Trauma Resiliency

This Able Veteran produces reliable PTSD service dogs and an effective partnership-building training program. Veterans who graduate from our program leave us with a canine partner they can depend on to help them recognize early symptoms of nightmare, anxiety, anger or depression. The dogs are trained to intervene, to help their veteran partners refocus and to engage in soothing behavior.

We also help our veteran students rely on themselves. Our 3-week Trauma Resiliency Program helps our veteran students understand the mechanics of PTSD, and teaches life-skills and coping mechanisms. We want to empower our veterans suffering from PTSD to take back control of their lives. That’s what this training does.

And it works. We partnered with Clinical Outcomes Group and SIU Carbondale’s Department of Psychology to measure the long term efficacy of our program. The preliminary findings from the first part of the outcomes research were amazing. Read the preliminary report.

Topics in our 3-week Trauma Resiliency Program include:
  • PTSD and Trauma
  • Healing a Wounded Soul
  • Managing Hypervigilance and “Fight or Flight” Reactions
  • Understanding Stress: The Body-Mind Connection
  • Breath Control
  • Mindfulness
  • Autogenic Training
  • Insight Into Into Our Life Stories
  • Controlling Anger
  • Understanding Fear
  • Suicide: Warning Signs and What to Do About Them
  • Understanding Personal Vulnerabilities
  • Dangers of Self-Medicating: Alcohol, Marijuana, Other Drugs
  • Coping with Criticism
  • Insomnia
  • Human Resilience
  • Medications and Effects
  • Managing Life’s Daily Changes
  • Post-Traumatic Growth
  • Intrusive Thoughts: Managing, Controlling, Healing
  • Acceptance: Living and Coping with Major Loss
  • Life Balance
  • Happiness is an Inside Job

Instructors for the 2016 class:

Behesha Doan, This Able Veteran Executive and Training Director

In addition to Behesha Doan, the founder, executive and training director of This Able Veteran, there will be several instructors from Centerstone of Illinois.

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Centerstone provides comprehensive behavioral health services to communities in Southern Illinois and the Metro-East region.  Last year, Centerstone helped 16,000 children, adults and families build healthier lives through mental health counseling, substance abuse treatment, life skills enrichment programs and services for adults with developmental disabilities. With a commitment to trauma-informed care and evidence-based practices, Centerstone provides clinical services from offices in Alton, Carbondale, Marion, West Frankfort and at the Centerstone Crisis Center in Cartervile.


Verletta A. SaxVerlettaon, Ph.D., LCPC, LPHA

Verletta A. Saxon, Ph.D., LCPC, LPHA spent the past 5 years creating, developing, implementing and managing community based emergency care for clients in crisis. Essentially transforming traditional crisis services in order to provide better care, reduce cost, reduce suicide risk and produce better treatment outcomes. Throughout her tenure she has embraced the zero suicide initiative and believes that suicide can be a “never event”.Dr. Saxon has organized the Zero Suicide Initiative in Southern Illinois, participates in the state wide Zero Suicide Learning collaborative, and participated in the Illinois Zero Suicide Mini-Academy. Dr. Saxon has built a reputation on finding hope, knowing the value of yourself and others, and unlocking hidden potential in every person. She specializes in crisis services management, project management, the zero suicide initiatives, suicide assessments, crisis stabilization, and psychiatric boarding. Dr. Saxon is a graduate of the Rehabilitation Institute at SIU Carbondale where she earned her doctoral degree in Rehabilitation (2010), Masters of Science in Rehabilitation Administration and Services (2002), and Bachelor’s Degree in Health Care Management (1998). In addition, Dr. Saxon is a published author who has appeared on national television and presented at research conferences on various subjects including suicide prevention, crisis assessments, community support, protective factors and hope for the future.