Counselor provides free group counseling sessions for veterans

Updated: Jun. 11, 2021 at 3:27 PM EDT
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PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - “We’ve got a lot of our veterans that come out of Iraq and Afghanistan. And a lot of those guys aren’t seeking the help that’s needed right now,” says Rick Stanley.

Stanley is a licensed counselor at the Counseling and Wellness Center in Parkersburg.

Twice a week he meets with groups of veterans to help them manage their PTSD in an open discussion.

Stanley says, “Sometimes when they’re sitting in the chair that we’re talking about, they forget and think that they’re the only ones that have ever had that problem. And what they found out was, ‘Hey, here’s a whole group of guys that have very similar thoughts that I have.’ And so, that helps them to be supportive, and they can help one another get through life in general.”

He has been holding these group meetings since 1993.

And he does it all for free.

He draws from his own experience in helping veterans during his time of service.

“Served the military in the army in 1970-73,” says Stanley. “Which gave me an advantage working with them. In fact, the work that I did in the military is exactly what I’m doing today.”

Vietnam veteran Carl Perry has been seeking help from Rick for more than 20 years.

“I kind of had a meltdown. And my wife said, ‘Get help or get out.’ And I decided that it would be better to get help. And I started coming to Rick’s group after that,” says Perry.

Carl says that he enjoys coming to group because of the close bond that he has with the rest of the veterans, and how there is no judgment involved.

“It’s just so easy to talk to and they’re great friends,” says Perry. “Didn’t know any of them until I started coming to group. And now, we’re great friends and you just wait until the next week so you can come back. It’s just a really good friendship and non-judgmental... Like I said, I’ve been coming here for 20 years, and I look forward to coming. And I’ll continue to come as long as Rick’s group is here to help me.”

Carl and the other veterans collect money for trips and events that they will take together in the future.

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