In September of 2017, soon after my active-duty husband passed his 20-year mark in the military, I wrote a blog looking at current data on the transition from military to civilian life. Now, two years later, he’s currently on terminal leave, and it seemed like a good time to revisit this topic.
Blog posts with the tag "Military Culture"
While there are a variety of challenges during the reintegration process, the most commonly reported ones included determining where to live, career/educational pursuits (i.e., Do I go into the workforce or go back to school? What kind of job do I want now?), and establishing new routines. One thing that most all Service members will say is that the military provides a structure to life that simply isn’t inherently found in a civilian lifestyle. One friend noted, “Going from a set schedule and working outside the home to being a stay-at-home parent and fulltime student has been challenging.” Another noted, “I wasn’t sure if I could do the same job in the same place with the same people year after year.” He indicated that the intrinsic changes associated with military service was one aspect he valued and during the reintegration process he was struggling with fears of stagnancy possible in a traditional civilian career field.
Every Service member leaving active duty has the experience of reintegrating with the civilian life, as well as their civilian side. While this may be looked forward to by many, it is nonetheless, a time of anxiety as Service members figure out how to move from one role and "identity" to something else. I have both experienced this and watched it in others. What I've found is that people do not fundamentally change as much as, or in the ways, they think. The role changes, who they are does not.
In my previous entry, I wrote about the top ten things to remember when considering a military internship or a military psychology career. In this post, I think it makes sense to write a bit more about the officer training experience required of all Air Force psychologists. More importantly, I have some “most helpful points” to share from recent graduates.
While most of our CDP blogs focus on some aspect of military behavioral health to include understanding, evaluating and treating various psychological wounds of war and reintegration challenges, we don’t often consider and discuss the spiritual conflicts that arise for many of our military-connected clients. These spiritual wounds and needs can have a significant impact and often caring for those needs goes beyond the skillset of a behavioral health provider. A referral or concurrent care addressing both behavioral and spiritual health needs might be the best course of action.