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.
Over the past several years I have seen the same bewildered expression on the faces of numerous Veterans as they struggle to understand and explain their own actions. After several months of treatment, one such client was finally able to articulate, “It’s like there’s a switch in my head that suddenly turns on and it takes everything I’ve got to fight the impulse to do something crazy.”
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the Vietnam War. Although more than 40 years has passed since the end of that war, it has become evident that long-term psychological repercussions still linger, impacting both those who served and the nation that sent them. Collectively, the experiences of those who fought have touched our country and been well documented in postwar art, literature and film, yet questions still remain about the specific impact of that war on the individual warrior today.