Observations and Insights About Strengthening Our Soldiers (SOS)
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The Special Issue (June 2011) of the Journal of Clinical Psychology in Medical Settings titled Strengthening Our Soldiers (SOS) and Their Families: Contemporary Psychological Advances Applied to Wartime Problems revealed the following important concerns: 1) Who is at risk for psychological sequelae during and following service in the U.S. military? 2) How to deliver the best treatment for our soldiers and veterans with PTSD, Traumatic Brain Injury and Pain? 3) How to train the trainers? and 4) What are the current priorities for service delivery, research and funding? Assessment strategies and tools are provided to assist in identification of suicidal ideation and behaviors, alcohol abuse in spouses, posttraumatic stress disorders, depression, brain injuries and post-concussion syndrome, as well as positive growth experiences. Empirically validated Cognitive Processing and Prolonged Exposure treatments are described as are the empirical results already in evidence in our military populations. The innovative use of Virtual Reality and Telehealth applications is demonstrated in both army and naval settings for preparing and reducing trauma in affected soldiers. The Functional and Occupational Rehabilitation Treatment (FORT) Program and its role in returning function to injured soldiers with musculoskeletal pain and motion restrictions, while also leading to reductions of anxiety, depression and use of medical services, is described. A critique about providing service-research for children’s reactions to their parent’s deployments and family functioning during separation and reintegration is provided. The need for theoretical-empirical approaches to understanding pain-behavior, anxiety dysregulation as it impacts the brain function and structure is provided by experts in pain, neuropsychology, brain circuitry and anxiety management of multiple traumas. This final paper in SOS provides commentary on SOS and describes possible future implications of current psychological knowledge related to military personnel and their families.
KeywordsPTSD Traumatic brain injury Polytrauma Chronic pain Prolonged exposure Cognitive processing Virtual reality Suicide Alcoholism War trauma Soldiers Veterans
The authors would like to thank Dr. Pat DeLeon, former APA President, for his permission to incorporate his newsletters, which continue to inform psychologists and health care professionals of important innovations and issues related to our research and practice. His updates on Congressional changes keep us aware of relevant policy issues influencing our work. The contributions and queries of the current Clinical Health Postdoctoral Fellows in the Tripler Army Medical Center, Psychology Department, also provided impetus for undertaking this task of providing important information in one journal issue. The efforts of the contributors to provide succinct commentary is also appreciated. The final manuscript benefitted from the academic insights of Dr. Thomas A. Wills and technical efforts of Alex Wills. Lastly, appreciation is expressed for the generous permission for unlimited downloads of all the SOS articles for a year by Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011 and its most supportive Senior Editor, Janice Stern.
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