If you have ever worked with a combat Veteran, at some point you have heard frustration from both the Veteran and family members about their communication specific to details about combat experiences. I was recently listening to a patient of mine with this common problem, and he put it very well – “I should tell my wife everything. But I don’t…. I can’t. It is too much to pile on her, and it would hurt her. So I don’t. I push her away instead, block her questions out so my pain won’t be her pain.” Listening to him, and all the others with similar statements, always seems to take me back to the first time I explained this issue with a patient and his family.
Blog posts with the tag "Veteran"
I began thinking about the issue of Veterans talking about their military experiences after watching a 2014 TED talk titled “How to talk to Veterans about war.” In this talk, Wes Moore (an Army Veteran) suggested that when he returned from an overseas combat tour, he wanted people to ask him about his experiences and ask how he was doing and what his transition back to the US was like for him. He said many people were hesitant to ask questions which led him to feel that his service wasn’t acknowledged and that people didn’t care.
I like to be helpful. It’s one of the reasons I became a psychologist. You could say it’s my mission. Sometimes I get a phone call or an email from a distant relation, a friend, an acquaintance, or even a resourceful stranger who found my name on a website or blog. These people often have questions about psychotherapy.
Depledge & Bird (2009) described the “blue gym” as an approach to promote well-being through being active in water environments such as surfing, kayaking, swimming, or walking along the beach. Being active can be stimulated by being near natural water. Stronger communities, stress reduction, and increased physical activity are three benefits from regular contact with natural environments. The blue gym helps us to connect to each other and the value of nature and our aquatic environments. There are some recent reports looking at the positive impact of surfing on PTSD symptoms for Veterans.
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.