The “Achiad” Program
“Achi”-“ad” = “my brother” – “forever”
PTSD is a psychological response to the experience of intense traumatic events, for veterans with PTSD, flashbacks usually involve visual and auditory memories of combat. It feels as if it’s happening all over again particularly events that were life threatening. This became known as a “combat stress reaction.” Or as post-traumatic stress disorder.
When Beit Halochem first began looking into creating a framework of activities and programs designed to assist members with PTSD it realized this would not be an easy task. However, after having found a willingness to fund a pilot for such activity by one of our overseas partners, we were encouraged and urged by one of our members, a former POW who spent time in Egyptian captivity during the 1973 Yom Kippur War and who is recognized as suffering from PTSD, to proceed.
To move forward we began looking into the various, recognized organizations and institutions in the country that work with victims of Post Trauma and heard about the programs they offer. We also consulted with professionals from various disciplines and concluded that we would create a program, which would in fact be of a social/recreational nature and would consist of a group assistance framework.
In 2017 the first “Achiad” Program started to Work at Beit Halochem Jerusalem..
Since then Beit Halochem opened additional “Achiad” Groups for Zahal Disabled Veterans suffering from PTSD, in Tel Aviv, Haifa and Beersheva’s Beit Halochem centers.
The “Achiad” Program
“Achiad” support Group creates special activities, which include recreational and social gatherings, trips, workshops, lectures and more.
The program empowers and enhances the mutual support among its members, and empowers the participants within the framework of family and community.
The program also encourages its members to find activities which make it easier for them to deal with their PTSD.
The “Achiad” Group moderators are themselves wounded veterans suffering from PTSD, alongside professional moderators such as a psychotherapist and a social worker. At the same time the content of the group’s activities is determined by the members themselves.
The Programs Activity at the various groups around the country is overseen by founder Uri Ehrenfeld, and by moderator Ayala Shiloni.
What is PSTD? (post-traumatic stress disorder)
PTSD is a form of anxiety attack among people who have undergone significant trauma during their military service.
People suffering from PTSD are unable to free themselves from the experience, which remains with them whether they are awake or asleep.
Symptoms of PTSD
Repeated thoughts, dreams, Avoidance causes theperson to keep away from any stimulus that reminds him of the event, including places, people, etc.
Excessive arousal causes physiological symptoms, suspicion, fears, and extreme reactions.
All of these make the personal, social, employment, and other aspects of a PTSD victim’s life difficult.
Uri Eherenfeld, a former POW from the Yom Kippur War:
“One never heals from Post Trauma, but there are definitely ways to treat it, and this is precisely why these groups are being created. They enable each one of the members to play a meaningful role and determine what seems to work best for them on a personal level, alongside decisions made by the group as a whole which help him feel a part of something much greater.”
Advantages of the group framework
People suffering from PTSD frequently find themselves alone and isolated.
In the group framework, the person meets other people with similar experiences and who can understand and relate to what he is going through. The possibility of becoming part of a group of people with a shared experience is extremely important in rehabilitation.
Studies have shown that the existence of a reference group is the main advantage of the group support. Participation in the group is often likely to moderate the post-traumatic symptoms, and enable a person to gradually return to proper functioning, together with a place that facilitates better