Encouraging Posttraumatic Growth Through Warrior PATHH

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Warriors are masters of putting up walls and masking the stress and struggle of life. At the Big Red Barn Retreat, we understand their challenges and believe our Warriors want to conquer their personal battles and become a better version of themselves, despite not knowing how to get there.

Warrior PATHH, a program created and studied by Boulder Crest in Virginia, helps train Warriors how to take struggle and grow from it, as opposed to suffering from it.  Allowing Warriors to train how to struggle well in the aftermath of trauma gives them the opportunity to become the best version of themselves and live the life they desire.

What Is Warrior PATHH?

Warrior PATHH is a transformative, lifelong, Posttraumatic Growth-based peer-based training program for combat veterans and first responders that relies on a variety of educational and experiential activities for the purpose of teaching life skills, increasing community integration and involvement, and promoting physical, emotional, relational, financial, and spiritual health.

Posttraumatic Growth


Posttraumatic growth is both a process that you go through, and it’s also an outcome. And what posttraumatic growth is all about are the ways in which the experiences we go through that cause us to struggle, also lead us to be reflective, and force us to take a knee and start to think about who we are, and where we’re going, and why we’re here. What happens a great deal of the time, is that people who go through these difficult life experiences often report that in the aftermath of that experience, going through the process of posttraumatic growth leads them to report that their life has changed for the better, in terms of it being more authentic, more meaningful, and more purposeful than it was before they had that experience. And they report where that growth occurs is in 5 different areas:

  • A sense of new possibilities and hope for the future
  • A commitment in recognition of the value of deeper relationships with other people
  • A sense of personal strength, the idea that nothing can permanently knock me down.
  • Appreciation for life, gratitude for things both small and big
  • A spiritual change, this sense of asking and reflecting on the deepest questions that life can offer us. Who am I? Why am I here? Where do I belong?

And that’s what posttraumatic growth describes, and what the entire science and concept behind it are all about. And what’s unique about Boulder Crest’s Warrior PATHH Program is that it reflects the first ever time to use the process of posttraumatic growth to drive towards the outcome of posttraumatic growth. Warrior PATHH is the first ever program designed specifically to cultivate and facilitate posttraumatic growth amongst combat veterans and first responders who are struggling with PTSD, anxiety, depression, and other sorts of mental health challenges, and enable them, and to train them to transform that struggle into strength and growth.

Expert Guides


The Post-traumatic model dictates that in order to facilitate Posttraumatic Growth, trauma survivors will benefit from expert companionship. The concept of expert companionship emphasizes that trauma survivors first need companionship, and the companion must be first willing to learn from the trauma survivor about their life and experiences, and not start with taking a position of knowing how that person should live their life. The concept of expert companionship emphasizes that the relationship is more important that the technical expertise. Therefore, paraprofessionals and partners in the trauma survivorship can be very effective in facilitating PTG.

During your time at the Big Red Barn Retreat in the Warrior PATHH program, we refer to the role of expert companion as an Expert Guide.

Living well and struggling well requires humility, regular and intentional Wellness Practices, a strong support network, and the setting and accomplishing of goals.

There are ten key attributes necessary to be an Expert Guide:

  • An Expert Guide is congruent. They’re head and heart are connected, and thoughts, feelings and actions are positively aligned, that one can respond to life, rather than react to it.
  • An Expert Guide is honest. In a world that can often be indirect and passive-aggressive, Expert Guides say what they mean and men what they say.
  • An Expert Guide is open. The capacity and willingness to share lessons, experiences, and struggles honestly is what makes Guides successful.
  • An Expert Guide is patient. Every human being is on a journey at their own pace and in their own way. Guides must meet people where they are at, and trust in the journey that they’re on.
  • An Expert Guide Shows positive regard.  At times, people can be challenging and frustrating, but no matter what, Guides maintain positive regard.
  • An Expert Guide is prepared. Expert Guides take the time to learn, practice, and deeply understand the Warrior PATHH program, hence it enhances their ability to deliver the content to people who need it.
  • An Expert Guide is fully present. Guides will devote all of their time, attention, and effort to the people they are working with
  • An Expert Guide is curious. Every human being as a story to tell and deserves the opportunity to share it. Guides will ask thought-provoking questions and minimize talking.

Who is Eligible for the Warrior PATHH?


Warrior PATHH is available to men and women combat veterans and first responders.

  • Participants MUST be active, retired, or separated from service. We support all military, first responder, reservists, and National Guard members.
  • We define a “combat veteran” as anyone who has deployed or supported a combat zone.
  • We define a “first responder” as anyone who serves their community as a Police Officer, Sheriff’s Deputy, Fire Fighter, EMS, Health Care Worker, or any Federal Law Enforcement or Intelligence Agency personnel.

Our ideal candidate is a warrior who is determined to win their personal battles, has a willingness to accept coaching and a desire to embrace the process. A warrior who has a vision of what they want despite not knowing how to get there and a passion to live fully.

How You Can Help the Program

Big Red Barn’s mission of healing and growth is only possible through the support of donors and supporters. If you would like to donate, visit thebigredbarnretreat.org/donate today. If you or a loved one would like to learn more about the Warrior PATHH or are interested in other ways to get involved, you can find more information at thebigredbarn.org.