A Marine Shares His Story

man in green jacket

Referred to Samaritan Center

My first time going to the Austin Outpatient VA clinic, I was waiting to see my Primary Care doc and struck up a conversation with another veteran. He told me about the Samaritan Center and how he’d gone there to get acupuncture for his back pain, and how much it helped him. He said he didn’t need his pain meds anymore, had been able to go back to training, and was actually sleeping through the night.

Not Sleeping

He had my attention. After 26 years in the military, I had back pain, knee pain, migraines, and I couldn’t sleep. Most nights I slept on the couch, either because I couldn’t get comfortable in the bed or because my wife and I were fighting. Sitting there at the VA that day, I had a feeling meds were in my future and I was willing to try anything before going on them.

Peer Support

I called up Samaritan Center and scheduled an appointment. The guy I talked to was a Marine like myself. He knew exactly where I was coming from. He set me up with six free treatments. I went in for my first appointment and that’s when things got really interesting.

Why Not?

The acupuncturist asked me all kinds of questions about my pain, and everything else going on in my life. Stress was clearly a factor. I had an idea that I might need counseling but I didn’t want to talk to just anyone. She suggested I speak with a counselor at the Samaritan Center, and I thought, “Why not? I was at the point where I’d try just about anything.”


A couple of months later, and I can’t believe what’s happening in my life and with my family. The counselor I talked to was a military spouse. We did something called EMDR for some of the bad memories I had that regularly gave me nightmares. I don’t have nightmares anymore.


The acupuncture also relieved my back and knee pain. I can still mess myself up if I train too hard or do something stupid, but I just go back in for a tune-up and I’m usually good within 1-2 treatments.

Couples Counseling

My wife and I ended up getting couples counseling, and our 10-year-old daughter saw a counselor for her anxiety. My wife and I still argue at times, but it never escalates the way it used to. We actually end up talking things out.


We know how to support our daughter now, and she is doing much better in school and just made her school’s soccer team – something that I don’t think ever would have happened without that counselor’s help.
- Chris, US Marine Corps Veteran