Date of Award

Fall 2021

Degree Type




Director of Thesis

Rhea A. Merck, PhD

Second Reader

Brian J. Klassen, PhD


This thesis details my experiences at Rush University’s Road Home Program during the summer of 2021. The Road Home Program is an intensive treatment program for veterans suffering from PTSD. It is unique from conventional PTSD treatments in that it provides the equivalent of six months of treatment in just two weeks. The Road Home Program approaches PTSD in a comprehensive way by implementing a variety of therapies and supplemental treatments to veterans. These therapies include Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT), Mindfulness Based Resiliency Training (MBRT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), and Art Therapy. The supplemental treatments include cognitive seminars, acupuncture, and individual consultations with clinicians.

During the summer of 2021 I watched the drastic change that occurred in veterans as they journeyed through the Road Home Program. At the end of two weeks, veterans experienced less intense PTSD symptoms as well as symptoms of comorbidities such as anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideation. Some of these veterans no longer met the diagnostic criteria for PTSD upon treatment completion. In addition, there has been research, done by the Road Home Program, that supports that these effects are retained up to a year after treatment (Held et al., 2020). I was inspired by the Road Home Program and how drastically it changed veterans’ lives in such a short amount of time. Moreover, my goal in writing this thesis is to share with others the hope and potential that exists for veterans at The Road Home Program. I argue that greater consideration and research be allocated towards intensive treatment programs such as the Road Home Program. Most veterans who attend the Road Home Program attest that it saved their lives and as such, this program merits greater consideration from the PTSD treating community in America.

1.Held, P., Zalta, A.K., Smith, D.L., Bagley, J.M., Steigerwald, V.L., Boley, R.A., Miller, M., Brennan, M.B., Van Horn, R., & Pollack, M.H. (2020). Maintenance of treatment gains up to 12-months following a three-week cognitive processing therapy-based intensive PTSD treatment programme for veterans. European Journal of Psychotraumatology, 11(1), doi: 10.1080/20008198.2020.1789324

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