from our shame and guilt. I am thankful that I have had the opportunity to work with Major Nall and the IOP program, and I look forward to many future sessions with Soldiers who need the healing we can bring."

    From Nall's perspective Ditolla brings a bit more familiarity into the perspective of the Solider.

    "The chaplain services have been a significant fixture in the Soldier's life since the beginning. Today, the chaplains are at the forefront and the Soldier's go-to-guy for counseling or advice. The Soldiers in our program respond very well in terms of getting back to their faith and enhancing that aspect.

    The Moral Injury session offers a different perspective for Soldiers apart from the mainstream behavioral health approaches that we provide in our program."

    For more information regarding Moral Injury sessions, or the IOP, call Reynolds' Behavioral Health Department at 580-442-3084.

    For any questions on medical readiness at Fort Sill or within RAHC, call the Health Readiness Center at 580-558-8467.



    Date Taken: 08.24.2017
    Date Posted: 01.30.2018 13:08
    Story ID: 263892
    Location: FORT SILL, OK, US 

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