The Soldier's Project

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 27, 2008 - A group of volunteer mental health professionals that offers its services to troops and their extended families will host a conference May 16-18 in Los Angeles for military members who have served in the global war on terror and those who interact with them.

Officials of the group, called The Soldiers Project, said the conference theme is "Hidden Wounds of War: Pathways to Healing."

Dr. Jonathan Shay, the first keynote speaker on the conference schedule and a psychiatrist at the Veterans Affairs outpatient clinic in Boston, will discuss combat trauma. U.S. Rep. Bob Filner of California, chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, will deliver the final keynote address.

In between, conference attendees will hear from other mental health professionals, veterans and military family representatives who will speak on everything from the impact of war on the soldier and family to challenges facing therapists who counsel military personnel and families.

Another workshop, titled "The Treatment of Mind, Body and Spirit," will focus on different methods for treating issues facing those individuals, said Dr. Barbara Schocet, a licensed clinical psychologist based in California.

"It's a marvelous opportunity for people to really learn from experienced therapists," she said.

Those who arrive in time for the first evening will be privy to a special performance of "Action Conversations." The performance is the culmination of a workshop that joined veterans, performing artists and activists in a series of verbal and physical conversations about their lives, their life histories, and aspirations. It was directed by Victoria Marks, a choreographer who challenges stereotypes and taboos, according to her Web site.

Those interested in attending The Soldier Project's first national conference can visit the organization's Web site to register for a discount before April 18 at 5 p.m. Pacific Time. Full-time students with valid identification also receive a discounted registration rate.

Health or mental health professionals also may apply for 12 hours of continuing education credit, Schocet said.

The Soldiers Project is a supporter of America Supports You, a Defense Department program connecting citizens and companies with servicemembers and their families serving at home and abroad.

*Related Sites:*
The Soldiers Project  [ ]
The Soldier's Project [ ]