Hannah O'Brienn, Elisa Borah, Molly Platz

Program Evaluation

In addition to conducting research, the Institute works collaboratively with community stakeholders to evaluate existing and pilot initiatives to ensure successful implementation of military and veteran – focused programs. See below for some of the previous programs the institute has collaboratively worked on, supporting program evaluation efforts.

Veteran Spouse Network Programs

Veteran Spouse Resiliency Group (V-SRG) (2017-2023)

The V-SRG program connects veteran spouses to their communities by providing peer support groups that address a variety of unique challenges experienced by veteran spouses. 

Since it’s inception in 2017, program staff have continued evaluating the program to ensure efficacy, adjusting elements of the program based on participant feedback to ensure the program continues meeting the stated needs of those it serves.

 Based on pre-test and post-test program evaluation results collected in 2021-2022, participants in the program consistently showed statistically significant improvements in depression & anxiety, self-care behavior, perceived social support, and overall quality of life.

Funder: Texas Veterans + Family Alliance Grant Program(Texas Health and Human Services)

Veteran Couples Connect (VCC) (2017-2018)

The Veteran Couples Connect (VCC) program served veteran  and active duty couples in Central Texas where one or both couples was experiencing PTSD. The program aimed to both reduce PTSD symptoms, and strengthen the relationship by providing couples with tools to shrink the impact PTSD has on their relationship. Using Cognitive Behavioral Conjoint Therapy for PTSD (CBCT-PTSD), the VCC program served couples in a group setting, with five couples in each cohort. Through the 8-week program, couples received in-person group treatment from licensed clinicians. The program provided couples with an introduction to treatment, safety building, psycho-education about trauma and PTSD, and relationship strengthening skills. Program staff will evaluate the program to assess the intervention’s effectiveness and to improve programming for veteran couples in future cohorts.

Watch the below video to hear first hand from couples who participated in the VCC program. Listen to them talk about the challenges in their relationship, what the program was able to do for them, and why they think other couples could benefit from this model.

Mastering Your Marriage with Veteran Couples (2017-2018)

The UT Mastering Your Marriage project provided 21 veteran couples with marriage enrichment and support to address the unique challenges faced in their relationship after military service. The project worked in partnership with the Chris Kyle Frog Foundation, and with the support of a Texas HHSC Veteran and Family Alliance grant. Throughout the project, we developed and piloted a new curriculum, Mastering Your Marriage, that aimed to improve the quality of the couples’ relationship, including their communication, intimacy, conflict resolution, stress management, and managing symptoms of PTSD or a TBI, when present. The curriculum focused on both the veteran and the veteran spouse in providing tools for improving their relationships.

The UT-MYM program included a weekend Orientation Retreat followed by six months of marriage enrichment web-based curriculum delivered through a smart-phone app, online small group discussions, individualized follow-up phone calls, and a private Facebook group. The program culminated in a Capstone Retreat weekend to celebrate the couples’ hard work, and reinforce the curriculum content through in-person small and large group sessions. Program staff collected and applied evaluation data to improve ongoing programming for veteran couples in future cohorts.

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

Veteran Restore Program (2018-2019)

Implemented in partnership with Seton Ascension, the Veteran Restore Program, was an Intensive Outpatient Program that worked with veterans to treat Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The program model responded to the physical and mental health needs of each individual by including Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), group outings, and Resilient Yoga.

The Restore Program helped individuals reclaim their life after trauma by retraining the mind and body to learn it is no longer in danger by incorporating the following:

  • Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT): The primary component of the Restore program. CPT is an evidenced based, time limited treatment that helps individuals examine their thoughts and challenge their beliefs about what happened so they can heal from trauma.
  • Resilient Yoga: Helps individuals regain control of their body and its fight or flight responses.
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT): Provides individuals with tools to cope with and tolerate difficult emotions.
  • Resilience training and community outings: Will renew individuals ability to discover positive changes after trauma and feel comfortable in the world again.

This program was provided free of charge to Veterans regardless of their insurance. Individuals needed their DD214 as proof of service at the time of intake. Seton partnered with Lyft for free transportation to attend program sessions if travel was a limiting factor for participation.