Staff Perspective: A Look Back at 2022

Staff Perspective: A Look Back at 2022

Chris Adams

Before we dive headlong into the new year, we're going to take a quick look back at some of the highlights of the blog from the previous year. In this week's entry, we'll be showcasing one post from each month by various CDP staff and faculty members from throughout the year. We hope you'll take a walk through 2022 before joining us for 2023!

JANUARY: Post-Holiday Blues – A Common “Seasonal Depression" by Dr. Deb Nofziger - Ah, the post-holiday blues! We've all seen them, if not in others than in ourselves. Why do they happen? How do they actually make a lot of sense? This blog shares a way to explain this phenomenon that can actually help people understand their increased depression after the holidays in a way that lessens their potential guilt for having the blues. 

FEBRUARY: A General’s Personal Story Raises Awareness about Bipolar Disorder: by Dr. Paula Domenici - Recently, I heard a news piece about Major General Gregg Martin, Ph.D., U.S. Army (Retired) that sparked my interest because typically an individual is disqualified from entering or serving in the military if they have a history of bipolar disorder. Yet General Martin served for years with undiagnosed bipolar disorder. His doctors have speculated that his latent condition may have been triggered when he was serving as a brigade commander leading thousands of soldiers during the assault on Baghdad in 2003.

MARCH: Active Listening and Military Couples: by Dr. Marjorie Weinstock - Recently Dr. Jenny Phillips wrote about ways that military couples can manage expectations and communication while deployed. One of things that stood out for me was the recommendation to utilize active and open communication. As part of an ongoing project, I’ve recently been diving into the literature on therapeutic encounter skills (e.g., empathy, active listening), and I realized the relevance that active listening has when also talking about couples’ communication.

APRIL: Recognizing the Experiences of Diverse Military Families - A Brief Introduction to Blue Star Families Racial Equity & Inclusion: by Dr. Jenny Phillips - Blue Star Families (BSF), widely known for initiatives to better understand and support military families, recently launched an extensive diversity effort, the BSF Racial Equity & Inclusion (REI) Initiative. This post provides a brief introduction to one of the BSF REI’s first products, a study of the experiences of service members, Veterans, and families of color. Links to access additional information about the study and the larger BSF REI Initiative are provided.

MAY: Military Spouse Employment - A Top Military Family Issue: by Dr. Lisa French - I have been a clinical psychologist for almost 20 years. Nine of those years were as an active duty Air Force (AF) psychologist. Additionally, I have been a military spouse for almost 14 years, with three of those years overlapping with my active duty service. Both roles have their own rewards as well as their own challenges. And (as you can imagine) when you combine the two, things can get a little interesting.

JUNE: The History of PTSD Awareness Month: by Dr. Carin Lefkowitz - We observe PTSD Awareness Month every year at CDP by writing new blogs about PTSD, offering several workshops on PTSD assessment and treatment during the month of June, and focusing our monthly CDP Presents webinar on the topic. Yet few of us (including myself) know the history of PTSD Awareness Month and how we came to observe it every year.

JULY: Call 988: by Dr. Libby Parins - Since 1968 Americans have known to call 911 during emergencies to activate either the police, fire department, or emergency medical response. When my own house caught fire in late 2019, as I ran to find a garden hose in the dark, I yelled to my then 15 year old son, “call 911.” It’s a phrase so ingrained in our American psyche that we instinctively know to activate that response in our times of panic, fear, and need. But each year millions of 911 calls are made due to issues related to emotional distress or mental health problems for which police, fire, rescue, and EMS services are not always the optimal responders.

AUGUST: Social Isolation in Veterans - A Deadly Oxymoron: by Katrice Byrd, DSW, LCSW - Every year over 200,000 veterans separate from military service leaving them with a significant number of decreased social supports, leading many to experience social isolation. Social isolation defined, is a pervasive absence of intimate contact with, and support from others; but felt, is a sensation that is hard to shake. For many of us, we lived it day in and day out during the COVID-19 pandemic, feeling more like a repeat of the 2020 film “Two Distant Strangers” produced by Van Lathan, Jesse Williams, and Sean Combs (to name a few), than our introduction to the new decade. While we were fortunate to have returned to a routine of somewhat normalcy or at least a new normal, many veterans experiencing social isolation continue to grapple with its detrimental impacts.

SEPTEMBER: Where's the Parenting Manual Regarding Youth Suicide?: by Dr. Erin Frick - When I became a parent just over five years ago, I felt so untethered. Here I was a practicing mental health professional for 20 years and I was scrambling for information on “infant sleep” and “what to do if you’re struggling with breastfeeding.” Fast forward to the early school-age period, and I now anxiously seek out information on power struggles and managing tantrums. Apparently, knowing a lot about child development doesn’t actually prepare you when it’s your own child.

OCTOBER: Racial Battle Fatigue (RBF) Helping Service Members Navigate a Grueling Reality as a Perceived Enemy Combatant: by Katrice Byrd, DSW, LCSW - Depending on your worldview, you may either struggle with the theory of Racial Battle Fatigue or be keenly aware of it. However, if you are a mental health practitioner, researcher, or advocate, then your profession almost certainly mandates not only your awareness of both mental health trends and scholarly research, but the implementation of evidenced-based interventions, despite personal convictions that may arise.

NOVEMBER: Provider Resilience - How the Workplace Impacts Mental Health: by Christy Collette, LMHC - As the world has struggled the past three years to navigate a pandemic, it has brought to the forefront the critical importance of self-care, especially for those in the helping environment. Thinking about self-care and resilience, it is often easiest to focus on the individual and to make them solely responsible for their well-being. Historically, we have been told to rest more, eat healthy, exercise, and meditate as ways of taking better care of ourselves. While all of these can have a positive impact on our overall well-being, it does not factor in the important role that workplaces can have in impacting, either positively or negatively, our well-being.

DECEMBER: Reflections on Becoming a Military Psychologist: by Dr. Deb Nofziger - At this time of year, psychology doctoral students all over the country are starting the internship application process. And many are pondering if becoming a military psychologist is the right choice for them. I was once faced with the same decision, and after years of working for the military on active-duty and as a civilian, I am sharing some general advice on what is needed to work within this system.