I am very proud to have worked as a psychologist at the Navy’s Substance Abuse and Rehabilitation Program, also known as SARP. I recall living for my patients, my team and the work; I’m pretty passionate about healing and the recovery process. The following points are some things I believe are important to consider when working with Service members struggling with a drug or alcohol problem. Some seem pretty obvious, but are still worth mentioning in my humble opinion.
Blog posts with the tag "Staff Perspective"
A Vietnam Veteran walked into my office at one of the VA’s top inpatient residential posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) programs as a last-ditch effort to save his marriage. He said very little in our initial interactions, and the stress of the years working hard to provide for his family alongside many sleepless nights had settled into dark patches under his eyes and grime beneath his fingernails. His outpatient therapist referred him to the program to receive an evidence-based treatment for PTSD. He was quickly assigned to the Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) group and to supplemental individual CPT sessions with me.
I get a lot of flyers for various continuing education opportunities. Some of the workshops sound interesting, but I have to admit, some of them sound…well, a little far-fetched. Let’s just say I skeptically wonder about the credentials of the trainer and whether research supports the content. Potential attendees must often take the trainer’s word about the validity of the training. As a trainer, along with the other CDP faculty members, that leads me to contemplate what I specifically I bring to the table when delivering trainings, and more broadly what we at CDP have to offer. In other words, if you are considering attending a CDP training, why should you take our word for it?
Two years have passed since I publicly discussed my brother’s suicide and how it impacted me in this very forum. It was a huge step for me at the time, disclosing this secret that I guarded carefully. I had the sense that it would be cathartic for me, but I also knew I couldn’t take it back once it was out there. In retrospect it’s one of the most important things I’ve ever done.
When I was an active duty Air Force psychologist, I learned early on in my career the importance of working closely with active duty Chaplains. In fact, Chaplains and behavioral-health providers often served on several base-level committees together focused on community initiatives. We collaborated regularly on population health-based suicide prevention efforts and crisis response following traumatic events, as well as taught relationship enhancement workshops together. I believe that caring for our Service members takes all hands on deck (to use a Navy saying).