Processes and outcomes of a communalization of trauma approach: Vets & Friends community-based support groups

B. R. Balmer, John Sippola, Sarah Beehler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Veterans often experience challenges related to processing traumatic experiences and community reintegration, yet there is a dearth of research on promising community-driven approaches. This paper describes core processes and outcomes of Vets & Friends (V&F), a community-based support program that promotes veteran reintegration by healing trauma and moral injury using a communalization of trauma (CoT) approach. We conducted focus groups with 23 V&F group members. A mix of inductive and deductive codes were generated during thematic analysis. Critical themes identified included processes such as sharing narratives, connecting emotionally with experiences, feeling heard and accepted by group members, and listening as others shared their experiences. Outcomes included restoration of trust, connection with group members, building skills to manage trauma, and community acceptance and engagement. V&F shows promise in meeting veteran-specific needs by employing CoT approaches that offer opportunities to restore community trust and acceptance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2764-2780
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Community Psychology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Sep 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by the National Institutes of Health's National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (Grant no. UL1TR002494). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health's National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences. Doug Weiss and Sharlene Prinsen for comments on a previous draft. This study's procedures were approved by the University of Minnesota Institutional Review Board. All participants gave written consent to participate in this study.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Wiley Periodicals LLC


  • communalization of trauma
  • community-based
  • moral injury
  • peer support
  • qualitative research
  • trauma
  • veteran

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article

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