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  • Clinician’s Corner: Tips to Stay Engaged in Therapy

    two soldiers talking across a desk
    (Photo by Sgt. Luke Rollins)

    Christina Schendel, is a licensed psychologist and is special assistant for strategy integration for the Deployment Health Clinical Center. This article is written for providers and references scientific language and research.

    As clinicians, we’ve all had patients who struggle to remain engaged in therapy, especially after a breakthrough, challenging session or even an alliance rupture. We know that almost half of patients leave psychotherapy too soon, which reduces the effectiveness of therapy. Taking a look at ourselves as therapists, and the therapeutic relationship, can help us find ways to stay engaged and keep patients as active participants in their therapy.

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  • Grateful Nation Remembers Service Members, Veterans

    headstones, roses and flags
    Roses and flags adorn headstones at Arlington National Cemetery, Va., for Memorial Day 2014. (Department of Defense photo by EJ Hersom)

    "Thank you."

    These words have a special meaning for us on Memorial Day when, as a country, we take the time to reflect, remember and honor those who have died during their service to our nation.

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  • 5 Special Ways to Honor Lost Loved Ones

    photo of pilot and woman planting flowers
    U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Leandra Stepp

    Before Memorial Day, there was Decoration Day, a day when families decorated the graves of service members lost in the Civil War. It was celebrated in May to ensure the availability of ample flowers to decorate graves.

    Today, 150 years after the end of the Civil War, we still lay wreaths to honor those who lost their lives while in service to our nation.

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  • Take the First Steps to Get Help for Psychological Health Concerns

    soldier shakes hands with chaplain
    U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Jorge Saucedo

    Seeking help for psychological health concerns allows you to play an active role in your own well-being. Once you decide to seek care, you may not know what steps to take next. There are many options for care and it is important to make a plan that best fits your needs. Experts such as counselors, chaplains and health care providers in the Military Health System (MHS) are excellent resources to turn to for help.



    Step 1: Choose Your Goals
    • Identify the areas of your life that your symptoms negatively impact. Think about how you would like to improve these areas.
    • Determine your short-term and long-term goals.

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  • Don’t Give Up on Mental Health Treatment

    Read the story: Don’t Give Up on Mental Health Treatment
    Capt. Anthony A. Arita, Deployment Health Clinical Center director

    It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. If you’ve had a coach, personal trainer, inspirational teacher, or a really motivational friend, there is a good chance you heard them say something similar. Most likely, they said this to you because they wanted to encourage you to keep working toward your goal – whatever it was.

    A senior military leader, and psychologist, has a similar hope – he wants service members to stick with mental health treatment and give it a chance to work even if they don’t see immediate progress.

    According to Capt. Anthony A. Arita, Deployment Health Clinical Center director and experienced clinical neuropsychologist, people who give up on treatment too soon rob themselves of the benefits of care. Many forms of psychotherapy require 10 to 12 sessions to achieve noticeable symptom reduction. If medications are prescribed, it can take several weeks to find the right medications and therapeutic dosages.

    If it’s not working, talk to your provider

    If you don’t think your treatment is working, or if you are unclear about your treatment options, share your concerns with your provider. You should feel comfortable asking your provider to explain your diagnosis, and treatment plan, in a way you understand.

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  • Q&A: Legal Tips for Telehealth Mental Counseling [Part Two]

    Read the story: Q&A: Legal Tips for Telehealth Mental Counseling [Part Two]
    U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Rebekka Heite

    This is part two of a two-part series that summarizes tips offered during a recent webinar by Bryan T. Wheeler, deputy general counsel for the Defense Health Agency, on some of the legal and ethical issues involved in counseling service members online or via phone. Part one of the series covered general issues. This post addresses questions related specifically to the use of email and mobile apps.

    The rapid growth of websites, apps and other mobile technology to help mental health providers virtually communicate with patients presents new opportunities to reach service members and veterans. However, this tech-enabled practice, known as telemedicine or telehealth, raises some legal concerns for providers.

    Defense Health Agency Deputy General Counsel Bryan T. Wheeler addressed some of these concerns during a recent webinar.

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