It Takes a Community: Therapy-as-Usual Can't Serve the Needs of Our Returning Troops

By Leitch, Laurie; Miller-Karas, Elaine | Psychotherapy Networker, November/December 2010 | Go to article overview

It Takes a Community: Therapy-as-Usual Can't Serve the Needs of Our Returning Troops


Leitch, Laurie, Miller-Karas, Elaine, Psychotherapy Networker


It Takes a Community Therapy-as-usual can't serve the needs of our returning troops By Laurie Leitch and Elaine Miller-Karas

The debate about our involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan has raged for a decade, but no one disputes one fact: as a result of those conflicts, thousands and thousands of young men and women have been profoundly wounded--physically, emotionally, and spiritually. The statistics measuring the effects of wartime service on our troops reveal high rates of drug and alcohol abuse, homelessness, homicide, suicide, divorce, depression, traumatic brain injury, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Yet, unless we're closely related to someone in the military, many of us still feel insulated from the impact of these wars, detached from the sacrifices of those fighting them, and removed from the problems they experience once they return to civilian life.

Our detachment and complacency about the consequences of these wars are profoundly miscalculated. Although combat missions have ended in Iraq and the countdown to the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan has begun, the long-term impact of these engagements will be far more pervasive and widespread than many of us realize. In addition, it's becoming increasingly clear that our mental healthcare establishment, both civilian and military, isn't capable of handling this public healthcare crisis. Those in the trenches of service delivery already know that our standard psychotherapeutic paradigm--one mental health professional with one client, applying one or several standard interventions--fails to meet the needs of this population, both because of the number of potential clients and the complexities of war trauma. As professional psychotherapists, we need to rethink our ideas about how to reach out to the troops and their families struggling to return to ordinary life. It's time to move outside the limited conceptual box that now defines how we provide care to our homeward-bound warriors.

The Scale of the Problem

About 2.1 million troops have served in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan or Operation Iraqi Freedom. Assuming that each returning veteran has five or more close family members (spouse or significant other, mother, father, two siblings), these wars directly affect at least 10 million people. If we include children, other relatives, coworkers, and friends, the number of Americans affected could be 40 million or more.

Beyond the growing numbers of people whose lives have been touched by the war, our troops disproportionately experience a range of mental health problems, some related to traumatic brain injury--which, along with PTSD and depression, is one of the signature injuries of these wars. A report developed by the RAND Corporation in 2008 estimated that 300,000 veterans suffer from significant PTSD, anxiety, or major depressive symptoms; an additional 320,000 may have experienced a traumatic brain injury. The number of soldiers forced to leave the Army solely because of a mental disorder increased by 64 percent between 2005 and 2009. The actual numbers of veterans suffering from these problems is probably much higher than these figures indicate, because of the latent onset of PSTD in some individuals and the widespread misdiagnosis, or lack of diagnosis, of traumatic brain injury.

Meanwhile, divorce rates among returning troops are at record levels, particularly for women. According to the Army's Mental Health Advisory Team's 2007 survey, as many as 30 percent of soldiers and marines consider divorce by the midpoint of their deployment. Given the stressors that deployment imposes on entire family systems, it isn't surprising that cases of intimate partner violence and child maltreatment are up 30 percent in military couples and families. In one study of 250,626 wives of active-duty U.S. Army soldiers receiving medical care between 2003 and 2006, those whose husbands were deployed for up to 11 months exhibited more than a six-percent increase in diagnoses of depression, anxiety, sleep disorders, acute stress reaction, and other problems over those whose husbands stayed home. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

It Takes a Community: Therapy-as-Usual Can't Serve the Needs of Our Returning Troops
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.