Arlington Times


Red Cross helps military families reunite, reconnect, rebuild after deployments

February 28, 2012 · 2:33 PM

EVERETT — The Snohomish County Chapter of the American Red Cross is offering a new workshop called "Reconnections" for veterans returning from deployments, as well as their family members.

This workshop is designed to meet the unique needs of the veterans who participate, and facilitator Rick Fuhrman will help the group decide what topics to cover and what resources are included. The first in the series of five workshops runs from 6:30-8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 7, in the third floor classroom of the American Red Cross office at 2530 Lombard Ave. in Everett.

All workshops will focus on skills-building to enhance the likelihood of positive reconnections between armed forces personnel and their families following a military deployment.

"Deployments are a fact of life in the military," said Chuck Morrison, director of the Snohomish County Red Cross. "Whether a service member's absence is due to a training exercise, sea duty, combat or unaccompanied duty in a remote location, separation and reunification pose unique opportunities as well as challenges for all family members. The American Red Cross, with support from Walmart, developed a series of workshops to assist all military families in managing the family's readjustment to the service member's return."

Actively licensed and specially trained Red Cross mental health professionals will lead participants through information and discussions designed to help them identify and respond to the challenges of transitioning back to a changed family dynamic. The workshops are designed for service members and their spouses, as well as children, parents, siblings and significant others. Topics will include communicating clearly, exploring stress and trauma, identifying depression, relating to children and working through anger. Participants have the option of choosing any or all of the workshops.

Each workshop is approximately two hours in length. Participants can take them in any order and select those most applicable to their situation. Workshops are free to military members and their families, and occur in a supportive and confidential environment.

For those who are deployed far away, military personnel and their families face a continual pattern of separation and reunification. Picking up the threads of family life after a separation can challenge even the strongest family units. Some of these challenges may include:

• Readjusting to partners who assumed new roles during the separation.

• Engaging children who have matured and may resent additional oversight.

• Reestablishing bonds with spouses, partners and children.

• Readjusting to the returning service member's daily presence in their lives.

• Realigning family decision-making processes.

• Redefining family routines.

• Coping with long-term health problems following deployments.

To register, call Bev Walker at 425-740-2320 or 425-304-4477, or email her at walkerb@snohomishcounty.redcross.org.

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