Train Yourself To Relax On Cue
Being able to shut off the chatter in your brain at will so you can actually relax can feel like a mysterious gift some people simply have and some people don’t. But it’s actually a skill you can learn. The Army has long taught soldiers how to sleep on cue, and psychology offers several tips on how to calm your noisy brain and relax even in stressful situations.
Zinsser suggests you teach yourself these simple but powerful techniques and get used to employing them in whatever short windows you have. Even two minutes of deep breathing and relaxation can be useful.
“You essentially rest your brain, with physiological changes in blood pressure, heart rate, oxygen uptake, and blood lactate accumulation,” he explains to Bloomberg.
Why Do We Need Military Psychology
The men and women who serve in our military branches are one of our country’s greatest assets. They serve our country to protect and defend its citizens.
Military psychology is necessary in order to help choose the best men and women for this job. Professionals in this field are also there to help ensure that the enlisted are in the best mental and emotional shape possible. Mentally and emotionally healthy military personnel are much more productive, effective, and stable.
Life after the military can also be very taxing and scary. Military psychologists, however, can help military veterans adjust to civilian life and calm their emotional turmoil after active duty.
Key Skills In Military Psychology
A primary goal of advanced education is honing the skills required for success in military psychology. A few examples of essential military psychology skills are as follows:
- Active listening. Psychologists must be prepared to fully listen to what their patients are saying and to extend empathy and compassion.
- Familiarity with PTSD. Military psychology professionals should also have specific familiarity addressing mental health conditions that are common to service members, especially trauma and depression.
- Communication. Psychologists should be able to convey the details of a diagnosis or a treatment plan in a clear, understandable way.
- Critical thinking. Military psychology professionals may need to piece together details to arrive at a clinical diagnosis.
- Collaboration. Success in this field often depends on the ability to cooperate with other clinical professionals.
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Pathways To Military Internships: Preparing For A Career In Military Psychology
The Center for Deployment Psychologys Pathways to Military Internships is a program aimed at doctoral students in clinical or counseling psychology who are seriously considering applying for military internships at one of the ten training programs located throughout the U.S. Army, Navy, and Air Force. The programs vision is to be a valued training resource for military psychology by preparing top psychology students for a military internship.
Pathways to Military Internships comprises two training programs, The Summer Institute and The Winter Institute. Both training programs are designed to raise doctoral students awareness of what it would be like to serve as a military psychologist and to familiarize them with key aspects of a behavioral health career in the Armed Forces. In addition, students gain valuable military insights that increase their competitiveness for a military internship. In addition, students gain valuable military insights, which enhances their competitiveness for a military internship.
The Summer and Winter Institutes provide students with the unique opportunity to:
The curriculum includes:
- Didactics on military values and military and deployment related psychology topics
- Discussions about ethics and clinical practice unique to military providers
- Interactive panels with military psychologists and training directors from DoD psychology internships
- Networking opportunities for pursuing a military psychology career
Do You Have To Join The Military To Be A Military Psychologist
A variety of mental health professionals such as: psychologists, counselors, social workers can counsel military personnel and their families, but in order to be classified as a military counselor and work on a military base, you will need to enlist in the military and receive specialized military training.
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How To Become A Military Counselor
Active duty military personnel, veterans and their families seek counseling help for a wide variety of mental, emotional and social needs. Military personnel may require assistance during training, deployment, transition from active duty and in retirement. They may face a variety of psychological and social issues including depression and anxiety, posttraumatic stress disorder, substance abuse and family and marital issues. Additionally, personnel returning home may seek support with their transition back to civilian life, including career and education assistance.
Counseling services within the military are also provided to military families. Military OneSource provides non-medical counseling to help military personnel and their families navigate the military lifestyle and the challenges that they may face. These services include addressing marital problems, parenting, stress management, and grief and/or loss to include a few.
What Does A Military Psychologist Do
Duties and specifics may vary based on what branch of military psychology you work in. No matter which service branch you choose, however, your duties may entail any of the following:
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Which Military Branch Has Psychology
In addition to providing clinical care to address the full spectrum of mental health concerns, Navy Clinical Psychologists provide support to the Navy and Marine Corps by: Conducting therapy and providing clinical care to service members in deployed settings. Administering and interpreting assessments and evaluations.
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Live every day like a soldier
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Where Might You Work
Military counselors can work in a variety of environments. Many counselors who specialize in psychological issues that relate to military service work for the Veterans Administration. If you want to work with active-duty military personnel, you might work in a military treatment facility, which are located on military bases. Private practice is also an option for licensed military counselors.
In this option, you can diversify your client base to include non-military clients. For instance, your work with veterans and active military personnel might expose you to issues related to addiction, grief, family issues, or depression. Your private practice can then diversify into the non-military population and focus on those matters more exclusively.
Military counselors might also work in prisons or homeless shelters where all too many veterans wind up. Often, veterans with PTSD or other troubles find it very difficult to adjust to civilian life and thus end up in dire straits. Your work with these veteran sub-groups will be appreciated as too many veterans fall to these circumstances.
Military Counselor Skills To Acquire
Military counselors need a large toolkit of skills to do their jobs effectively. One of the key skills that a counselor needs is listening skills. While this may sound obvious, not everyone is as skilled at listening as they might think. Counselors are trained to listen with care so that they are able to detect problems or clues that help unravel problems.
Counselors should also be adept at communicating with their clients. When a counselor is able to convey hard truths or uncomfortable insights without offending or further harming their client, then they can be said to have excellent communication skills. Counselors should also be able to set healthy boundaries with their clients.
Military counselors need to know how to engage with their clients without becoming overwhelmed by their pain. This may be difficult at first, but once you’ve worked with a number of clients and have helped them work through their depression, anxiety, or PTSD, you will attain more objectivity and clinical distance.
Counselors also need to have strong analytical skills. Each client needs to be assessed in the most objective manner and given a treatment plan to follow. Here, professional counselors can rely on their academic background to determine the best course of action for the client.
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Five Ways To Enter The Military And Serve As A Psychologist
Im often asked by undergraduate and graduate psychology students about the different options when entering the military as a clinical psychologist. Here’s information about the different accession pipelines for service as a military psychologist.
Aspiring psychologists have four options to enter the military: Uniformed Services University , Health Professions Scholarship Program , Internship, and Fellowship. Currently, licensed psychologists can enter the military as Direct Accessions.
Uniformed Services University
For aspiring psychologists, the military has two options where all or part of graduate school is paid for, USU and HPSP. The Air Force, Army and Navy have spots at USU in the clinical psychology Ph.D. program located in Bethesda, MD. Psychology students are active duty while going to school and consequently receive pay and benefits while attending and they are not charged tuition. They are obligated to serve seven years in the military following their training.
Health Professions Scholarship Program
The Services also offer scholarships through HPSP. Through these scholarships, clinical and counseling psychology Ph.D. or Psy.D. students get the bulk of their doctoral program paid for while attending a civilian program. Note that in the case of HPSP, students must already be attending a doctoral program accredited by the American Psychological Association . HPSP students are obligated to serve one year in the military for every year of scholarship provided .
Career Outlook For Military Counselors
Seven categories of counseling services are offered to active duty service, National Guard, and reserve members. Many of these services are free of charge.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs provides mental health counseling services through over 1000 centers, clinics, or through their Veterans Crisis Line. According to the VA, more than 1.7 million veterans received mental health treatment in the fiscal year 2019. This has risen each year, in part to proactive screening to veterans who exhibit symptoms of a mental health concern.
- Program Name: Master of Science in Clinical Counseling
- Program Length: Two to three years
- Instruction Methods: Asynchronous
- 100-hours practicum
- 600-hours internship
- Residential and online students are responsible to complete practicum and clinical internship hours under supervision of a licensed counselor.
- Candidates for the masters degree program must have completed a prerequisite requirement of 6 credit hours in the behavioral sciences.
- A Bachelors or Masters degree from a regionally accredited college or university, or a U.S. equivalent degree from a nationally or internationally accredited college or university
- GPA of 2.5 or better from the most recent 60 credits of coursework earned toward the bachelors degree OR
- GPA of 3.0 or better in previous graduate level coursework earned toward the graduate degree
- May require letters of recommendation and essays in certain circumstances
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How Do You Become A Military Psychologist
How to Become a Military Counselor Complete a bachelors degree in a behavioral, social science, or psychology field. Earn a masters degree in counseling, social work, or psychology with a focus on military populations. Complete graduate and postgraduate internship experience for certification/licensure requirements.
Complete A Bachelors Degree In A Behavioral Social Science Psychology Field Or Another Field
Because a masters degree is a requirement for licensure as a professional counselor, pursuing a bachelors degree sets the groundwork for graduate studies in counseling. Coursework for undergraduate studies in counseling and other related fields will typically include the evaluation of human development, counseling skills and foundation, introduction to psychology, and/or basic approaches to counseling/therapy.
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Continue Your Education And Stay Up To Date On Military Counseling Trends And Changes
Continuing education is imperative to maintaining professional counseling licensure and keeping in the know of changes, updates, and movements in trends in military and government changes, mental health care, counseling, and client advocacy.
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- Providing therapeutic services to personnel who request help or are referred by their commanders
- Offering off site counseling to service members deployed overseas, typically via video conference
- Identifying problems and determining if a referral for further help is needed, such as psychiatry, drug treatment or a community support group
- Counseling family members of military personnel
- Administering psychological tests
- Helping personnel explore career and education opportunities
- Teaching classes on human relations and transitioning back to civilian life
- Providing ongoing support to disabled veterans and those with severe mental trauma
- Offering crisis intervention, mental health assessments and suicide prevention support
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What Are The Differences In The Practice Of Military Psychology From That Of Civilian Psychology
A primary difference between military and civilian psychology is that military psychologists work in much different environments. As noted above, military psychologists work in highly specialized locations, such as veterans hospitals, aircraft carriers, and active operating bases in combat zones. Additionally, military psychologists work only with military personnel and their families, and rarely, if ever, see clients that are not associated with the armed forces in some manner.
The subject matter that military psychologists and civilian psychologists deal on a day-to-day basis can also be much different. Whereas a civilian psychologist might work with one client that has dissociative identity disorder, then a client that has anorexia, then another client with anger management issues, military psychologists work most often with clients suffering from PTSD, stress, substance abuse issues, and grief. There is also much more of a focus on crisis and emergency interventions in military psychology, due simply to the nature of the work in which military personnel are engaged.
Naturally, working within the realm of the military is a much different situation than working in ones own practice or as part of a community mental health center. Military psychologists, whether they are enlisted or not, must navigate the distinct culture of the military, deal with decisions made by higher-ranking officials, and operate within military guidelines of treatment.
What Is A Military Psychologist
A military psychologist is basically concerned with keeping in order mental health of those in the service and war veterans. This is necessary because the work that many servicemen and women do often taxes them emotionally. They therefore need help in handling this emotional and sometimes even physical aspect of their profession.
A trained military psychologist often works in these areas:
- Giving advice to the senior military staffs on areas that may be of interest to them but cutting across their profession
- Consultancy services to the military for example in assigning duties to servicemen and women.
- Assessing and providing treatment for mental problems
- Counseling to both servicemen/women and veterans sometimes with their families. This is because with absence of a military person from the home comes a range of emotions. Veterans too need to be understood by their families if they are to be comprehensively helped.
Often times, one does not have to join the military to be able to work with those considered to be veterans. However, if the person wishes for a career working with those in service, there is a need to consider whether he/she will be able to stand the demands of military training which then becomes a necessity.
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Pass Any Required Counseling Exams And Apply For Licensure
Some states and/or counseling programs require the passing of a recognized counselor examination for graduation or licensure such as the National Counselor Examination and/or the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination . Check the available licenses and required examinations for counselors in your state through the National Board of Certified Counselors .
Career Outlook For A Military Psychologist
Military psychologists are expected to remain in demand in the coming years, as veterans and their families continue to need mental treatments. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics has listed the job outlook for all psychologists, including military psychologists as 14%, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. This demand is expected to add 26,100 new jobs for psychologists in the time period from 2018 to 2028.
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What Are The Education Requirements To Become A Military Psychologist
Below is the complete educational path for the Psychologists:
|Psychologist Educational Track|
|Online or Campus|
Most individuals start their military psychology careers with a four year bachelor degree in general psychology, clinical psychology, or counseling psychology.
Individuals pursuing military psychology degrees are also required to hold graduate degrees in a psychology field. Masters and doctoral degrees can be earned either at traditional universities or at some military schools. Students who choose to earn their graduate degrees at military schools will usually have their tuition and living expenses paid by the United States military during the course of their education.
After earning a Doctor of Psychology or Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology , students will then usually be required to complete an internship before they can start their military psychology careers. A student will choose a specific branch of the military that he wishes to work in, and the internship will generally last a year.