New Branch of The Soldiers Project Seeks Volunteer Mental Health Professionals

Chestnut Hill College Professor Establishing Local Soldiers Project Branch

Release Date: Tuesday, September 14, 2010

PHILADELPHIA, PA –The Soldiers Project, a private, non-profit independent group of volunteer licensed social workers, marriage and family therapists, psychologists, nurses and psychiatrists is establishing a branch in Southeastern Pennsylvania and is looking for volunteers. Those interested in volunteering can join a grass roots group of clinicians on September 23, 2010 at 10 a.m. in the Social Room, Fournier Hall to meet with project founder, Judith Broder, M.D. to learn more about the program.  

The new branch of The Soldiers Project is looking for licensed mental health professionals who could volunteer one hour of their time three or four times a month to provide therapy in their offices to veterans and family members. Nancy DeCesare, IHM, Ph.D., associate professor of human services at Chestnut Hill College is spearheading the establishment of the new Southeastern Pennsylvania branch.

The Soldiers Project was started in 2004 by psychiatrist Judith T. Broder, M.D., who believed that it was her professional obligation to help returning troops and their families to manage the myriad of war-related mental health issues. In conjunction with the Ernest S. Lawrence Trauma Center in Los Angeles, they jointly started a program to help veterans. The program provides free care for service men and women and their families.

Clinicians see active duty and members of activated Reserve or Guard units, and any military service member or veteran who has served in Iraq or Afghanistan.

In addition, services are available to the families and other loved ones of service members. The program provides help to service members and families struggling with issues related to the overwhelming trauma of war, including the cycle from pre-deployment through deployment, homecoming, and re-entry to civilian life. Services are entirely free of charge and they do not report to any government agency. Therapists are all volunteers and services are entirely confidential.

Now nearly five years since its inception, The Soldiers Project in the Southern California area alone has more than 200 volunteer clinicians with over 400 in the entire country. In the past six months, The Soldiers Project has more than doubled the total number of people it has helped nationwide. With calls coming in from all over the United States, affiliated groups have developed in Sacramento, Seattle, Chicago, New York City, Long Island and Boston.

Qualified volunteers must possess a professional degree and be licensed in social work, marriage and family therapy, couples, adolescent or child psychology and must carry malpractice insurance. The Soldiers Project requires clinicians to attend three educational seminars before they can offer their services to patients. The application process is complete when volunteers have undertaken these training sessions relevant to military culture, combat and homecoming. One of the trainings may be internet based. Two trainings must occur by attending an educational function of The Soldiers Project in person. All therapy services will be provided at no charge, even if the clinician is a member of Tri-Care or other insurance panel.

To reserve a spot at the information session on September 23, 2010 or to get more information about volunteering, please contact Nancy DeCesare, IHM, Ph.D. at