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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Program Being Taught to Dallas VSU Inmates

Tags: Dallas
March 11, 2019 12:00 AM
By: DOC Staff

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Inmates residing in SCI Dallas' Veterans Service Unit (VSU) are being taught a cognitive behavioral therapy program by Eric Darling of Valhalla Veteran Services. The program is being piloted at SCI Dallas, making it the first PA DOC VSU to make this type of programming available.

Of the 130 inmate veterans on the VSU at Dallas, 31 are participating in the program.

Darling, after attending the prison unit's annual Veterans Day program, contacted the VSU's social worker, Jocelyn Hillman, to inform her about the program. Hillman, Darling and the prison's Corrections Classification Program Manager Michael Goyne worked to bring the program to the prison, with each session being monitored by Hillman.

It is a 13-week pilot program that could end up being longer. The purpose of the pilot is to determine what works and to tailor the program for the specific setting of a prison VSU. Sessions are held weekly for two hours and include PowerPoint and videos.

The purpose of this program is to help incarcerated veterans develop an awareness of the transition between military life and civilian life while working on self-awareness to learn the skills needed to have healthy relationships, pro-social behaviors as well as work on their own spiritual development. The concept focuses on successfully transitioning from a "warrior" mindset and finding peace within the veteran themselves.

About Eric Darling:

Sergeant First Class (Retired) Eric Darling is the vice president of Valhalla Veteran Services (VVS). He was born in Scranton, PA, and he joined the Army in February 1987. During his tenure as the 55th Brigade Resilience Coordinator Sergeant First Class, Darling developed, managed and delivered the Army's Resilience and Suicide Intervention programs to more than 3,500 soldiers throughout the brigade. 

Since 9/11 Darling has lost eight soldiers to suicide, seven in combat and four to combined use of prescription drugs and alcohol. He created Valhalla Veterans Services in 2016 with the goal of helping veterans and their families find connection, purpose and hope. 

Readers can learn more about VVS at http://www.valhallaveterans.com/


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