“The journey helped me make order in my head about the experiences I had.
I’m so much calmer and quieter now.”
The program works as follows:
After screening individuals, a group of 15 – 22 is created. An initial Orientation and Group Cohesion is held over a two day period, under the guidance of the staff for that group - a psychologist and an outdoor trainer. Approximately 10 days later the group’s eight day journey takes place.
Journeys have been in the mountains, desert, and at sea; within Israel and abroad. A week after their return, a Closing Weekend is held. Participants needing additional professional assistance receive it through the organization and its partners.
The primary method is Professor Shlomo (“Mooli”) Lahad’s “Resilience” approach, relating to coping with pressure and stress by emphasizing the tools, strengths, and capabilities of the individual and the group.
“After the War, our son had come home, but something was different. There were jarring silences, overreactions of annoyance and anger. All his joy of life was lost, and we had to walk on eggshells. We are so grateful for the chance for him to leave the war behind, and to process and understand the experiences with his peers. Thank you for bringing back our son!”
Parents of a combat soldier
Initial research has shown that:
A significant number of participants in every group (an average of 3 in each group) are diagnosed as having full PTSD. Another significant number have some elements of PTSD – enough to present difficulties with daily functioning. For all participants, there was a notable increase in their ability to recruit a support group. For most participants there was an increase in their coping flexibility and emotional adjustment capability.
Further research is under way, including on the long-term impact and whether groups from the same units or heterogeneous groups are most effective. Meanwhile, the qualitative impact can be understood through the feedback from participants, their families, and professionals who accompany the groups.