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Dr. Bridget Cantrell was appointed the 2008 and 2004 Outstanding
Female Non-Veteran for her service to veterans by the Governor’s Veterans
Affairs Advisory Committee and the Washington State Department of Veterans
Affairs. In 2008, she received the Didi Hirsch Foundation Leadership Award for
Erasing the Stigma of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
She has her Doctorate of Philosophy in Clinical Psychology and is a
private practitioner. Dr. Cantrell is one of a small number of specially selected
and trained mental health providers for the Washington State Department of
Veterans Affairs PTSD Program, under the supervisor Thomas Schumacher, MS
Director. She is also a provider under the Mental Health Fee Service Program,
Puget Sound Veterans Health Care System (Seattle VA Medical Center). She also
holds various contracts in the state of Washington one of which is the Vet Center
Contract, which enables her to see combat veterans.
Dr. Cantrell is also an honorary member of the Red Feather Society,
which is a Native American Combat Veteran’s association on a national level.
This honor is as result of her work, knowledge and dedication to veterans. She
has also been extensively exposed to the understanding and meaning of the
Native American Ceremonial Rituals, which offer an alternative approach toward
combat trauma recovery. She has worked with veterans for nearly twenty-years.
Specializing in trauma for several years her primary work now
encompasses treating war veterans from all eras and their family members. She
also works with those veterans who have been sexually abused while serving
in the military. In 2003, she received the Highest Productivity award for the
Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs (WDVA) PTSD program.
Her dissertation research entitled “Social Support as a Function of
PTSD within Washington State Vietnam Veteran Populations” was
presented to the Washington State Senate Select Committee for Veterans as part
of the Governor's Master Plan for the needs of veterans. Her research included
a five-site sample of Vietnam veterans’ bio-psychosocial needs that was used for
planning future programs for the King County Veterans Program.
Dr. Cantrell's research findings were formally presented at the European
Traumatic Stress Conference, Edinburgh, Scotland. She was also invited to
present her study in Brisbane, Australia at the Brisbane International Traumatic
Stress Conference, as well as the International Society of Traumatic Stress
Studies meeting, New Orleans, Louisiana.
In the Spring of 2004, she formally invited by the U.S. Army to provide
mental health services to the paratroopers of the 173d Airborne Brigade stationed
in Vicenza, Italy. While there, she focused upon helping these troops reintegrate
with their loved ones and readjust to peacetime conditions after their prolonged
combat exposure in Northern Iraq. Information and observations from this time
of working with the Iraqi Freedom veterans gave birth to a new workbook course
entitled “Turning Your Heart Toward Home”. This course was followed
by the co-authored book “Down Range: To Iraq and Back” … which now
has more than one million in print. In her latest co-authored work, “Once a
Warrior: Wired for Life” Dr. Bridget Cantrell takes readers on to the next
step in the process of coming home and re-integrating when a tour of duty is
finished. This book focuses on how to once again become a civilian after being
trained in for military duty.
Dr. Cantrell’s newest books: “Souls under Siege: The Affects of
Multiple Troop Deployments—and How to Weather the Storm”, will
help us all find ways to support and tend to those living under the pressures of
multiple deployments. Its thrust is to not only expand awareness of the issues
involved, but to also outline sensible tools for finding relief in these trying times.
“Souls under Siege” is not a book to sit idle on your shelf. It will become a
useful guide to be used over and over again.
Once a Warrior: Wired for Life” the new interactive workbook
comes alive and takes participants on the next step from theory to practical
application. Following closely with the concepts of her book "Once a Warrior:
Wired for Life" Dr. Cantrell has formulated this interactive guide in fifteen
practical steps. It is an easy-to-follow workbook course geared to assist military
personnel in utilizing their tremendous potential in achieving success and
happiness after military service. It highlights a successful path on the journey
from warrior to civilian.
She is frequently under contract with the Department of Defense to
provide her workshops and lectures to military bases all over the U.S., Japan,
Okinawa, and Italy. She also provides community-oriented lectures to inform the
civilian sector on how to best assist our men and women in uniform and their
Dr. Cantrell is a member of the American Psychological Association
(APA), Association of Traumatic Stress Specialists (ATSS) and The International
Society of Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS). Currently she is the Founder and
CEO of Hearts Toward Home International, a charitable non-profit organization
dedicated to the recovery and reintegration of trauma survivors. For the past
three years since 2008, her non-profit organization Hearts Toward Home
International has been recognized and given the Best of Bellingham Award in
the Non-profit Charitable Organization category by the U.S. Local Business
She is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in the State of Washington,
a Nationally Board Certified Mental Health Counselor. Presently, she provides
mental health services to active duty from all branches of the military, reservists,
and Guard troops and their families. This work focuses on treating military
personnel who have experienced combat exposure or trauma, family deployment
stress and readjustment issues after coming home. She assists family members
in supporting themselves and their deployed loved ones. Dr. Cantrell is also
involved with veteran advocacy at the Federal and State level to uphold the
rights and ensure proper treatment of veterans. She sits on the board for several
Dr. Cantrell also trains first responders (law enforcement, firefighters,
EMTs, hospital personnel, etc.) to better understand their role in the success of
our warriors with whom they come in contact. She also works with educational
institutions and perspective employers to assure that our veterans are treated
fairly and with the care and respect they deserve in order to succeed in the
civilian sector. She is also an expert witness for court cases for our military
service members and civilians. Dr. Cantrell serves on several boards, and panel
discussions regarding the rights and needs of our veterans and active duty
She has appeared on television news programs: CNN, FoxQ13 and several
other television shows. Dr. Cantrell is a frequent guest on numerous radio
broadcasts, Internet programs, as well as military Chat Rooms as an expert in
the field of combat trauma and PTSD recovery. She was recently featured in a
documentary focusing upon the challenges of our female warriors, which is soon
to be released. She also filmed a television pilot, which presented interviews of
returning troops and her perspective on these adjustment issues. Dr. Cantrell
focuses upon the current issues our troops and their families face before and after
their deployments, which includes PTSD, TBI, and a multitude of adjustment
challenges associated with military service.
She is heavily involved with Veterans groups, which recognize and
honor their sacrifice. She has participated with various community veteran
organizations: Combat Veterans International a national motor cycle group
of combat veterans, Run for the Wall (Rolling Thunder) Memorial Ride from
California to Washington DC, and The Traveling Wall offering support and is
actually on call for her local veteran community. She is regularly asked to speak
at Stand Downs, Veteran Events and Tribal Functions.
Dr. Cantrell travels extensively around the globe teaching and lecturing
military personnel (leaders, Chaplains, medical and mental health practitioners
as well active duty troops who are in and out of Iraq and Afghanistan) and
their families regarding the different aspects of the deployment cycle and re-
integration. Her workshops have been given in both the European and Pacific
Please contact her directly to schedule a time when she can work with
your unit or organization (360) 714-1525 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
References are available upon request.
Click here to visit Dr. Cantrell's website.
Click here to view Dr. Cantrell's blog.
Click here to listen to Dr. Cantrell’s broadcasts about PTSD and Combat Recovery on iTunes
Dr. Cantrell lives in the Pacific Northwest, where her office is located.
Biography updated 2011.