For many mental health providers, the focus on providing evidence-based treatments for deployment-related issues allows us to improve treatment outcomes for the patients in front of us. However, what about the patients who never make it to our door? While we know that many Service Members and Veterans are not likely to seek out specialty mental health care, patients do have regular contact with their primary care providers (PCPs).For many Service Members, the primary care clinic is the only contact with medical care, the place where the rubber meets the road, and all health care gets done.
Blog posts with the tag "Staff Voices"
Human-animal bonding relationships have existed as long as humans and animals have lived, worked and played together--evidence of positive relationships between people and animals goes back thousands of years. More recently, dogs were used to help heal psychiatric patients in the military as early as 1919 and throughout various wars up until the present. However, a quick look at the literature examining the benefits of this intervention shows that we have a long way to go in building empirical support for the benefits of Pet Therapy. For instance, the Department of Defense does not currently have a department-wide policy regarding Pet Therapy and does not specifically endorse any project or certifying body. Animal Assisted Therapy is not currently listed as an evidence-based therapy for any specific disorder and is considered a complimentary or alternative therapy. On the other hand, there is ample anecdotal evidence of the advantages, and the utilization of Pet Therapy is growing rapidly.
Working in an active duty Department of Defense (DoD) Behavioral Health Clinic can be challenging, with busy patient loads, complex cases, limited administrative time, and frequent short notice tasks. It can be a recipe for burnout, and those of us working there are often encouraged to engage in “provider self-care.” Such self-care is intended to be a daily ritual with the hope that doing so will prevent burnout and keep the caregivers healthy and productive. I’m a fan of the daily self-care model. I have an active social life, I regularly engage in my hobbies, I read, I exercise, I have a healthy diet, and even go to yoga. Even with all this text book self-care sometimes tragedy and adversity can crash into the personal lives of the caregiver.
Using virtual reality to help assist in the treatment of PTSD is nothing new. There have been numerous efforts to simulate stressful situations from the safety of a therapist’s office, including the Virtual Iraq program, the T2 Virtual PTSD Experience in Second Life by the National Institute of Telehealth and Technology and several others.
“The Invisible War” is an investigative documentary focused on sexual assault and harassment in the United States Military.