The Institute Divisions: Research, Healing, and Community Training and Empowerment

Lyda Hill Institute Photo Collage

by Gabe Taylor


A lot has happened at the Lyda Hill Institute for Human Resilience since the last newsletter was published in April. One of the more notable changes is the creation of three organizational divisions, which report to the Executive Director of the Institute. The divisions were created to address the need for focused areas of program specialization, allowing for better alignment with the mission and vision of the Institute.

After thorough analysis, extensive discussion, and internal debate, the leadership team arrived at a decision on how the Institute should be structured. As an organization with a focus on helping individuals heal from trauma through the cultivation of internal resilience, our work concentrates on three main areas – trauma and resilience research, clinical psychology for trauma survivors, and resilience-based education and training. With this in mind, the Research, Healing, and Community Training and Empowerment divisions were created.


The Research division fosters advancement in scientific discovery related to the field of human resilience by conducting basic and applied research focused on human adaptation to adversity. Scientific discovery provides the fuel for the creation of new models of mental health care supporting the human capacity to overcome, rather than treating trauma survivors as “sick.” When you dive into the numbers, the stats show that clinical outcomes for trauma survivors under the current pathology-based model are inadequate and that a new approach is needed.

Trauma research has shown that the cultivation of resilience within trauma survivors, provides a foundation for healing and leads to better client outcomes. Having trauma and resilience-specific research data is essential to understanding the various aspects of trauma and recovery, and formulating effective, novel therapies for trauma survivors. The Research division addresses this need by applying for trauma-related grants, conducting research, and incorporating that knowledge into Institute practices.

Institute research projects have been funded through governmental and private entities such as the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Department of Defense (DOD), the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the Colorado Springs Health Foundation (CSHF), the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), El Paso County Public Health, and the Gates Foundation.


The Healing division consists of two main parts. First, the Veterans Health and Trauma Clinic (VHTC), and second, Milestones Resilience Care, which will be launched in 2022. VHTC was launched in 2014 to address the mental health needs of Veterans and first responders who have experienced trauma. VHTC is the leading resource for Veterans, first responders, and their families, in the Pikes Peak region, providing access to resilience-based mental health care.

VHTC offers family-focused treatment plans, recognizing that one component of healing is having a support system in place that understands what the individual is going through. VHTC has therapists who specialize in family and couples therapy and who use innovative approaches to care. Providing over 7,000 services to clients per year, VHTC is working tirelessly to improve the lives of Veterans, first responders, and their families in Colorado. 

In 2022, the Institute is launching Milestones Resilience Care, which will be open to all trauma survivors. Milestones will be separate from VHTC and will incorporate knowledge gained through trauma and resilience research. Milestones will be a cutting-edge facility with programs focused on a whole-person care model that builds on individuals’ innate healing capabilities, cultivating resilience through integrated care by focusing on mind, body, and spirit. Milestones will bring together experts in biopsychosocial components of human functioning, all working collaboratively in the new wrap-around model. This will provide diversity in healing options, including evidence-based trauma therapy, massage, acupuncture, physical therapy, music therapy, yoga and other movement therapies, creative expression therapy, and technological interventions. Through the development of physical well-being, connectedness, and meaning, individuals will build inner strength, cultivate resilience, and find peace from past trauma.     


Community Training and Empowerment
The Community Training and Empowerment (CTE) division provides resilience-based trainings to individuals, organizations, and communities, empowering them with tools to overcome adversity. Events such as natural and manmade disasters, pandemics, and even workplace stress can lead to mental health challenges negatively impacting everyone involved. By building individual and collective strength, CTE programs foster critical skills needed to become more resilient. Within CTE, there are three main programs – Peer Support, Community Training, and GRIT.  

The Peer Support program trains employees within emergency response and other high-stress organizations to become “Peer Supporters” by teaching them basic counseling and support skills and providing them with knowledge about stress and psychological trauma related to their occupation. With this training, individuals can assist their peers with posttraumatic or occupational stress and guide them to an appropriate level of treatment when needed. The training also enables Peer Supporters to use their skills and education in their own families to foster resilience from within.

Over the past decade, the Community Training program has provided trauma and resilience-informed trainings and workshops to community members and organizations across the United States. Trainings provide critical education and practical skills in managing stress and fostering strengths that attendees can use in their professional and personal lives. Groups participating in trainings and workshops include first responders, healthcare organizations, counseling practices, legal services, parenting groups, and victim’s advocacy groups.

The Greater Resilience Information Toolkit (GRIT) program builds more resilient individuals, families, and communities by training participants to create meaningful connections within their social networks and equipping them with the information they need to build resilience within themselves, helping individuals to overcome adversity, and better support their family and community through difficult times. To date, the GRIT program has trained over 2,600 participants in 42 U.S. states and 10 countries.


If you would like to learn more about the Research, Healing, and Community Training and Empowerment divisions at the Lyda Hill Institute for Human Resilience, you can visit the Institute website here.



Tags: Newsletter October 2021Past Digital Newsletters