COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) -There’s a new program headed to the Midlands designed to help combat veterans overcome post-traumatic stress. Warrior PATHH stands for progressive, alternative training for healing heroes.
It will operate out of the Big Red Barn Retreat in Blythewood, which provides alternative healing outlets to our military members and their families, all free of charge.
The Warrior PATHH program was developed at a retreat for servicemembers based out of Virginia. After the program’s reported success, it’s being adopted at retreats across the country, including in the Midlands. Organizers describe it as the nation’s first, non-clinical program designed to help combat soldiers – both active duty and veterans, as well as first responders – achieve post-traumatic growth.
Retired Command Sergeant Major Lamont Christian is the executive director of the Warrior PATHH program.
He says, “It gives each individual, really, an opportunity to relook at their purpose. Often, that’s what a military member, and a law enforcer, a first responder in the medical field – they look for because that’s what they’ve had during their time that they served and it’s really a desire for them to refocus, find that purpose, use a program like this that has a breakthrough way of reaching them.”
It’s an 18-month program, which begins with a seven-day stay at the retreat. The Big Red Barn is planning to break ground on a new lodge on the property to provide a place for the participants to stay. Warrior PATHH programs operate with small groups of about six-eight people.
Those who help to facilitate the programs are a mix of combat veterans and highly trained civilians, who have also gone through the program. The activities include various techniques used by warriors over thousands of years, including the use of a labyrinth.
“A labyrinth has always been a source of decompression, if you would. So, when warriors would return from battle, before they actually went back into their villages or into their homes with their families, they would symbolically take the opportunity to leave the burdens of their battles in the middle of the labyrinth and it might be symbolically done with a rock, maybe their tools of their trade, their weapons and then they would leave those implements of war in the middle of the labyrinth and walk out and meet their families and friends and now they were no longer that warrior. They were the father or the brother and they could integrate back into their families,” Christian said.
The Big Red Barn Retreat plans to break ground on the labyrinth September 21. Before then, there will be a symposium at Stormwater Studios in Columbia on September 19 from 5:00-8:00 PM. This will be a chance for the military community to ask questions about the program, set to launch in the Midlands next fall.