PTSD Conference – kNOw MORE


November 18, 2017
Carterville, IL | John A. Logan College
9 AM to 4 PM

20 veterans a day still take their own life – EVERY day. Over 600,000 suffer from traumatic stress.

The silence is killing our veterans, and others, with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Through education, dialog and understanding, we can shatter the silence.

You likely know someone who has been affected by PTSD – maybe you have lived with it yourself. The invisible psychological wounds make it harder for people to understand, but are every bit as real and debilitating as physical wounds.

This conference is your opportunity to learn, engage and help by reducing the stigma associated with PTSD. Become familiar with what PTSD is, what it is not, how it affects lives, the resources and tools available and how they can and do create real and positive change.

You must pre-register by November 10.  

PD’s will be available for teachers and CEU’s will be available for: LCSW – License Clinical Social Workers; LCPC – License Clinical Professional Counselors; LSW – License Social Worker; and LPC – License Professional Counselors.  A fee of $15 will be charged for those desiring PD and/or CEU credits. The fee will cover the entire 6 hour conference. No partial refunds are available for those who desire PD and/or CEU credit but only attend the morning or afternoon sessions.

Sign me up!

This informative day will feature a resource room with materials from service providers and a wide variety of presenters, discussion groups and panels throughout the day including breakout session topics:

PresentationPresenterDescriptonBiography of presenter
WelcomePhil Gillespie
Cathrine Hoekstra, MA
Welcome and review of the day

Introduction of Keynote speaker
From Wound to Scar: What They Need to Know about PTSDCorinne Hinton, Ph.D.How PTSD manifests in veterans is an incredibly unique and individualized experience. Yes, protocols and patterns exist, but in our attempt to understand it, do we not also generalize and dehumanize it? Hinton's opening address will provide context for the remainder of the conference experience, drawing from qualitative contributions to the field to help us focus on the faces of PTSD, understand the stigmas in and outside the military, and challenge ourselves to reconceptualize PTSD as a mental health disorder. Corrine Hinton, Ph.D. received her doctorate in English with a concentration in Rhetoric and Composition from St. Louis University in 2012 and her Master's in English with a concentration in American Literature and Bachelor's in English from the University of Missouri – St. Louis. Her dissertation investigated the experiences of Marine veterans in first-year college writing courses.

As an assistant professor of English at Texas A&M University in Texarkana, Dr Hinton teaches courses in first-year composition, advanced writing, technical writing, grant writing, the teaching and peer tutoring of writing, composition studies, and research methods. In addition to teaching, she has nearly a decade of experience coordinating university learning and writing centers.

As a scholar, her primary research interest lies in understanding the experiences of veterans as they repatriate from military service to college classrooms. Her other research interests include investigations of the experiences of military veteran caregivers, in the US and abroad. Currently, she is working on a mixed-methods study investigating student veterans' integration of prior military knowledge and experience in college writing courses beyond first-year composition.

She has published her work in the book collection, "Generation Vet: Composition, Student-Veterans, and the Post-9/11 University" and in the veterans special Fall 2013 edition of the journal, "Composition Forum." She serves as assistant editor and a peer reviewer for the "Journal of Veterans Studies," the first journal dedicated to interdisciplinary work with student veterans.

On her campus, Hinton has worked as a faculty advisor with the Student Veterans Association, trained faculty on working effectively with student veterans, and is a designated Green Zone Veterans' Support Advocate.

In 2017, she was named a Fellow for the Elizabeth Dole Foundation to advocate for military veteran caregivers in the state of Texas. She is the proud wife of a retired combat Marine infantryman, the daughter of two retired Air Force veterans, and the mother of two boys.

Elizabeth Dole Foundation - Caring for Our Hidden Heroes
PTSD and SpousesWelby O'Brien
(Joining via Skype)
PTSD and What about Me is a stirring talk that Welby O’Brien gave at a VA Caregiver Conference. As the wife of a veteran, O’Brien shares 7 things that have been helpful to her on her journey in the world of PTSD.
Welby O’Brien is one of a kind. She may be a nationally sought after conference speaker and guest lecturer for groups and leadership training. And an expert on practical advice, including divorce, grief and PTSD. But what sets her apart is that she has lived it herself, researched it, and shares it all with hungry hearts. Impassioned with encouragement, O'Brien has been touching many with help and hope.

O’Brien holds a teaching degree from Biola University and a Master’s Degree in counseling from Portland State University. She is the author of "Good-bye for Now," and "Formerly A Wife," and "LOVE OUR VETS: Restoring Hope for Families of Veterans with PTSD." She is also a contributing author to "Chicken Soup for the Soul: Divorce and Recovery," "Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Spirit of America," as well as "Shepherding Women in Pain." Actively involved in leadership and teaching for over 30 years, O'Brien has also been a welcomed guest on radio and television, as well as a featured ‘expert’ in video productions.

O'Brien initiated and facilitates the national support network called Love Our Vets: PTSD Family Support. Her most recent book is LOVE OUR VETS: Restoring Hope for Families of Veterans with PTSD. She was recently honored as Woman of the Month by Oregon Women’s Report.

She and her husband live in Portland, Oregon.
Inattentional BlindnessSam HoekstraInattentional blindness is a psychological lack of attention. This singular focused phenomenon can cause people to miss out on the good things in life – like your children growing up or summer days at the beach. It can also cause someone to miss out on signs indicating that something may go wrong.

During this interactive session we will discuss how you can insure you are living your life to the fullest and participating in things that really matter. We will look at the impact of focusing attention on triggers and trauma rather than the world around us.
Samuel Hoekstra is a Peer Support Specialist, in Behavioral Health at the VA in Marion Illinois. He has been with them for over four years and is a National Certified Peer Support. In this capacity, he facilitates wellness groups and holds one-on-one sessions with veterans. Hoekstra serves as a liaison to the Veterans and Family Advisory Council as well as the Patient Centered Care committee at the Marion VA.

Hoekstra received a bachelors from SIU Carbondale in Industrial Design and is currently pursuing a masters degree in Public Administration, expected graduation in fall of 2018.

Hoekstra served in the United States Army for 12 years, reaching the rank of Staff Sergeant. During 5 years of active duty, he was deployed to Iraq twice and Afghanistan once. Unfortunately he was injured and put into the Army retirement program. Notable achievements are two Army Commendation Medals, two Army Achievement medals, and a Combat action badge along with numerous other medals.

Hoekstra is the founder of the veterans art show "Weapons of Mass Creation," a community recognized event in which veterans from all over the country submit artwork to be displayed in the week-long show. He thoroughly enjoys his part in helping veterans progress through their trauma.
What is a Service DogBehesha DoanHow does an Emotional Support Animal differ from a working service dog? This session will clearly outline the differences between the two, address the controversy around this issue that is ever present in the media and will provide information about the Americans with Disabilities Act as it relates to this topic.Behesha Doan is the owner of Extreme K-9, a professional dog training business focused on training both working dogs ad pets, and rehabilitating problem behaviors.Through This Able Veteran, Behesha has developed a veteran-centric model of care that involves the veterans, their clinicians, the service dogs and This Able Veteran. This unique model for trauma recovery not only trains dogs but also integrates them into a team of two with their veteran.Behesha is a gifted public speaker, lecturer and published author on the subject of canine behavior, communication and training. She holds certification as a Life Coach, with a specialization in trauma resiliency. She is a contributing author to “PTSD Service Dog Best Practices” a professional paper for Assistance Dogs International.
Moral InjuryChaplain LaRon Stover, BCC
Marion VA Medical Center
Moral injury refers to an injury to an individual’s moral conscience resulting from an act of moral transgression which produces profound emotional shame. Many feel a sense that their fundamental understanding of right and wrong has been violated. The concept of moral injury emphasizes the psychological, cultural and spiritual aspects of trauma. Service members are confronted with numerous moral and ethical challenges in war. They may act in ways that transgress deeply held moral beliefs or they may experience conflict about the unethical behaviors of others. This session will explore what moral injuries are, as well as how to repair moral injuries.Upon completion of high school LaRon Stover enlisted in the United States Army and was assigned to the 101st Airborne Division Band at Ft. Campbell, KY. During his three year enlistment, he completed a nine month tour duty in Saudi Arabia, as a part of Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm.In 1993, LaRon acknowledged a calling into the pastoral care ministry and returned to the East St. Louis, IL area where he subsequently became pastor of New Horizons Community Church. At New Horizons, he led a congregation of 150 members. It was during this time that he began the educational processes necessary to embark on his lifelong passion for professional ministry.LaRon has completed a Bachelor of Science degree in Bible with special emphasis in Christian Ministry from St. Louis Christian College, located in Florissant, MO. He has also completed a Masters of Arts Degree in Pastoral Counseling, as well as a Master of Divinity Degree from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary, located in Lynchburg, VA.In January 2011, LaRon felt led into the chaplaincy ministry and enrolled in Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) in the St. Louis Veteran Affairs Medical Center. During his tenure at the St. Louis VA, LaRon trained to become a chaplain and served as an Intern Chaplain, Resident Chaplain, and a Contract Chaplain. In 2014, LaRon became a Board Certified Chaplain through the National Association of Veterans Affairs Chaplains.Since February 2013, LaRon has served veterans enrolled for care at the Marion IL Veterans Affairs Medical Center as a Clinical Chaplain. On the weekends he serves as worship pastor at New Life Community Church, in East St. Louis, IL.
Raising Children in a Home with PTSD: "Normal" is Relative HereCorinne Hinton, Ph.D.Currently, there are more post-9/11 veterans with minor children than any other era. With climbing rates of PTSD and other trauma disorders among post-9/11 veterans, the concern for children raised in or alongside veterans with PTSD has moved to the forefront of developing research in the area. This panel will review recent research in this area and discuss it alongside narrative experiences collected by the lead presenter. See above
Your Service, Your Health, Our Focus - PTSD and AgingMelanie Adams, MADid you know that veterans are at an increased risk for Alzheimer's disease? It’s critical that we stand watch and look out for our fellow veterans. Join us to learn the risk factors and warning signs and what you can do to increase the quality of life for those diagnosed. Melanie Adams, MA is the Director of Education & Outreach for the Alzheimer's Association, Illinois Chapter. She holds a masters degree in Organizational Leadership and a bachelor’s degree in therapeutic recreation.

Adams has steadily progressed in her career beginning as a direct care worker to that of a consultant and manager of talent for the Greater IL Chapter’s education team. She has published several articles on living with a disease or disability, accepting everyone’s ability level, and supporting caregivers and honoring choice.

During the past fifteen years, Adams has trained both professionals and families facing memory loss and Alzheimer's disease and has been a valuable resource to her community. As a team leader across Illinois, Adams motivates and empowers her team and volunteers to deliver quality education and awareness of Alzheimer’s disease. She thrives on collaborating with other individuals and organizations to better serve the ever growing needs of the community needs.

Adams' personal mission is to support people without a voice and inspire and empower their loved ones to make a difference on their behalf.
PTSD is not a Life SentenceBehesha DoanWhat physical injuries can be to the body, Post Traumatic Stress (PTSD) can be to the mind. Because psychological injuries are invisible, they are often misunderstood and can completely rearrange the life of the person living with PTSD as well as those who love them.

While PTSD can affect those it touches profoundly, it is highly treatable and need not be a life sentence. Whether you’re living with PTSD or love someone who is, come learn more about what stands in the way of recovery and what helps kick open the doors to a reclaimed life.

Topics include:
• What two things are the biggest obstacles to recovery from PTSD?
• The power of questions
• What is your purpose
• Taking your power back
See above
Alternative TherapiesPaul Copeland, Lt. Col., USAF (Retired)
Cathrine Hoekstra, MA
Alternative Therapies for PTSD come in many forms. Some of those therapies include writing, art, music, acupuncture and yoga to name a few. This breakout session will feature Cathrine Hoekstra, a military spouse who uses writing through a personal blog to show how she, her army veteran husband, and their family tackle PTSD. Additionally, Hoekstra will discuss writing through a veteran writing group she facilitated at the Marion VA. Joining Hoekstra for this breakout session is Paul Copeland, Veteran Services Coordinator at SIU Carbondale. Information on alternative therapies will be provided.Lieutenant Colonel Paul Copeland was born April 11, 1961 in Frankfort Germany. He is the child of two Army Veterans, the family was in Germany due to his father’s assignment with the Armed Forces Courier Service. He is a graduate of DeSoto Grade School, Carbondale High School and Southern Illinois University Carbondale, earning a commission in the United States Air Force through the Reserve Officer Training Corps program on May 14, 1983. Then 2nd Lieutenant Copeland entered active duty October 5, 1983 reporting to his first assignment at Francis E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming after completion of training to serve as an Inter-continental Ballistic Missile Launch Officer. Subsequent Assignments included: Offutt Air Force Base Nebraska, two tours at Minot Air Force Base North Dakota, the Pentagon, Schriever Air Force Base Colorado and Peterson Air Force Base Colorado. Lieutenant Colonel Copeland commanded the 323rd Training Squadron at Lackland Air Force Base Texas. He retired from his final assignment with the Defense Threat Reduction Agency at Fort Belvoir Virginia after 27 years on active duty in June 2011. He is married to the former Susan McNally of Cheyenne, Wyoming. They have two children, Anya is 16 years old and Benjamin is 15. The family now resides in DeSoto, Illinois and Lieutenant Colonel Copeland serves as Coordinator of Veterans’ Services for SIU Carbondale.

Cathrine Hoekstra, MA is a military spouse, composition instructor, mother and advocate for veterans. Her husband, Sam, is a 2016 graduate of This Able Veteran. Hoekstra received her master’s degree in literature from SIU Carbondale in 2016. Her master’s thesis focused on the veteran narrative in war literature. While at SIU, she worked with student veterans in the composition classroom. Upon graduation, she began her teaching career at John A. Logan College where she teaches first year composition and continues work with student-veterans. Hoekstra has participated in national conferences with colleagues and scholars in the field of Veteran’s Studies and is a member of the NCTE, National Council of Teachers of English, and participates in CCCC, Conference on College Composition and Communication. In November of 2016, Hoekstra decided to share her family’s story with others in hopes that it would help those who are struggling, wanting to know about PTSD and providing some education on life with a service dog. Knowing that writing was always a great way to express feelings and ideas, she created a personal blog. With assistance from an anonymous donor, Hoekstra began writing her blog on a website, Walking with Memphis. In 2016 Hoekstra wrote a ten-week creative writing curriculum which was used in behavioral medicine at the Marion Veteran’s Affairs. After a successful group and demand for a second, Hoekstra wrote another ten-week curriculum and co-facilitated the group in the spring. A native of southern Illinois, Hoekstra lives in Carterville with her husband Sam, their two children, and their dogs.
Unhealthy Coping StrategiesHanna Wichmann, LCPC
This session will identify and discuss the unhealthy coping strategies used by many individuals who experience mental health issues such as PTSD. Additional objectives of this training include: participants will learn healthier alternative coping strategies; understand key factors for addressing mental health issues such as trauma, chronic stress, and anxiety; and gaining knowledge about community resources that support recovery. The training will also seek to help people understand the reasons individuals often turn to unhealthy coping strategies as well as strategies for supporting these individuals in their recovery journey. Hanna Wichmann, LCPC is a licensed clinical professional counselor and a nationally certified counselor, currently working at Centerstone of Illinois as a clinical manager. She has worked at Centerstone for over 6 years, starting as a case manager working with adults in the community before becoming a manager. Wichmann is originally from the southern Illinois area and grew up in Cobden IL. She attended Beloit College in Wisconsin for her undergraduate degree and earned her master degree in Mental Health Counseling from Old Dominion University in Norfolk Virginia. Wichmann’s professional interests are in severe and persistent mental illness as well as recovery and integrated care. Wichmann supervises two adult, community based mental health programs within Centerstone: Health Home and Assertive Community Treatment (ACT). Centerstone’s Health Home and ACT programs both seek to provide individuals who have co-occurring behavioral health issues and physical health needs with integrated services designed to support overall health and wellness. Additionally, Wichmann has participated in the National Council for Behavioral Health’s Addressing Health Disparities Leadership Program and is the project director for an integrated care grant through Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
What Is PTSDDr. Mike Thompson
Sam Hoekstra
Jonathan Mitchell, J.D., Facilitator
Dr. Mike Thompson is currently the Lead Psychologist for the Marion, IL, VA Healthcare System. In his capacity as a staff psychologist at the Paducah, KY, VA CBOC, he administers psychological testing, performs therapy, and consults with other professionals concerning the profession of psychology. Dr. Thompson earned his doctorate from the University of Louisville and completed his doctoral internship at the Federal Medical Center in Lexington, KY. He has worked in various mental health settings, including the federal prison system, the University of Kentucky Counseling Center, acute psychiatric hospitals and community mental health. He currently specializes in the treatment of PTSD, depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues faced by the veteran population.

Sam Hoekstra (see above for bio)

In addition to being an attorney, Jonathan Mitchell is also a United States Navy veteran. Jonathan has more than 16 years of combined active and reserve experience, achieving the rank of Commander in the Navy Reserve. He served in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom at Al Asad Air Base with the Base Command Group supporting the 2d Marine Air Wing. He also served in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan as a Rule of Law Field Support Officer with Combined Joint Interagency Task Force-435 in Helmand Province. Jonathan was also the Senior Justice Advisor at Afghanistan’s Justice Center in Parwan. He serves as an Officer in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps. His current military assignment is Executive Officer of the 6th FLEET Legal Unit.

Mitchell attended Baylor University and the University of Oklahoma Law School. He works as an attorney at the law firm Feirich/Mager/Green/Ryan in Carbondale, Illinois. He resides in southern Illinois with his wife and two daughters.
Veterans and spouses panelPam Largent, FacilitatorThis facilitated panel of veterans suffering with PTSD and their spouse/significant other will hold an open discussion about living with this psychological disorder. The veterans will talk about life before & after diagnosis, how symptoms manifest, impact on differing aspects of day-to-day existence, and navigating relationships. The spouses/significant others will talk about living with and loving someone dealing with PTSD. All questions from the audience need to be submitted in writing.Pam Largent serves as the President of This Able Veteran and has been on the Board of Directors since 2012. In this capacity, Pam is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the organization as well as leading the efforts for long-term growth and sustainability.

She has been a management consultant for over 25 years, retiring from the U. S. Treasury Department in 2017. In this capacity, she assisted in reorganizing the tax administration offices in various countries in Africa and the Caribbean. Pam holds a degree in Organization Development from Northeastern Illinois University. She did graduate work at Northeastern and American University. She completed the Organizational Development Program through National Training Laboratories Institute in Bethel, Maine. Pam specializes in organizational design and development, change management and leadership development.

Coming from a military family, she has been involved with the VFW Auxiliary for 20 years, serving in various District & Auxiliary officer positions. Pam has been a member of the American Legion Ladies Auxiliary and a volunteer at the Marion VA for over 10 years.
Traumatic Brain Injury 101Jeremy Rosene MS, LPC, CRC
Adolescent Integration & Supported Living Programs
Jeremy will discuss brain injury basics including how it impacts today’s veterans and the spectrum of consequences following brain injury. Also discussed will be strategies for caregivers and what to expect during recovery.Jeremy Rosene, MS, LPC, CRC is a combat veteran who served in the United States Navy from 2007 to 2010 and did 2 overseas deployments during that time. He is a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor and Licensed Professional Counselor with 4 years of experience working with individuals with traumatic brain injury and their families. He has been a direct care staff, case coordinator, and currently works as a counselor serving both adolescents and adults in a post-acute residential setting.

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