Mental Health, Crisis Intervention

Center for Post Traumatic Growth

"Healing Hearts & Souls"

aka Center for Post Traumatic Growth

Gold River, CA


The mission of the Center for Post Traumatic Growth is to promote and support the healing of combat veterans, law enforcement, first responders, and their families, from the wounds of war and human trauma.

Ruling Year


Executive-Clinical Director

Melinda J Keenan PhD

Main Address

11344 Coloma Road, Suite 347 Suite 347

Gold River, CA 95670-4409 USA


Mental Health Treatment, Post Traumatic Stress, Moral Injury, Military, First Reponders, Families





Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Mental Health Treatment (F30)

Military/Veterans' Organizations (W30)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990-N.

Programs + Results

What we aim to solve

At the Center for Post Traumatic Growth (CPTG) we believe moral injury may be a root cause for the 22 suicides a day by our veterans and why first responder suicide rates are at an all time high. Moral injury is not a disorder it develops when highly competent and principled individuals (people of service) are repeatedly exposed to events which violate deeply held moral values and expectations. It is the most competent, principled and compassionate people that are the most vulnerable to these kinds of wounds. One of our veterans expressed his internal experience of moral injury this way, ”I feel like I have forfeited my membership card in humanity.” Moral injury stems from broken relationships between people; the severing of human connection through traumatic loss or perceived transgression against others (Keenan, Lumley & Schneider 2014). We must reconnect these individuals in a community of worthy others where they can make amends for their perceived transgressions.

Our programs

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Post Traumatic Stress and Moral Injury Treatment

Where we work

Charting Impact

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What have they accomplished so far and what's next?

The mission of the Center for Post Traumatic Growth (CPTG) is to promote and support the healing of combat veterans, first responders, and their families, from the wounds of war and human trauma. 1. To expand moral injury treatment to veterans, first responders, survivors of Military Sexual Trauma and these populations family members. 2. Reduce the number of suicides by these populations. 3. To treat and support the family members of veterans and first responders. 4. To educate communities about Moral Injury and Post Traumatic Stress (PTS)injuries and treatment. 5. To train other mental health treatment professionals to provide high quality treatments for Moral Injury and PTS.

At the Center for Post Traumatic Growth we believe that if unresolved loss and moral injury stem from the severed relationships between people, then the healing of these injuries must be in relationship with others. We believe two conditions need to be accomplished for healing to occur. First, one must communicate directly with those lost or harmed. This is accomplished in a trauma focus group where the veterans write letters directly to the others who were lost or they believe they harmed. Then the letter is read aloud to the group, a community of worthy others, who have walked the same path. Letter writing allows the direct communication between the individual and those lost or harmed. The letter transcends time, space and dimension. The group provides feedback to the individual about the letter helping the individual to process the event more deeply and to create a new relationship to the trauma narrative and to those lost or those harmed. The transformation of individuals lost or harmed nearly always occurs through either a dream or a transformation event. This phenomenon was described by Shay (1994), who stated that providing a narrative can transform distressing re-experiencing symptoms into welcomed memories, allowing the veteran to gain control of the traumatic recollections; we believe, a reflection of the repair to the interpersonal breach. Additionally, at the Center for Post Traumatic Growth we treat families, couples, and individuals

Most of the existing evidenced based treatments for Post Traumatic Stress (PTS) either focus on exposure paradigms which rely on systematic desensitization of anxiety and hyper-arousal (Prolonged Exposure and EMDR) completely missing the deeper unresolved loss, guilt or shame or cognitive interventions (CBT, CPT) targeting faulty thinking and the resultant “manufactured emotions” of self-blame, guilt and shame. These cognitive approaches are based on the idea that reasoning through the evidence will help the person to arrive at a logical conclusion about their culpability. However, trauma is not logical and trauma memory resides in the limbic system, the seat of instinct. Trauma defies logic and leaves the individual with a deep wound of the soul. Thus, we have found these interventions to miss the core aspects of trauma and moral injury and many people experience these interventions as dismissive of their deeper experiences and suggest that if they would just “think right” they would no longer be distressed. Our three-phased group therapy program developed and utilized since 2001, focuses on unresolved loss, guilt and shame. Phase 1: Psychoeducation (13 weeks) educates members about PTS, Moral Injury, related disorders, and promotes the development of coping skills. Phase 1 allows for a non-threatening introduction to trauma, builds therapist credibility, and begins the bonding process of the cohort. Phase 2: Trauma Focus group is a weekly, closed group, which meets for 9 months, with 10 members. Letter writing is used to promote healthy grieving and to resolve transgressions against others. Aftercare: focuses on recognizing and putting Post Traumatic Growth into action in members lives. The meetings are less frequent and taper down to a conclusion. Keenan, Lumley & Schneider (2014). At this point, we estimate we have treated at least 10,000 veterans using this approach with no suicides.

1. On going qualitative analysis and program evaluation to assess efficacy of the program and treatment outcomes. 2. Self-report client satisfaction questionnaires. 3. Continue to present at professional and community organizations and write in the literature to forward the research and development of best practices for treatment of moral injury care in veterans, first responders and their families.

Applications for such an approach, with other populations begin to come into focus, because trauma occurs between people in nearly all contexts. We argue we must offer interventions that address the core aspects of trauma, unresolved loss, guilt and shame (i.e. moral injury) if we are to reduce the number of individuals who lose hope and connection and turn to suicide to alleviate their anguish. Applications for Other Populations ● We currently provide this treatment with success to sexual trauma survivors and those with Military Sexual Trauma. ● We have also used the approach successfully with Gold Star families. We hope to expand our treatment to include: ● First responders of all types ● Peacekeepers We believe this approach may be applicable to: ● Survivors of terror attacks or mass shootings ● Victims of natural disasters ● Victims of violent/hate crimes ● Victims of political violence ● Cases of traumatic bereavement through accident or illness ● Accidents: Automobile, industrial, airline

External Reviews


Center for Post Traumatic Growth

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