Spc. Jonathan Happel and his wife, Cira, discuss family issues during the Strong Bonds marriage retreat in Ko Olina, Hawaii. (U.S. Army photo)
This Military Pathways blog post identifies the following six guiding principles from Rebecca Townsend, a military family therapist, who recently shared her thoughts with Military Pathways on what military families can do to cope with post-deployment stress or a family member with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
1. You can experience secondary trauma. While service members with PTSD may feel hypervigilant and edgy, their stress can rub off on family members. Townsend points out that spouses will often walk on egg shells wondering what will set their spouses off that they themselves become hypervigilant. “They anticipate what might be a trigger and how they will react,” Townsend said. “How their spouse reacts one day may differ from how they act another day.”