Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Five more Vietnam and Iraq veterans, all with PTSD, faced their fears and not only opened their hearts but found and began to heal themselves in only eight weeks : Allen L Roland

The first meeting of the Healing The Wounded Heart Veterans Workshop #2 was held on August 18 at 11 AM in Yountville, California

They had never met me but they had been told about me
, by their adjustment counselor Sal, and were prepared for an eight week commitment to face their fears and open their hearts in the process. They knew I was a Veteran and that made a big difference.

All of them had some symptoms of PTSD and even TBI but all had the common symptom of a closed heart and the inability to love and receive love ~ mainly because of deep unworthiness issues that originally started in childhood and were reinforced through their war experience.

I told them that this was an action based workshop and if they did their homework they would reach a place of not only another choice but would open their closed hearts in the process. They would also begin to see through different eyes ~ eyes unclouded by fear, resentment and unworthiness. I also explained through my Cycle Of Life chart how psychic pain will override Joy to the extent that most people have no idea that beneath their deepest pain and aloneness is love, joy and connectedness ~ the Unified Field.

After each session ~ part of their homework was to read each session in my book RADICAL THERAPY / SURRENDER TO LOVE AND HEAL YOURSELF IN SEVEN SESSIONS ( NOT SEVEN YEARS
which reinforced the previous session.

Of course, that first session I shared my own heart's journey to find a lost and alone little boy within myself who not only wanted to fly, and became a Navy Fighter pilot, but also to love as deeply as I loved my beloved grandfather before I was torn away from him at six years old. We briefly talked about the war and all of them shared their heart's journey and by the end of two hours ~ they all felt a sense of commonality. Their homework was producing a life chart of the path of their individual heart's journey. .

The second session, a week later, they all shared a childhood picture of themselves and shared their life chart with the group describing their individual journeys to find love and acceptance as well as themselves . We briefly talked about the war but they quickly realized their commonality ~ in that their lives had all been a quest to find meaning and that all of their love relationships had significant meaning. They were already a band of brothers on a common inner journey of the heart.
Brian felt that this was the most meaningful aspect of the workshop ~ " I loved the process of looking at our entire life and, in the process, finding understanding, compassion and forgiveness "

The third session, a week later, they did the Victim /Accountability exercise and had the chance to feel the lightness of being accountable versus the heaviness of being a victim. Their homework was to take the people they had resentment towards off the hook and realize that many of them they had deeply loved and were really gifts in their lives.
Carlos felt it was the most meaningful aspect of the workshop ~ " I learned to be truthful and and accountable for my actions and not to hide my feelings "
They were now a band of brothers on a common journey to find themselves.

The fourth session, a week later, they met the child within by means of a powerful guided visualization. Every one of them saw that long lost innocent child who told them what they needed to do to fully embrace him in their lives now. Their faces literally changed and became younger as they made that inner connection ~ it was like long dormant flowers suddenly blooming. I was moved almost to tears to see these Veterans suddenly claim their joy and innocence after years of self doubt and despair.
For Jim it was the most meaningful aspect of the workshop ~ " I felt the most meaningful aspect of the workshop was recognizing the pain and brutality experienced as a young boy and being able to get in touch with him for my healing". Their homework was to give that child a voice and hang out with him.

The Fifth session, one week later, was all about gratefulness and thanking the people who have been there for them their whole life ~ with the help of a guided visualization. Many of them had not thanked anyone and certainly not themselves. This brought Pedro face to face with a gratefulness issue he had long avoided ~ " The most meaningful aspect of the workshop was that it forced me to meet and confront issues I usually avoided "

By now the Band of Brothers were inspiring each other on their common journey through fear ~ they were beyond the point of no return. Their homework was to thank at least 25 people who had touched them before the next session. We still hadn't dwelled on the war for there was no need to. They were already healing themselves by taking responsibility for love and sharing gratitude with others.

The sixth session, one week later, was the Death Exercise where the group, through a visualization, were guided in a profound death exercise which helped them to experience the degree to which the people closest to them really knew them. The exercise actually simulates your death and the resultant shock of knowing that you did not truly share yourself with the people closest to you or that very few people really knew you. Obviously, it is a strong inner stimulus to open your heart with the people closest to you ~ and that was their homework to accomplish with the five people closest to them before the next session.

Most of them enjoyed the element of the unknown that they were continually coming face to face with in these sessions, especially Mike ~ " I'm finally not controlled by fear and I learned more about myself in eight weeks than I have in 44 years of my life ! "

The seventh session, one week later, reinforced that we are continually being called from within to the path of the heart, but few listen and fewer still respond. It is in this session that they understand that they have all been called to the inner journey of the soul ( through Love) versus the outer journey of the ego ( through Fear ). This session ended with a visualization exercise in which they realize that the most precious gift they have always wanted is themselves ~ free from fear.
For Brian, this was a very meaningful aspect of the workshop " I feel I have become more accountable to the inner voice of a better choice in my life and I know it's there to act on " The Homework as well as ongoing homework was to share the gift of themselves with others but in the spirit of celebration ~ not deprivation.
It was in that same spirit of celebration that we had our Eighth and final session where everyone acknowledged each others common journey through fear to the joy, love and light beneath. The resultant change in their demeanors was breathtaking. As Jim said, ." As I made it through each session, my prior anger and frustrations were eventually replaced by inner peace that grew over time. This workshop has been the single most beneficial therapy, in the shortest period of time, in my entire experience of seeking help since Vietnam"

It was also an incredible experience for both myself and Sal, a Veterans Readjustment counseling therapist who both recommended the group and then observed the sessions.
Sal's most meaningful aspect of the workshop was " continuing to witness and being reaffirmed the wisdom and compassion of the child within. This heart centered workshop should be the model in any Veteran healing treatment process. True healing and real change will never be possible without an opened heart ."

I was also humbled by this experience and validation of my empowering work as well as the receptivity of these veterans who obviously longed to be seen from the heart and not through eyes of fear. I literally saw a light go on within them when they took responsiblity for love instead of running away from it.
They had been trained many years ago to kill and I, in essence, jump started their hearts by re-training them to love and they began to heal themselves in the process by realizing that they indeed had another choice.
And we never concentrated on the war for the real war had been waged within themselves ~ and they were now victorious.
Band of Brothers #3 started on October 14th and all the particpants of #1 and #2 were there to briefly share their experience and offer support to their new brothers.
The beat goes on, the Band of Brothers continues to grow ~ and I, in turn, continue to be deeply moved by the most spiritually satisfying work of my life.
Allen L Roland
Freelance Alternative Press Online columnist and Psychotherapist Allen L Roland is also available for comments, interviews, speaking engagements and private consultations ( )

Allen L Roland is a practicing psychotherapist, author and lecturer who also shares a daily political and social commentary on his weblog and website He also guest hosts a monthly national radio show TRUTHTALK on

1 comment: