MEDIA

 

Media Coverage

The Boulder Crest Foundation's pioneering and transformative work across the spectrum of
mental health has been featured in print, television, and Op-eds from around the country.

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Warrior PATHH at Boulder Crest Helps Veterans Struggling with PTSD

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A New Approach to Post-Traumatic Stress


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Fighting PTSD: Veterans and Active Duty Members Address Military Mental Health Crisis

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Learning How to Struggle Well

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Ken Falke on Boulder Crest

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What Combat Veterans Teach Us About Struggling Well

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Jennifer Miller

Finding a Way Through PTSD That Doesn't Involve Drugs

“Everything from the VA was about my [military] service,” he said. At Boulder Crest, “they dug down into what was hurting you, brought that out and complemented it with activities that bring you down from being so wound up.”

"A year later, Durfey is off four of the drugs and takes the fifth, for knee pain, only as needed. He sees his VA therapist intermittently. “I’m closer with my wife. I’m feeling emotions — joy, sadness, good and bad. That’s from the tools [Boulder Crest] gave me,” he said."

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Karl Rove

Helping Our Heroes Heal

"In this season, we should remember that we are called to love our neighbor as we would like to be loved, and that these gifts can come in many forms. Among them is the healing power found in medical advances that for America’s veterans have provided miracles in dealing with war’s visible wounds. However, success in dealing with invisible ones, like post-traumatic stress (PTS), can be more difficult..."

"Boulder Crest Retreat provides veterans help from other vets who have also faced war’s traumas and found in them the strength to be better people. That is gift giving in the true spirit of Christmas."

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Marla Bautista

This Innovative Treatment for Veterans Doesn't Involve Drugs

"Chairman, and Co-Founder of Boulder Crest Kenneth Falke, spoke about his personal journey to creating a place of peace for Veterans and first responders. He visited top psychiatrists from a few of the best universities in America, including Harvard. He was in search of a way to help relieve the stigma of mental illness. On this journey, he met Dr. Richard Tedeschi. Dr. Tedeschi has studied the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder on individuals and families for many years. He now teaches post-traumatic growth and how the traumatic experiences people face can create a positive response over time."

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Ken Falke and Josh Goldberg

Mental Health in the Post-COVID-19 World

"Out of a wave of concern and compassion, we anticipate billions of dollars may be allocated to address this wave of despair and depression related to COVID-19.

Logic suggests that the majority of these dollars will go to existing approaches – the very same approaches failing most people, and as Insel intimates, approaches that may actually be causing the problem in the first place!We can and must do better. COVID-19 represents an inflection point; an opportunity to question who we are, what we are doing, and how we are doing it. We are seeing this as it relates to how we relate and connect with each other, how and where we work, and how we engage with and receive care from traditional healthcare providers (now over our phones or computers). The same must be true of our approach to mental health – or we risk seeing a mental health crisis spiral completely out of control."

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Ken Falke and John Spencer

To Help Vets, Overhaul How We Treat PTSD

"Recent research and work to combine posttraumatic growth concepts with non-clinical activities is showing promising alternatives to longstanding PTSD protocol.  In an immersive curriculum, veterans are trained in posttraumatic growth while learning new skills such as meditation, yoga, goal setting, and other ancient warrior wellness practices so they can leverage their understanding of what was gained and lost in combat.  These approaches align with the mindset and culture of the veterans' military experience: that is, rather than treat them, train them to be stronger.

The aftermath of World Wars I and II demonstrated that post-war eras present incredible opportunities for veterans to improve the societies and work forces they reenter with their can-do work ethic and entrepreneurial spirit.  To maximize their contribution to society, however, we must first heal the invisible wounds of war."

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Jim Rendon

When Female Veterans Return Home

"Eighteen months after her program ended, Sophie remains in touch with group members. “Talking to women who had similar experiences helped me get through the things that I could not let go of from the deployment,” she says. “I don’t think it could have happened any other way.”

"In the 15 months since Zeiger left Boulder Crest, she has noticed changes large and small. “I don’t fly off the handle as much,” she says. “I am able to work through what I am feeling and then have a conversation about it.” She has left active duty and is now in the reserves, has gotten married (two women from Boulder Crest attended the wedding), and has moved into a new home in Knoxville, Tennessee. Through all of the changes, she has kept up regular contact with women from her retreat group. “I am more in touch with how I feel after Boulder Crest,” she says. For the first time she can remember, she even feels happy. “I got my life back, actually a better version of me.”

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Dr. Bret Moore and Josh Goldberg

Finding Their Way Home: Posttraumatic Growth in Veterans

"Despite billions of dollars spent each year in the U.S. on research and treatment for combat veterans struggling with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), one fact has become clear: the current evidence-based approaches don't appear to be the magic bullet we hoped they would be.

The work at Boulder Crest in developing Warrior PATHH represents a change in philosophy. It moves from a symptom-centric mentality that focuses on maintaining the status quo, to a mentality consistent with Friedrich Nietzsche's belief of “that which does not kill us makes us stronger”. The Warrior PATHH is a hero’s journey of growth. It embraces the ideas that the same skills forged in battle can be leveraged to thrive at home and from deep struggle one can see incredible growth."

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Ken Falke

Struggle Well: A New Approach to Mental Health and Suicide

"Our nation is in the midst of a mental health epidemic that shows no signs of abating. The scope of this epidemic is evidenced by the suicide rate (up 33% since 1999) and large numbers of drug and alcohol overdoses...

Air Force Chief of Staff, General David Goldfein, recently noted, “I actually don’t know what’s going on, and I certainly can’t point to our programs today and say that they’re working.”

At its core, suicide is the result of hopelessness and loneliness. Suicide stems from a belief that tomorrow will always be the same or worse than yesterday, there is no path to a life worth living, and that nobody really “knows me or gets me.” Why is it that far too many service members find themselves on the precipice of suicide? What contributes to their struggle?"

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PBS NewsHour

Female Vets Who Disabled Bombs Find a Path to Healing

One of the most stressful jobs in the military belongs to members of the Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit, or EOD.

In this week's Brief But Spectacular episode, in honor of Veterans Day, three female former EOD members now with the Boulder Crest Retreat in Arizona, a facility that specializes in post-traumatic growth, talk about their experiences and their recovery.

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Dr. Richard Tedeschi and Dr. Bret Moore

A Model for Developing Community-Based, Grass Roots Laboratories for Postdeployment Adjustment

In this article, we offer the example of Boulder Crest Retreat for Military and Veteran Wellness (BCR), a community based, nonprofit, private organization in Bluemont, Virginia, as a program that demonstrates many of the strengths of grassroots programs. Although there are many programs in existence that offer critical services to the active duty and veteran populations, we have found BCR to be unique in the level of comprehensive care it provides. We are also impressed with the potential the program has to become a model for establishing and developing effective grassroots, community based programs for veterans and family members; an approach that is designed to fill the gap in health care services between the Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs that many veterans experience.

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Rachel Nania

Virginia Retreat Paves Way for Future of Veteran Care

“Part of our obligation, and George Washington said it long ago, is that the likelihood of people signing up to be part of the military is predicated on how they see the previous generation being treated,” Goldberg says.

Educating the public on what these veterans experience and helping veterans understand their unparalleled potential is another mission of Falke and Goldberg’s.

“These are men and women with a unique set of skills and capabilities that the rest of us don’t have — because we haven’t been tested to that extent,” Goldberg says.

“This is the finest group of people I’ve ever met and the strongest group of people I’ve ever met. Even when they’re struggling at a wit’s end, they still have a sense of service and integrity and honor and strength that most people don’t possess.”

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Lorna Collier

Growth After Trauma

One veterans' care facility that takes a nontraditional, PTG approach to trauma treatment is Boulder Crest Retreat in Bluemont, Virginia. The private, donor-supported institute provides free, weeklong nonclinical exercises and activities for vets seeking recovery from combat stress. The treatment is led primarily by veterans who have themselves gone through trauma and achieved growth. Vets are encouraged to deal with past traumas while also discovering their underlying strengths, as well as forging connections with others and ultimately finding ways to give back.

He hopes that as vets go through the process at Boulder Crest, they "develop new principles for living that involve altruistic behavior, having a mission in life and purpose that goes beyond oneself, so that trauma is transformed into something that's useful not only for oneself but for others."

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Dr. Bret Moore and Ken Falke

Posttraumatic Growth: Shifting from Dysfunction to Evolution

Many experts in psychology and psychiatry believe that PTG can be cultivated in veterans. In fact, over 30 years of research by psychologists Richard Tedeschi and Lawrence Calhoun, the fathers of modern-day PTG, establishes a strong foundation for this belief.

We don't believe that facilitating PTG in veterans should replace current treatments.  Talk-therapy and medication are effective for a subset of combat veterans struggling with PTSD. We do believe that leveraging veterans' inner strength in order to help them explore new possibilities for psychological, relational, and spiritual growth is imperative.  In other words, we must help them focus on what they have gained from their combat experiences versus what they have lost.

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Dr. Richard Tedeschi and Dr. Bret Moore

Boulder Crest Retreat: Integrating Non-Traditional and Traditional Interventions for Military Veterans

Research funding and dissemination of evidence-based treatments for psychiatric disorders in veterans has been a major priority for the military and veterans administration health care systems. The most noticeable focus has been on the treatment of PTSD. In this article we discuss how elements of the traditional evidence-based approaches can be integrated with innovative, nontraditional ways to provide better outcomes for veterans suffering from psychological trauma. This kind of integration is being developed at Boulder Crest Retreat in Virginia and Arizona.

With this perspective, our veterans are likely to be treated with more respect and encouragement and the outcomes for them will please them and their families and inspire the rest of us.

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Ken Falke

The Mental Health Community:
A Terrible Mindset

The Journal of the American Medical Association published a report that confirmed what we have known for some time: so-called “evidence-based treatments” are not working for the vast majority of service members and veterans struggling with PTSD.

Put simply, the mental health community is a disaster. Their priorities are driven by insurance and pharmaceutical companies rather than what is best for the patient. The result? A suicide epidemic that is going from bad to worse, and hundreds of thousands of veterans unwilling to seek out any kind of treatment. Despite the failure of such treatments, however, we are told that we should be satisfied with a 30 percent solution, with comparisons being made in a recent article to cancer treatments.

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Jennifer Fallon

How Veterans Can Fight Their Way Through PTSD

“We’ve fallen into the medical model of talk therapy and medications,” said Ken Falke, chairman and founder of Boulder Crest Retreat and a veteran himself. “What’s wrong with the medical model, in my opinion, is that it really teaches us how to live with a diminished version of ourselves. Our belief is that combat veterans are very strong, and the last thing you want them to do is come home and live with a diminished version of themselves. How do they really come back to society and become that great asset that they are? We’re teaching them to thrive rather than survive.”

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Kerry Phelps-Dale

When Black and White Turn to Gray

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”

Most combat veterans would tell you that. Despite the unspeakable horrors of war, still these men and women viewed their service as a time when they were most
fulfilled, connected and emotionally assured...

Upon their return home, the gray crept in and muddied the black and white of military service. There were choices again and the excitement of combat was gone. There was no need for the hyper-vigilance that was trained into them, no reason for their sleepless nights. They wondered who had their back. They suffered from depression and searched for what would fulfill them like their military service did. They were still, after all, the same men and women who risked their lives to protect our country and longed to be of continued service.

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Steven Wilson

DAV fosters tradition of mentorship among veterans

Together with DAV and Boulder Crest, the Gary Sinise Foundation helped pair mentors with mentees. Sinise, a longtime supporter and partner of DAV, said that while things like adaptive homes and augmented vehicles can improve the lives of injured veterans, the common bonds of mentorship are just as important.

“We’ve found that injured veterans—especially those with profound wounds like amputations and traumatic brain injuries—can benefit tremendously by learning from people who are further along on a similar journey,” said Sinise. “Partnering with DAV and Boulder Crest gives us the chance to create relationships that will improve the long-term quality of life and help veterans see the full range of possibilities their future can hold.”

Ken Falke, chairman and founder of Boulder Crest Retreat, said operations like the retreat are invaluable assets in caring for ill and injured veterans.

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Dr. Bret Moore

How Post-Traumatic Stress Can Open Paths to Personal Growth 

"In the early 1990s, psychologists Richard Tedeschi and Lawrence Calhoun coined the term "posttraumatic growth," or PTG. The concept of PTG describes the positive personal transformations that can occur in the aftermath of trauma.

In contrast to the typical portrayal of the combat veteran struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder, PTG embraces the idea and reality that remarkable positive changes can occur in the days, months or even years after incredible adversity." 

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Dr. Bret Moore and Ken Falke

100 Years After WWI, It's Time To Try a Different Approach to PTSD

"One hundred years after shell shock, it's time to turn our approach to PTSD on its head and teach our veterans how to capitalize on their individual struggles. Let's get away from the medical model that reduces our combat veterans to a set of symptoms and start harnessing their inner strength and turn their struggles into new possibilities, purpose and meaning."

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Ken Falke

How to Honor Vietnam Veterans

"This March 29th and 30th we will stop to honor and welcome home our Vietnam veterans. While speeches, ceremonies, and commemorations will recognize their sacrifice, to truly honor their service — and the service of those that follow — we should facilitate growth and purposeful lives they truly deserve and welcomes them home."

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Dana Spiva

Moving Past the Trauma of War

"After being introduced, Binkley attended a pilot program last summer that was recommended to him by the people of Boulder Crest Retreat. The program was in his home state of Michigan. It was a separate program from, but similar to, Boulder Crest Retreat.

“He came back a different person,” Erin said of her husband. “He was incredibly calm. He had struggled with rage and depression. He had come back [from the program] very calm and content with life. He was very engaged with the world around him and totally turned around.”

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Loudoun now

Boulder Crest Leaders Push for New Approach at VA

"The Boulder Crest campus serves 24 people at a time in the residential portion of its treatments. The center, which Falke described as the “Mayo Clinic of PTSD treatment,” serves about 750 patients per year.

The Boulder Crest team said that solving the VA’s staffing shortages and access concerns aren’t likely to lead to clinically different results in treating veterans. Instead, they told Warner that the VA should embrace new and novel treatments like the structured guidance, peer-to-peer programs that have demonstrated high rates of success in Bluemont, rather than approaches aimed chiefly at mitigating symptoms."

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Janine Boldrin

A Military Spouse's Mission

"Julia said the support for their idea grew it from "a tiny acorn to a giant oak tree" with people jumping on board to come out and help."

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Ken Falke and Josh Goldberg

Posttraumatic Growth Proves You Can Be Stronger After Trauma

"For most people, the idea that the term "posttraumatic" can be followed by anything positive, much less anything other than Stress Disorder, is stunning. However, Posttraumatic Growth is a decades-old science and reflects the trajectory of human history dating back to as long as humans have been on the planet (otherwise, we would be extinct). We experience trauma, work to make sense of our experiences, and transform loss into gain, pain into purpose, and struggle into strength.

No one knows this better than combat veterans. In the 2,500-year-old words of the Athenian general and philosopher Thucydides, "We must remember that one [man/woman] is much the same as another and that [he/she] is best that is trained in the severest school."

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Ken Falke

A New Approach to Mental Health and Suicide

"Our nation is in the midst of a mental health epidemic that shows no signs of abating. The scope of this epidemic is evidenced by the suicide rate (up 33% since 1999) and large numbers of drug and alcohol overdoses...

Air Force Chief of Staff, General David Goldfein, recently noted, “I actually don’t know what’s going on, and I certainly can’t point to our programs today and say that they’re working.”

At its core, suicide is the result of hopelessness and loneliness. Suicide stems from a belief that tomorrow will always be the same or worse than yesterday, there is no path to a life worth living, and that nobody really “knows me or gets me.” Why is it that far too many service members find themselves on the precipice of suicide? What contributes to their struggle?"

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Caitlin Gibson

Boulder Crest Retreat in Loudoun County Offers a Restful Place for Service Members

“We’ve thought all along that mental health would be where we are most relevant,” he said of Boulder Crest. “It’s not that the government isn’t doing great things. . . . but this problem is just bigger than anyone was prepared for. You need small nonprofits like us to step in and help find a solution, and be innovative and creative.”

Falke said Boulder Crest was always intended to operate year-round, including during the holidays, a period that can add to existing stress.

“Just from my own personal experience in the military, holidays are a lonely time,” he said. “Getting away to a nice place like Boulder Crest and celebrating your family holiday for free — that’s a pretty powerful thing.”

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