August 22, 2013

Local group helps soldiers fight post-war battles

Jessica Lane, Staff Writer,
The Express-Star


Sometimes the war doesn't end after a soldier comes home. 

Every day, 22 veterans commit suicide in the United States, Marshia Byte, Chief Operating Officer at Byte and Associates Counseling, said.

Byte and Associates Counseling in Chickasha is offering a weekly veteran support group at 6 p.m. on Wednesdays at 117 S. 7th Street in Chickasha. The cost of the group is a sliding scale based on income and ability to pay. 

"We want to make this group available to anyone who needs it," Byte said. 

Soldiers may develop post traumatic stress syndrome from being in battle, but coming home may be a shock all its own. 

A lot may have changed during the years they were serving, Byte said. This could include changes within the family, finding employment and on the job issues, drug and alcohol problems, anxiety as well as transitioning back into normalcy. 

"We decided it was a service that we needed to offer to the community," Byte said. 

Byte said that some veterans may be concerned about the stigma of counseling, but she assured that the support group and counseling is confidential. 

Byte and Associates have other services for veterans including one on one counseling as well as helping veterans get in touch with financial, employment and psychiatric resources. Starting Sept. 27, there will be a psychiatrist available at Byte and Associates as a resource for veterans involved in the support group or counseling. 

One on one counseling is available for veterans who may not be comfortable in a support group setting, Byte said. 

While the veteran's support group is strictly for veterans, Byte said they also want to reach out to at-home survivors, such as people who have lost a spouse during war, to come in for counseling. 

Byte said that Sara Riley has been instrumental in getting the group started as well as finding resources. 

About the counselors (courtesy of Marshia Byte):

This group is co-facilitated by Gary McAtee and Glyn Byte.  Gary is a Licensed Professional Counselor and a Licensed Drug and Alcohol Counselor.  He is a 17-year vet who has almost twenty years of counseling experience since separating from the military.  He has worked in many and varied settings: Community Mental Health, Drug and Alcohol Programs in the prison system and has been contracted with our agency providing individual and group therapy as well as drug and alcohol assessments since 2001. While working at the Community Mental Health Center, Gary worked with veterans both in support groups and individually. 

Glyn Byte is a Licensed Professional Counselor and is under supervision for his Drug and Alcohol License. Glyn has also worked in many different settings.  He served as a Military Life Family Consultant for families at Ft. Sill, worked with adolescents at an alternative school, was a mental-health tech in an in-patient facility and for the last ten years has been in private practice and serves our agency as Clinical Director.  Glyn has extensive training and experience working with post deployed GIs with PTSD.  He is in-network with Champ VA, MHN and Tricare and can provide services through those entities.