News Article Details

Fort Smith's Harbor House to be home base for new trauma recovery team

Times Record - 6/30/2019

Jun. 30--Anxiety, depression, abuse and other unhealthy conditions and disorders can be found in many places in any given community, and that is why the members of a new, Fort Smith-based team are taking their skills, mission and clients seriously.

Those words originated from Tyler Limore, program operations director for outpatient services at the Harbor Recovery Institute/Harbor House in Fort Smith. Located at 4500 Kelley Hwy., Harbor Recovery Institute serves as the home base for the recently formed Trauma Recovery Team, which consists of Limore, Krista Boncheff, Dawn Carpenter, Memory Boucher and Eva Wood. The team provides counseling for individuals who have experienced various forms of trauma.

"We are excited about our new Trauma Recovery Team and us being to help other people," said Limore, who specializes in Dialectical Behavior Therapy, with a focus on Borderline Personality Disorder. "We think this is something that will benefit the area."

Limore said he's confident in the abilities and dedication of his team members. Boucher, a certified counselor, specializes in women's recovery from interpersonal trauma. She said her oldest client is older than 60.

"We really do help people of all ages, and we help both males and females," Boucher said.

Boncheff, who has worked in the area of substance abuse and behavioral health since 2014, is a certified Clinical Trauma Professional and obtained advanced training in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. EMDR, which is an interactive therapeutic treatment for helping trauma survivors to process painful events and relieve psychological stress, is an effective treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder, according to the team members.

During EMDR therapy sessions, the client "relives" traumatic or triggering experiences in brief doses while the therapist directs the client's eye movements, states HealthLine.com. EMDR is thought to be effective because recalling distressing events is often less emotionally upsetting when the individual's attention is diverted (and) this allows the individual to be exposed to the memories or thoughts without having a strong psychological response, the site states.

"Over time, this technique is believed to lessen the impact that the memories or thoughts have on the individual," states HealthLine.com.

One way the team incorporates EMDR treatment is by using a device called a TheraTapper, which transmits vibrations to two small items that are held in the client's hands.

"The vibration is sent out and you can change the intensity of it and the frequency, and it's kind of like measuring rapid-eye movement in a person," Boncheff said.

Wood and Carpenter also have been trained in EMDR. Wood also is trained in the areas of nurturing parenting and anger management and holds experience in helping families reunify following traumatic events.

One who recently obtained her master's degree in social work, Carpenter has worked as substance abuse counselor for about four years and is working to obtain national Trauma Recovery Coach certification.

"When you are helping someone, you have to have that trust and show them that this is a safe place," she said. "It's a safe place where they can share with you the trauma and their experiences. Getting them to open up is important, and how long it takes that person to share with you depends on that individual and their situation."

"And some people normalize the trauma," Wood added. "They might think the trauma is normal, or that they don't even realize the trauma they've experienced."

When progress is made with each client, the importance of that success isn't taken lightly, Boncheff said.

"I was speaking with someone just the other day, and they were telling me how they reacted completely different to something than they would have six months ago," she said. "That progress and that person recognizing that progress is a big success."

Despite the success, there still is more headway to be made with clients, Boucher said.

"Statistics from a few years ago show that 6.9 million women were victims of stalking or rape," she said. "Those statistics also show 93 percent of hospital emergency room visits were the victims of an intimate partner."

Harbor House also offers a 24-hour telephone recovery support service -- the numbers are (479) 434-6285 or (866) 798-9232. The service can provide weekly phone calls to people who are in recovery from alcohol addiction and/or drug addiction. Trained individuals in the telephone recover support (TRS) program provide support, encouragement and information about recovery resources, Limore said.

"We're excited about the team, and we tell people to call us for help," he said. "Usually, it's not the person who needs help that makes that first call to us. It's usually a parent, a spouse or someone else who is concerned.

"But we want people to reach out so we can help them," Limore added. "They can call us at (479) 785-4083, they can contact us online and they can just walk through our doors here. We get a lot of people needing help who just walk through our door, and that's great."

Those seeking more information on the program and Harbor House's other services also can visit RecoveryHhi.org and the Harbor House, Inc. Facebook page.

"It's like those situations where that military veteran with PTSD tells you, 'You don't know what it's like,'" Limore said. "I tell them, 'You are exactly right. I have no idea what it is you're going through, but please tell me. Please help me understand.'

"We want people to know that we're here for them," he added. "We are here to help people."

All of the other team members echoed Limore's comments.

"We can talk to anyone, really," Boucher said. "Come talk with us."

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(c)2019 Times Record (Fort Smith, Ark.)

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