More than 2 million American troops have deployed to the Middle East in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation New Dawn, and the Global War on Terror. North Carolina alone has deployed 50,886 of them. In addition, military members account for 36% of North Carolina’s population, which demonstrates the high need for competent services.
If there is one thing I know for sure, it is that providing clinical mental health services to active duty service personnel, veterans, and military family members requires a clear understanding of military culture. Prior to becoming personally connected with military life and culture, I did not fully grasp this importance and how vital this is to treatment and client outcomes. Developing a therapeutic relationship with a counselor that understands this is essential.
There are notable differences between military and civilian clients in:
· Culture and Mindset
· Mental Health Resources and Stigma
· Medical, Psychosocial, and Family Aspects
· Vocational Rehabilitation, Assessment, and Career Transition
· The Grieving Process and Cultivation of Resiliency
There are also distinct norms, values, and stressors faced by military families and children during deployment phases (pre-deployment, deployment, post-deployment, and community reintegration). Rarely are these understood fully by civilians with no military background or involvement.