Mandy Gibbons Podcast with
Barry Zworestine

Mandy Gibbons Podcast Show with Special Guest: Barry Zworestine, Combat Medic, Psychologist, Author “Which Way Is Your Warrior Facing- an operational manual for current serving and veterans transitioning into civilian life”.

Barry's a registered Psychologist with 20 years experience providing compassionate and relevant support to Australian Veterans and their families impacted by military service.

As a Combat Veteran Barry uses his operational experience creating language, providing tools and insights to facilitate effective transitioning into civilian life.

In 2022 Barry published his book “Which Way Is Your Warrior Facing - an operational manual for current serving and veterans transitioning into civilian life”.

Barry's core vision is that no Veteran should have to come home to die.

Side note: I absolutely loved this episode... We covered a lot of ground...Whether you're currently serving, a Veteran, a family member, or in the field of supporting those who have served... I highly recommend you watch or listen to this episode.

Barry's insights, experience and love for supporting his "brothers" is freaking beautiful.


Barry shares his story of being born and growing up in what was then called Southern Rhodesia. Playing a lot of sports, then went onto University, spent 4 years becoming a teacher and decided that wasn't for him.

Barry was then called up in 1976 to the Rhodesian Army, at 23 years old, did an advanced medic course, and was transferred to his unit on the Mozambique border and was allocated to a group of three others, High Density Force Operations, flooding areas in 4 man sticks and patrolling from 7 to 14 days, in areas where terrorists walked from 30 to 300.

On leaving the Army, Barry went back to University and became a Hearing and Speech Correctionist, working in that field. Then headed to Australia, working with Austistic children and travelling, learning about Australia and country life.

He left Australia, went to England, worked for a mountain bike company... Went to Israel, started and built from the ground up the British Council English Language Center, with 5 other people. Where Barry started doing Marathons and cycling through the desert on his mountain bike.

Barry left and then went onto to study Psychology, completed a 2 year Masters, and internship. And got into Ultra Marathons.

In 2000 Barry came back to Australia. Started a private practice, and was contracted to work with Veterans. And has been working with Veterans for 20 years. And learning from them.
And learnt that there was so much wisdom in the territory of Veterans that wasn't being drawn on in the healing of Veterans.

Barry developed a way of talking to Veterans, that's based on operational territory, supporting them as they're transitioning into different situations in life, empowering them so they have these skill sets.

In the military they say "never leave anyone behind"... Barry helps Veterans not to leave themselves behind. Go back get yourself, bring back the positive qualities and heal the wounds, then combine the positive qualities with the civilian.

We talk about Barry's incredible book: “Which Way Is Your Warrior Facing- an operational manual for current serving and veterans transitioning into civilian life”. The book invites you to go on a journey to both operationalise your territory, define your map and orientate your compass as you learn to transition into civilian life.

And embodies the core lesson that all change requires the ability to become comfortable in the face of discomfort, and help guide you forward as you bridge towards a stronger sense of identity and purpose as well as form a strong connection with those you care about.

Barry and I talk about identity. And feeling stuck in that. "Is your backpack weighing you down?". And discusses settling the shame that Veterans don't like to talk about... so they can feel freedom.

We talk about the challenges Veterans experience when transitioning into civilian life. And how Barry helps Veterans powerfully navigate through that.

Barry shares his insights into the small steps. And the importance of finding and choosing discomfort that's manageable, creating stillness... And gives the example of a Sniper.

And gives amazing examples translating so much of what we discussed into operational language. Including how your body is your weapon and how are you taking care of it.

Earning the respect, listening, understanding and trust of Veterans when supporting them in Post Traumatic Growth.

Why "avoidance" works against thriving.

We discuss depression, grief, despair, feeling defeated, suffering, pain, darkness "the long dark night of the soul"... And moving and stepping out of that.

Living the healing of your body. Have emergency protocols when you're feeling like you're out of control eg... anxiety, panic. Barry shares some techniques and insights into this.

That in the military tribe, you don't have to be alone. The importance of ensuring you have connection and a tribe.

Rediscovering your fire and resilience. And "What's next?"... And how this is so dynamic.

Barry speaks about Open Arms... Veterans and Families Counselling.

You can connect with Barry here...

Open Arms that Barry speaks about in today's episode:

Thankyou again, Barry, for your incredible work and for taking the time to share with us on today's episode.

Mandy "Resilience Mastery" Gibbons
Resilience And Anti-Fragile Coach For Men

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© 2024, Mandy Gibbons - Resilience Coach For Men