Veterans Alternative is a Holiday, Florida based organization that specializes in providing services to Veterans who are experiencing symptoms of PTSD caused by their time in combat and/or military sexual trauma. They also welcome Veterans who served in support of combat, and the Veteran’s family. Veterans Alternative offers both daily programming for local vets and week-long Veteran’s retreats for eligible Veterans (out of state Veterans are welcome), and both opportunities are Service Dog friendly!
Veterans Alternative provides free access for eligible Veterans to proven, alternative PTSD treatment modalities that include yoga, iRest, Filipino Martial Arts, Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART), hydrotherapy, TRX physical training, and many others. While the Veterans Alternative center is open daily for local Veterans to stop by and participate in any or all of the day’s scheduled activities, the 6-day Veteran’s retreats offer the full treatment experience. There are typically 2 to 4 retreats a month, and the schedule can be found here, towards the bottom of the page.
Veterans from all over the country have attended the retreats, and if the Facebook reviews are any indication, let alone the news that spreads word of mouth, they’re a smashing success. Many of the reviews mention how Service Dog friendly the Veterans Alternative is, and how their partner was able to participate in everything, including therapy sessions, yoga, and the martial arts events, as well as accompany them on all retreat outings, field trips, and other experiences.
The treatment and therapeutic modalities offered are unique, interesting, and a lot of fun. Accelerated Resolution Therapy is a form of therapy that works to reduce or eliminate triggers and it works extremely quickly, sometimes even on the very first session! Yoga is offered in a variety of formats, and all of the yoga can be modified so anyone can participate. Filipino Martial Arts has be proven to provide significant cognitive benefits, as well as provide grounding and centering through physical movement and flow, all while reducing hypervigilance and providing an outlet for stress.
iRest is a form of guided meditation that reduces symptoms of depression and anxiety, and it improves sleep, focus and concentration. Other common retreat activities include experiencing SCUBA, boating, playing games, doing art or coloring, reading, and going on outings to veteran-specific or community-focused events. There are classes offered regularly in topics that help Veterans find employment or purpose, and resources are always available to veterans who need them.
There’s no judgement, and everyone (and their Service Dog, if they have one!) is welcome just as they are. The exception is an active addiction to drugs and/or alcohol. Lodging, meals, and during-retreat transport is all covered by the program. If a Veteran (and/or their family) is coming from out of state, they are responsible for their travel costs to the airport, and then the program will take over transport from there.
Veterans Alternative provides a highly supportive environment, and they’re ready to help combat Veterans and military sexual abuse survivors learn to move forward and activate their “post traumatic growth.”