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Newsletter | Fall 2022 | South Central MIRECC

New and Updated Resources to Enhance Care for Veterans with Anxiety, Trauma, or Chronic Illnesses

Our Clinical Educator Grant program helps VISN 16 and 17 mental health providers create and share resources that improve treatment for rural and other Veterans who face barriers to care. We give these products to Veterans, VA providers, and the public for free. Visit our Clinical Educator Products webpage to access all of our products.

Two people celebrating at an atheltic game

An Active Approach to Recovering from Trauma: Breaking the Cycle of Safety Aids and Avoidance

Developers: Joseph W. Boffa, PhD, Amanda M. Raines, PhD, C. Laurel Franklin, PhD, and Jason T. Goodson, PhD

This guide helps Veterans understand how trauma affects their lives. It will help them recover from any lasting reactions to trauma that are keeping them from living life to the fullest. They will learn to identify behaviors that are keeping them stuck in their recovery and learn a step-by-step method for changing them. This guide gives hope for recovery and the confidence to accomplish goals.

  • Learn about common reactions to trauma and specific ways it impacts life.
  • Understand how problematic avoidance behaviors (called “safety aids”) keep Veterans stuck in their recovery from trauma.
  • Discover what safety aids are being used to deal with distress and plan ways to learn how to live without them.
  • Review other resources that can assist recovery from trauma.

Three people sitting around a table for a therapy session

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Strategies Guide for Anxiety and Trauma-Related Problems in Living

Developers: Jeffry S. Bethay, PhD, BCBA, Jonathan Weinstein, PhD, and Whitney Stubbs, PhD

This guide supplements the current VA Evidence-Based Practice (EBP) for ACT for Depression (ACT-D) protocol. It includes information and treatment materials relevant to anxiety and trauma-related disorders. It is meant for clinicians with training and experience in the ACT model, such as ACT-D EBP or similar training. This is not a treatment protocol.

    • The guide starts with a discussion of clinical anxiety and exposure therapy from an ACT perspective. It includes case examples.
    • It is organized into sections according to the core ACT processes.
    • The introductory sections:
      • Give clinicians a brief overview of each process as it relates to anxiety and trauma.
      • Suggest uses for the handouts and exercises.
      • List exercises and activities from the VA’s ACT Coach and Mindfulness Coach mobile/tablet applications to support work relevant to process areas.
    • The handouts and exercises for Veterans:
      • Were developed by the authors or adapted from various empirically supported ACT protocols for anxiety, trauma, and depression.
      • May be selected and used by clinicians as needed for individual case conceptualization with Veterans.

A winding forest trail

Adjusting to Chronic Conditions with Education, Support and Skills

Developers: Jeffrey A. Cully, PhD, Melinda A. Stanley, PhD, Michael R. Kauth, PhD, Aanand Naik, MD, and Mark E. Kunik, MD, MPH

ACCESS is a psychosocial intervention specifically designed to address the physical and emotional issues faced by chronically ill patients. The goals of the intervention are to empower individuals via patient-centered education, teach self-management strategies, and use goals and action plans to increase skill use and success.

      • Involves six active treatment sessions (weekly meetings of 45-60 minutes for session 1, and 30-45 minutes for sessions 2-6).
      • Content in sessions 3-6 is flexible, allowing the flexibility to spend more than one session on focused skills, as needed.
      • Follow-up booster sessions (10-to 15-minute phone calls) are used to help solidify changes over time.
      • The length of the total treatment (active treatment and boosters) is 16 weeks.


Last updated: November 10, 2022