Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Graduation

Spring 2011

Document Type


Degree Name

Educational Specialist (EdS)


Department of Graduate Psychology


Jack H. Presbury

A. Renee Staton


The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have turned national attention to the prevalence of invisible wounds in service members returning from combat. This surge in mental health care needs has resulted in a shortage of mental health care providers in both military and veteran’s hospitals (Barlas, 2007). Clinicians in the civilian sector have an opportunity to help address this shortage by taking on service members and veterans as clients; however, they need to be prepared to work with such a specialized population. The entire process of being part of the armed forces - from the decision to join, to the structure of training, to the excitement and tragedy of war - all must to be taken into consideration when preparing to work with a service member. The intent of this paper is to introduce civilian clinicians to military culture and to outline the psychological journey of combat service members. Additionally, current counseling practices and perspectives are reviewed to further assist civilian clinicians in their preparation to serve those who have served our country.

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