DCoE Blog

  • Mom, Psychologist Shares How Laughter Can Strengthen Relationships
    U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Preston Cherry

    Laughing with a service member, family member or friend can be a fun and healthy way to connect. Julie Kinn, deputy director of the National Center of Telehealth and Technology Mobile Health Program, shares a family experience that makes her laugh until this day in a recent AfterDeployment blog post.

    Laughing about shared circumstances builds a sense of connection. Just be sure the shared memory is one that everyone finds funny (and not one that will make someone feel embarrassed or ashamed).

  • 6 Ways to Avoid Isolation This Summer
    Photo courtesy U.S. Air Force by Airman 1st Class Jonathan McElderry

    Depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other mental health issues can leave you feeling disconnected, isolated, disengaged and lonely. Here are some ways to reconnect with yourself and others this summer:

    Engage and Reconnect

    Make time to spend with family and friends. Take a summer day trip or vacation with your family. Stay local and hang out with friends at a barbecue. The National Center for Telehealth and Technology developed the Positive Activity Jackpot app as a tool for pleasant event scheduling in your area. The app allows you to plan group activities in a simple, helpful way. Give yourself permission to leave if an event becomes overwhelming, but make the commitment to go connect for a bit.

  • Large Celebrations May Trigger PTSD
    Marine Corps members marching in July 4th parade
    U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Dalton A. Precht

    Some service members or veterans won’t share the same excitement others feel when fireworks light up the sky. Large crowds, loud noises and the smell of smoke can aggravate symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

    “There is no shame in declining to attend fireworks displays,” said Cmdr. Angela Williams, acting director of psychological health clinical care at the Deployment Health Clinical Center.

    PTSD triggers and reactions aren’t always predictable. It’s important to prepare yourself and know the tools available to help you cope.

  • Understanding Cultural Differences and Health Care
    Service members from various branches at ceremony at stadium.
    U.S. Army National Guard photo by 1st Lt. Aaron Ritter

    Cultural identity can affect how service members and their families engage with their health care providers. A recent Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE) webinar addressed these impacts and how health care providers can help minimize them.

    Our Diverse Military

    Like the larger American population, those who serve their country in the military represent an intersection of people from every race, class, gender and sexual orientation.

     

  • Be Kind to Yourself: Understanding and Implementing Self-Compassion
    U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Matt Hecht

    The golden rule encourages you to treat others how you want to be treated. However, can you truly do that if you’re not nice to yourself? The first step before lending a helping hand to others is to be kind to you – practice self-compassion. You can do this by taking steps to understand what being compassionate means.

    “To have compassion is to suffer together,” said Deployment Health Clinical Center Clinical Psychologist and Special Assistant to the Director Dr. Christina Schendel. “As humans, we have a capacity to have empathy for other humans or animals. Compassion requires a feeling of wanting to do something.”

    You may notice the compassionate gestures of others. Whether it is giving a homeless person something to eat or helping an elderly woman carry groceries to her car, these acts show willingness to react and make a difference.

  • Working With Your Provider: Does Rank Impact Therapy?
    Graphic showing various military insignia
    Graphic courtesy of Deployment Health Clinical Center

    Getting medical treatment and therapy from the Military Health System can pose unique challenges. For example, sometimes the issue of military rank comes up. What happens when a health care provider is lower ranking than the patient? Does rank affect the doctor-patient relationship?

    Retired Capt. Richard D. Bergthold shares his experiences with military rank in the treatment setting below. Bergthold is the Navy Clinical Psychology Internship Program director at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.

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