It’s Wednesday afternoon, and I’m sitting, cross-legged, on a meditation cushion in the dayroom at a Veteran’s hospital. There are 13 Veterans sitting around the room; some of them are outpatients and some of them are participants in a residential PTSD program. Some of them are sitting on cushions, but most of them are in chairs. Another psychologist and a few psychology interns are there, too. We are all sitting in silence. About seven minutes into the final period of practice in our mindfulness group, the thought that I knew was coming finally presents itself, front and center, in my mind.
Blog posts with the tag "Veteran"
While conducting workshops for decades around the world for many different types of individuals, both professionals and laypeople, the answer to the question I frequently pose to attendees—“Who here had a week recently devoid of problems?” leads consistently to an absence of raised hands. We all have problems—some small, and unfortunately at times, some being quite overwhelming. Based on this common sense consensus, we would all further agree that it is not abnormal or unusual to have problems.
When I was finishing up my clinical training on internship, I was co-leading a therapy group for WWII Veterans who had all been POWs while in theater. Here it was over 50 years since their military service and they all had the same complaint; they had not been able to get a good night of sleep since that time. This is unfortunately a common problem for Veterans and active duty Service members. There have now been several studies reporting high rates of sleep problems, in particular insomnia and nightmares.
Review of Leppma et al (2016) article on assessment of professional competencies working with veterans and military families.
What does it take to work with Veterans and military families?
Leppma et al. (2016) conducted a study to examine professional competencies deemed most relevant for mental health providers working with Veterans and their families. The study makes an important contribution to military psychology by taking the initial steps to define critical professional competencies utilizing evidence-based practices.
On a typical day driving in Washington, D.C., I spot two homeless men sleeping in tents beneath an underpass near the Kennedy Center and later see another disheveled man lying on a grate in front of a vacant storefront desperately trying to stay warm in Dupont Circle. The next day when I notice a person asking for change by the CVS near my apartment, I recognize his all too familiar face. “He’s been there for weeks,” I think to myself.