Community Self-Care for Veterans and their Partners
- Chiropractic Care
- Reiki (Energy Work)
- Tai Chi
- EFT (Tapping sessions)
- EMDR Therapy
- Holistic Coaching
Local Community Care Providers and Retreat Counsellors
Warrior Songs: I am the daughter of a WWII veteran and the mother of army veteran. Over the years, the veterans have taught me by sharing their stories, their pain, and their healing. I bring the lessons that they have taught me to every retreat I facilitate. I have been a mental health therapist for 35 years. My experience has been extensive and broad. During the past 15 years I have been volunteering to work with our veterans, and am honored to do so. Experience with veterans includes:
- National Veterans Wellness and Healing Center – Angel Fire, NM.
- Currently working as a therapist and instructor.
- CORE: March 2017. Community Reconciliation Vietnam: travelled as a staff member working in clinics established by Vietnam veterans and witnessed veterans return to Vietnam and tell their story.
- Vet’s Journey Home: 2008- currently. Facilitating trauma release processes for veterans during retreats; Board Member; Instructor Committee and program, development.
- Warrior’s Song: 2010- currently: Board Member; program development for retreats; Facilitate retreats with Leader Team.
- Mountain Gate Center: NM. Zen Center: Facilitated a retreat for female veterans: September 2013
- Soldiers Heart: Regional Coordinator (2008-2010) Retreat staff with Dr. Tick; Developed Kent State: Vietnam and Art: lessons on understanding peace for children, 1-3 grades; attending Dr. Tick’s classes on War and the Soul.
- Warrior Summit, Milwaukee, WI (06/2010) Presented on the Effects of War on Children and Strategies for Families; Telling Your Story Without
- Department of Defense Conference: Albuquerque, NM (08/2010) Presented on Veterans and families, using art to tell their stories.
- Blue Mountain Center: 2009. Awarded fellowship: Project: War and the Effects on Children and Families.
- Marquette Listening Program: 2005 Developed the program “How to Listen to Veterans” and presented to the community.
Education: Master’s Psychology- UW- Milwaukee
BS Social Work – UW- Milwaukee
Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Counselor, Continued Care Provider- Taos
I have been a practicing therapist since 1984. Whew. That’s a lot of lives shared with me. I thank all my clients for helping me to develop personally as well as professionally. Being in practice for so many years has given me the opportunity to work with so many different issues, some of which are: marital; family; substance abuse & addiction; various kinds of trauma (rape, incest, violence, military); “life on Planet Earth problems”; communication issues & training; work related issues (often associated with family of origin issues).
An over-riding philosophy I bring to my work is that the client is the expert on him/herself. I am there to function in various ways – as a guide, a teacher, a confessor, a person who has devoted her life to understanding human behavior and extending skill and compassion as prominent healing tools. I have an eclectic training. My degree is a Master of Social Work and over the years my trainings have included so many things from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to Esoteric Healing.
What is common to the employment of any of the techniques I have been trained in is the application of compassion combined with encouragement to reach one’s own potential, to enter the healing process with courage and willingness to explore one’s self with ruthless honesty and to hold oneself responsible for the life we have had and the life we wish to create. This is no easy task but the results are worth the effort. One thing I can mention that is relevant to National Veterans Wellness and Healing Retreats is that for the last 9 years of my professional career I worked exclusively with Active Duty Military as well as their family members. I have been assigned 14 different rotations over that time that included Conus and Conus. Those years as a counselor included some of the most significant work I have done. The last 3 of those years I worked specifically with Special Operations Command, counseling Operators as well as others. Needless to say my learning curve was great and I consider it a great honor to have been able to serve those folks. In addition, my husband served in Vietnam in the Army. I have seen what I consider miracles of healing over the years. I believe in the work I am describing and my inspiration comes from what I have been privileged to observe over the years as well as the benefits and gifts I have personally received from my own work. People are often looking for kind of a “hero”, someone they can rely upon to lead the way. My experience has taught me that you are your own “hero” and if my presence, my expertise, my experience is helpful to you as you walk your path, it is my intention to offer that to you.
Counselor, EFT Presenter, EMDR,
Continued Care Provider- ABQ
In 2011 I came to the Angel Fire retreat with a dear friend and veteran and that retreat gave him a new quality of life that he had never known before and I began to use the tools for myself to heal more deeply my own wounds.
I expanded m knowledge base and began working more and more in my practice with trauma and with couples. I am the daughter of a World War II vet and have had two very significant relationships in my life with veterans. I feel drawn to serve my country by serving veterans and their families.
My practice is “Space For Grace Consulting”. I’m a Certified Holistic Kinesiologist, AMM minister, I have a BFA and I have advanced training in Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), Voice dialogue, and systemic family constellation. I facilitate a weekly drop-in EFT group that began in 2013. I co-facilitate a free veterans and their loved one stress and trauma release clinic each first and third Thursdays since 2005.
Counselor, Continued Care Provider, Taos
For the last 4 years Michael has been working in various community mental health roles: lead crisis counselor, director of intensive outpatient substance abuse services, director of family behavioral health services and team lead for ACT (assertive community treatment). Prior to that Michael was a holistic health advisor with advanced training in yoga, meditation and Ayurveda. Michael is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) with Masters degrees in transpersonal and clinical psychology, and is certified in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (CDBT) and clinical hypnotherapy. He is a long time spiritual practitioner, enjoys everything outdoors Taos has to offer, and is a proud and dedicated husband and father of 3.
Native American Indian Practitioner
Isaac Alvarez Cardenas is a member of the Tap Pilam Coahuiltecan (Qua-wheel-tek-can) Nation, Native American Indian, son of an Apache/Comanche mother Aurora and a Coahuiltecan father Dan, World War II Liberator of Italy. Isaac was raised in the inner city west side of San Antonio, Texas. Mr. Cardenas married to his high school sweetheart, Sylvia Ann for 40 years, father of two young adult sons, Michael Isaac White Cliff and Jason Adam Black Cliff and wife Marissa Cardenas, grandfather to Nico and Kylee. Isaac is currently working as Director of Program’s for the American Indians in Texas at the Spanish Colonial Mission’s (AIT-SCM) “Rites of Passage Program”. He was also involved in the conceptualizing of the Advance’s “Fatherhood” project in 1988. Mr. Cardenas is a graduate with a Masters in Science, Psychology Counseling at Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio, Texas. Isaac is also a Mental Health Counselor for AIT-SCM’s “Healing the Wounded Spirit” working with children, native youth, veterans and their families at Mental Health Clinics locally, statewide and nationally. Mr. Cardenas works and designs culturally competent and culturally inclusive native programs, for Native American Indians. He is the Traditional Native American Indian practitioner, prayer and spiritual leader for the, Tap-Pilam Coahuiltecan Nation. Isaac served 6 years in the United States Marine Corps in Logistics and as a Military Police. He is an artist in many medias, musician, playwright, actor, and producer of various public programs and entertainment. It should be noted that Mr. Cardenas and his family have chosen to reside in the inner city, working with high-risk, minority males, females, youth, veterans and their families for over twenty years. The purpose is to strengthen the family, and community by providing, information, education and art for cultural, spiritual support, mental wellness, parenting, social, emotional enlightenment.
D. Min., Mi’kmaq/Tsa-la-gi, Ceremonial Elder
Jane Ely, D. Min.: I am an indigenous person, the daughter of a World War II veteran who served in the Canadian Navy on Corvette boats and in the North Sea on submarine reconnaissance missions. My father returned to our family with severe combat stress as well as physical injuries. In those days, there was no tribal council to welcome him home with a healing ceremony—they were all overseas or were dead. Instead my father endured electric shock treatments prescribed by the military never recovering from the trauma of war nor his soul loss, eventually abandoning himself and our family.
My step-father was in the Danish Resistance during World War II; I grew up hearing his war stories, both witnessing and experiencing the devastating toll and emotional residue of unhealed moral wounding. This resulted in my family navigating around his severe mood swings and often abusive behavior. It left him deeply alone and isolated most of his life. At an early age I experienced soul wounding although no one in my family could talk about it. I married a Vietnam Veteran with post-traumatic stress. My husband survived two tours of heavy combat duty.
I recognize the generational wounds that many of us carry. These wounds need to be honored, to be folded into our lives, not separated and not compartmentalized. All my life, I have sought ways and means to heal the dissonance of living in two separate cultures informed heavily by war.
Through the years I studied psychology and became a healer under the mentorship of my Mi’kmaq grandfather and Tsa-li-gi [Cherokee] grandmother. They provided me with a spiritual ground upon which I could stand, ceremonies to help heal the soul and remember the disparate wounded aspects of myself, restoring me to wholeness, with reconciliation and acceptance. In the process of my personal healing I was able to interweave the academic aspects of cognitive therapy with my indigenous background and training. My dissertation, Doctor of Ministry, became a book on soul loss and recovery from an indigenous perspective. My second book, Coming into Balance, is meant to provide people with skills and tools for self-reflection and personal healing. It is a culmination of 30 years of life and work in the healing field.
Dr. Jennifer Fitch
Chiropractor, Continued Care Provider- Angel Fire
Dr. Fitch is a 1998 graduate of Logan College of Chiropractic School in St. Louis, MO and an Army Veteran. In 2015, she earned her certification as a Certified Chiropractic Sports Physician. She resides (and practices) in Angel Fire with her husband Mark, who is retired from the Army, and their two children.
Acupuncture, Doctor of Oriental Medicine, Registered Nurse,
Continued Care Program- Taos
I was born into a military family in 1951. My father was an officer in the Air Force and we travelled all over the country and to Germany and Norway during his service. It was a wonderful life for a child to explore so many lands and cultures, but I also saw the shadow side of military life. My dad‘s brother, Uncle Bob, suffered “shellshock“ in the Navy from his tour of duty on the USS South Dakota. After his discharge he was unable to function in society and, being a single man with deceased parents, he lived in a variety of Veterans homes for the rest of his life. As a child, I remember visiting Uncle Bob with my family and witnessing my father’s heartbreak over the loss of his brother who had become an empty shell of a man. I saw early on the effects of war and it made a lasting impression. In my 20s and 30s and 40s, after the Vietnam war, I found it remarkable that most of the Vietnam vets I spoke with were unwilling or unable to talk about their tours of duty. Most recently I have been acutely aware of the lack of services for veterans and the hardships vets endure in public life. It’s a national shame that veterans are not being supported and protected and cared for by the richest nation in the history of the world, the country which they served in good faith. When I see a homeless person my first thought is, I wonder if he or she is a veteran?
With all that said, I am honored to be a part of this retreat team that is providing respite and healing to veterans. In 2019 it is well known that all humans have some degree of PTS and sanctuary trauma, but war is the most fertile ground for personal and planetary trauma, and this type of therapy is an invaluable approach to healing the devastating effects of war.
I studied nursing in Baltimore, Maryland from 1976-1979, receiving my RN diploma from Union Memorial Hospital. I practiced nursing in a variety of hospital settings for 18 years, from progressive coronary care to adolescent detox to psychiatry.
In 1991 I moved to Taos and studied acupuncture at Southwest Acupuncture College in Santa Fe where I received my Master’s degree in Oriental Medicine and have been in private practice in Taos since 1996.
The beauty of Oriental Medicine is that it addresses our entire being: the energy body, the emotional body, the mental body and the physical body. Imagine that these levels are like the rings of a dartboard and the bull’s eye is the center of our energy body. When a needle is inserted, it goes to the bull’s eye and ripples out to all the layers of our being. If you have any concern about needles, rest assured that they are very thin, sterile and disposable after each treatment. I work with my clients in a very gentle, respectful way and also use sound healing, breathwork and essential oils. My goal is to assist in the release of pain and trauma and to provide a safe environment in which one can heal from the inside out. Healing comes from within our core energy body and acupuncture “flips the switch” to turn on the light for the body to release, rebalance and renew.
In ancient Greece, battle-weary warriors returning from war spent months in a special temple where they were treated before returning to their families and society. This retreat is the modern version of what was commonplace in ancient Greece. Blessed be that you have seized this opportunity to heal! I look forward to meeting each one of you and participating in your journey of returning to wholeness.
Dr. Susanne Tripodi
Acupuncture, Doctor of Oriental Medicine,
Continued Care Provider- Cimarron
Dr. Susanne Tripodi is a practitioner of Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine, licensed by the state of New Mexico. And is nationally certified. She earned a Master of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine degree from the Southwest Acupuncture College in Albuquerque, NM in 2013. She is in private practice at two locations: Cimarron and Raton, NM. There she focuses on the individual patient providing comprehensive care while strongly supporting the integration of eastern and western medicine. She and is committed to helping people reach their utmost potential in physical, mental and spiritual health, thereby, treating a variety of specific conditions and symptoms.
She has been working with the Angel Fire Veteran Retreats since September of 2017 and is dedicated to assisting Veteran’s with their healthcare needs.
Dr. Karla Koch
Acupuncture, Doctor of Oriental Medicine,
Continued Care Provider- ABQ
Dr. Karla is a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine (ND), a Doctor of Oriental Medicine (DOM) and a Registered Nurse (RN).
While an undergraduate and graduate student in pre-medicine and psychology, she was dismayed to find that conventional medical training failed to acknowledge the influence of lifestyle on health and disease.
Seeking to expand the standard concepts of health and prevention, Karla went on to earn an ND in 2001 from Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in Tempe, AZ. This is a four-year post-graduate medical program that includes basic medical sciences as well as clinical training in a wide variety of natural medicines and therapies.
In 2003, Dr. Karla completed a four-year acupuncture and herbal medicine program at the International Institute of Chinese Medicine in Albuquerque.
She also developed her nursing skills for 10 years at the University of New Mexico Hospital.
Her passion is in combining these varied and valuable approaches to profoundly improve health and vitality. She has headed up her private practice at Salubrio Healthcare since 2005.
Reiki Master, Continued Care Provider- Taos
Patricia Rogers is a Holy Fire® III Karuna® Reiki Master Teacher. Approximately, 15 years ago she was introduced to Reiki and the healing arts during her own crisis. Though difficult, she is grateful and will never forget what has brought her to where she is today. Through this, Patricia embraced and delved deeper into learning various healing techniques. She knew whole heartedly that everyone should be able to access these alternative therapies and began offering healing sessions. There is nothing more magical than bearing witness to seeing the spark within another ignite and watching their inner light grow brighter and stronger. In a session, Patricia channels divine healing energy to clear the energy field resulting in greater physical, emotional, mental and spiritual balance. The benefits include relaxation and feelings of peace, security and wellbeing. It works in conjunction with all other medical or therapeutic techniques to relieve side effects and promote recovery. In May 2017, Patricia was a participant at the Angel Fire Veterans’ Wellness Retreat with her sister. Her passion is sharing her knowledge and working with clients and their families as they navigate their healing journey. Currently, Patricia is currently providing sessions in Angel Fire, New Mexico and exploring new techniques while continuing to deepen her connection.
Reiki, Continued Care Provider- Santa Fe
Wendy Jordan has been doing a variety of alternative healing modalities for over 15 years. She is a Reiki Master who has a private practice in Santa Fe and also teaches classes to be certified in Reiki healing techniques.
So what is Reiki? Reiki is an ancient healing art that uses hands-on healing to promote an optimum state of health by working with the energy system of the body. While the client relaxes on a massage table, healing energy is passed from the practitioner to the patient by placing the hands lightly on or above the body, allowing the energy to flow into areas that are in need. Special attention is paid to areas of the body holding physical or emotional pain.
Additionally, Wendy is trained in meditative journeying and trauma release, which she adds to her Reiki treatments. This technique has proven to be a gentle, healing form of stress reduction and helps trains the mind to deal with overwhelming and negative thoughts.
This is Wendy’s fifth veterans retreat and she enjoys working with both the veterans and their partners as they go through this healing journey To learn more about Wendy, check out her website www.JoyousJournies.com.
Reiki, Continued Care Provider- ABQ
My Name is Susan and I am a Chakra Energy Therapist. The Energy work that I do leaves you happy, giggly and relaxed! In a session I will give you mental tools to use in your everyday life. Energy work can help with relaxation, mental fatigue, anxiety and sleeplessness. So what happens in a 45-minute session? Good Question!! First, you lay on a massage table (if you can, or sit in a chair) your shoes are the only clothing removed. there will be crystals in your hands, and you will get to smell some Chakra Oils. Second there is a cranial massage (I won’t be touching you BUT you will feel it!) Third I do a toxin pull. Fourth a Grounding. I am happy to answer any of your questions, so please ask!
Qi-ssage, Tai Chi, Massage Therapy,
Continued Care Provider- Eagle Nest
As an expert in mind-body integrative therapy and a licensed massage therapist, Frank has been improving the lives of others for more than 15 years. He is a US Navy veteran (1968- 1977, submarine reactor operator) and retired 911 dispatcher who understands the long-term healing needed to come to a place of peace and balance. Frank is a certified instructor in Qigong breathing techniques and evidence based Tai Chi programs.
I live in Angel Fire and have for over 20 years with my husband and four children. I have a degrees in biology and psychology but have found a new application for my passion of mind and body connection in yoga. I received my 200 YTT training in 2015 and now teach restorative and alignment-based yoga in Angle Fire and Taos. I homeschool our children, love to hike and play outside, relish trips with my husband, enjoy a cup of coffee with a friend and can’t get enough of music that comes from the heart. Yoga has uncovered a deeper understanding of who I am and cultivated a longing to know myself better.
Glad to be here! A yoga practitioner most her life, Carol sees the practice and benefits of yoga to know no boundaries! She encourages and teaches ways to draw breathing, stretching, balancing, mindfulness and meditative practices into daily living. Since leaving ‘corporate America’ in 2015, she promotes corporate yoga programs, senior yoga classes, SUP (stand up paddle) yoga and mixed level classes at her home and studio, Circle Y Yoga Ranch, in Weatherford, Texas where she lives with her husband, Trellis, their dogs and horses. She is the proud daughter of US Navy Veteran (Korean War) and sister and aunt to active-duty and retired US Army Soldiers.
Trauma-informed yoga (TIY) is her passion as she teaches veteran classes and retreats in Texas and excited to now be in New Mexico! She leads classes at the VA Outpatient Clinic in Fort Worth, Texas and has instructed ‘Yoga PT’ for Texas Army National Guard. Her mission is to teach active military, veterans & their families ways to improve internal readiness on and off the mat, by increasing body awareness and nurturing natural responses toward greater health, resiliency & connection with themselves and others.
Education & Work Experience (that has got her where she is today):
- Warriors At Ease Level 2 Instructor
- Yoga Warriors International Instructor
- E-RYT 200, RYT 500 (Registered Yoga Teacher)
- American Heart Association Instructor
- Dementia Program Facilitator
- 1985 BBA, Midwestern State University
- 2002 Associate in Arts, Weatherford College
- 2013-Present, Founder/Owner/Teacher, Circle Y Yoga Ranch, LLC
- 2016-Present, Co-Founder, ATLAS CPR Training
- 2017-Present, Founder/Volunteer, Connect Camp for Adults with Dementia
- 1982-2015, Canon & Xerox Government & Commercial Dealer Sales/Computer Training/Mktg Support/HR
Massage Therapy, Continued Care Provider- Angel Fire
I’ve been a massage therapist since 1990 and also taught at a massage school for 10 years (Anatomy & Physiology, Medical Massage, Pathology were the classes I taught). I also got a degree in Exercise Science so that I could help my clients with appropriate exercises to enhance their health and well-being and to recover from injuries. I have worked in Angel Fire for about 10 years, and have participated in the veterans’ retreats since the very beginning.
Massage Therapy, Continued Care Provider- Taos
Patti Jayne-Halpert has worked as a massage therapist for 25 years, beginning her studies in Maine and completing them in Albuquerque NM at Universal Massage Therapy Institute in 1994. After graduating in the top three of her class she went on to work for medical doctors, chiropractors and acupuncturists until she relocated with her young family to Taos NM in 1996. Since that time she has been in private practice, worked at the Taos Massage and Wellness Center, various salons and most recently in the Taos Ski Valley at the Alpine Village Suites. Patti’s work focuses on trigger point and myofascial release techniques within a nurturing massage experience. She aims to provide a safe, loving, nonjudgmental environment for her clients who come from all walks of life, each with their own precious story. A co-owner in a national organically certified skin care company from 1993 to 2016, Patti uses high quality ayurvedic oils, rich organic creams and muscle gels to enhance and bring added healing to each massage. Patti is the daughter of a career Navy dentist, was born and raised in the military and has a number of close family members who have served in the Army, Navy and Marines.
Phoenix J Ryshia
Massage Therapy, Continued Care Provider- ABQ
I am PhoenixJ, born Ashley Ryshia Marie Kennedy, but life happens! I began my transition from Ashley to Phoenix after I came home from the Army in 2011.
I came home with a laundry list of issues including: anxiety, stress related immune-disorders and PTSD. I was angry, misunderstood and demonstrating erratic behavior. I wanted peace.
I treated myself to my first massage and knew instantly it was what veterans needed! The healing impacted me so deep I enrolled in massage school and the rest was history.
Years later, I have earned experience from around the world and found myself within a world of shamanic healing.
“To be a blessing, is a blessing.”
Becoming a licensed practitioner helped me heal while I gave back to my community. I’ve created a unique shamanic fusion of bodyworks from around the world I call my own. My practice is cozy with seriously chill vibes (Can’t stress that enough). I’m an old soul in a new world and only want those I serve to leave my space feeling confident, empowered and happy they came. Come to relax, come to visit, come kick your feet up and talk to someone who enjoys to listen!
Holistic Coach, Continued Care Provider- ABQ