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Patient Stories

Rosen Family Wellness Center
Helps Those Who Help Us

Steven, a career US Army officer, was deployed to Iraq in 2006. His assignment was to ensure that wheeled vehicles, weaponry and generators were in good repair and properly functioning for critical troop support. More than once, he was required to photograph a vehicle damaged by an improvised explosive device (commonly referred to as an IED or a roadside bomb). Bloodstains in the vehicles were disturbing evidence of the possibility of injury or death to his fellow service personnel or to himself.

Carolyn, Steven’s wife of two years, was on Long Island, with her family in Texas. She had a stressful one-hour commute to her job, and she worried about him constantly.

When Steven’s year-long tour of duty ended and he came home, there was a joyful reunion. But after a couple of years, it was clear that during his year in Iraq both had been through stressful and difficult
experiences that had affected them deeply. The couple knew they needed help, particularly because they were now a family, with the arrival of their son in 2010. A volunteer for the Family Readiness Group on Steven’s base recommended the Rosen Family Wellness Center and they signed up
for couples therapy.

The Rosen Family Wellness Center of the North Shore-LIJ Health System was founded in 2006 to help law enforcement and military personnel and their spouses and families. The center offers private and confidential counseling, wellness and health programs, parenting and child programs, referrals to other professionals and crisis counseling — all at no cost. About 60 individuals, couples andfamilies receive counseling every year.  
  Ms. LeBron counsels clients at the Rosen Family Wellness Center

Steven and Carolyn worked with Elysa LeBron, LCSW, clinical director of the center. “We used an evidence-based, manualized treatment by Candice Monson, PhD, and Stephanie Fredman, PhD, called Cognitive-Behavioral Conjoint Therapy for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder,” said Ms. LeBron. “It is designed to help decrease common symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder such as depression, anxiety, anger and sleep difficulties, improving couples’ relationships in areas challenged by the combat experience, such as trust, emotional and physical intimacy and power and control.”

"We had a lot of communication issues,” said Carolyn. “Steve would come home at night in the military mode, and he would want to boss me around. I would get angry, and he would shut down and walk away. Elysa gave us techniques for improving our communication skills — she even gave us homework.” “I got better at staying in the discussion rather than storming away, and she got better at cooling down,” Steven said. “We learned to slow the tempo and really listen to each other — to understand the other person’s point of view.”

“People often try to bury or seal over a traumatic experience, but it doesn’t work in the long term,” said Ms. LeBron. “We help our clients peel away the avoidance and really look at the experience — with the goal not of erasing it but of understanding it and making it meaningful — for both of them, in the case of couples therapy.”

“What we went through was tough,” Steven said, “but we’ve been able to look at it, accept it and use it to make us and our marriage stronger. We are very grateful to Elysa and the Rosen Family Wellness Center.” Steve and Carolyn have two more sessions with Ms. LeBron and then they are
moving; he has been transferred to a base in the South. With their marriage on a much sounder footing, they are looking forward to this new chapter in their shared life.

“The therapeutic modalities we offer at the Rosen Family Wellness Center have proven effective, and I would like to stress that they are free of charge and confidential to qualifying members of the military and law enforcement communities,” said Ms. LeBron. “No one should ever think that he or she can’t afford to get help. It’s the health system’s way to give back to the men and women in the military and law enforcement who give so much to us.”

To find out more about the Rosen Family Wellness Center, call Elysa LeBron at 516-562-3260 or
visit NorthShoreLIJ.com/NSLIJ/rosen
 

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