Intensive Clinical Program for Families of the Fallen

As the rates of suicides among Service Members and Veterans have risen, so too has the number of survivors impacted by the loss. In 2017, Home Base collaborated with Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) to establish a first-in-the nation program for survivors of traumatic loss that combines evidence-based treatment for post-traumatic stress (PTS) and complicated grief.

In two weeks, Home Base’s Intensive Clinical Program (ICP) for Families of the Fallen provides 63 hours of treatment – the equivalent of more than one year’s worth of therapy – putting Families of the Fallen on a path of healing and hope.

Home Base’s ICP for Families of the Fallen Provides:

  • Individual Treatment
  • Group Therapy
  • Stress Reduction and Resiliency
  • Fitness and Nutrition
  • Integrative Therapies such as Yoga, Art and Tai Chi
  • Social Activities

Read Feature from The Boston Globe

The Need

Evidence-based treatments for post-traumatic stress and complicated grief remain very difficult for surviving family members to access. With consideration for the full range of normal and complicated grief reactions that survivors may experience, Home Base’s ICP for Families of the Fallen provides a safe space in which survivors are treated for traumatic effects on thoughts, feelings, and behavior, and begin to navigate a path of healing in the aftermath of their loss.

The Home Base Method

As a result of the unique nature of traumatic loss, Home Base has adapted its two-week ICP for Families of the Fallen to include treatment for complicated grief and post-traumatic stress. This program is provided at no cost to the survivor participants; accommodation, meals, and travel costs are covered by Home Base. Upon completion of the program, individualized case management services will be provided to ensure a smooth transition back in their home communities.

The Impact

To date, Home Base has served 24 widow survivors of military suicide from 15 states across the country through this two-week family ICP. PTSD, depression, and complicated grief symptoms significantly reduced; survivors report of their ability to participate in social roles, satisfaction with social role participation, and resilience to stress also significantly improved.

“Home Base provided an unbelievable opportunity for me to finally begin to recover from the grief I have been experiencing for the past eleven years. When I returned home, my family and friends saw a new person in me, ready to begin to experience life in a new way. I became much more open to trying new things and trusting in others.”
–Military Spouse Survivor.

What does this program entail?

The Intensive Clinical Program for Survivors is a two-week outpatient program that treats co-occurring PTSD, Complicated Grief, and depression. It is a service of the Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital. Treatment consists of individual evidence-based psychotherapy for PTSD (PE and CPT), group therapy for Complicated Grief, group In Vivo, Dialectical Behavior Therapy skills and mindfulness training, and wellness practice through yoga, fitness, nutrition, and art therapy.

What were some of the clinical results from this program?

Symptoms of PTSD, Complicated Grief, and depression are significantly reduced at the conclusion of the two-week treatment. We have just completed a 12-month follow-up with the first group of patients and found these improvements were maintained.

Who is not suitable for this program?

Individuals with significant medical conditions, unstable bipolar, at risk of self-harm, or unable to abstain from substance use during the full two weeks of treatment, are not good candidates for the program.

What do you do to bridge my patient back into treatment with me?

Each participant is assigned not only an individual therapist, but a social worker who assists with admission and discharge planning. At the conclusion of treatment, the individual therapist discusses the patient’s treatment with you to ensure a smooth transition back into care.

If you have additional questions, who should I contact? How can I refer a patient for this program?

Bonnie Ohye, Ph.D., ABPP is the Clinical Director of the Program. She can be reached at 617-724-5202