By Caitlin Hunter and Heidi Radunovich, PhD
In a special issue of Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, the focus is on presenting relevant information to health and mental health care professionals, first responders, educators, law enforcement officers, and any other professional who might interact with military service members, veterans, or their families . The pages of this issue are teeming with information which can be useful in a variety of contexts. But overall, the research presented can help professionals of all disciplines become acquainted with the unique challenges and issues faced by military personnel, veterans, and their families and friends, as well as the various interventions and programming which is proving useful for others. The following is a synopsis of this special issue, based on an introductory article by Chan (2014).
The first section of this special issue focuses on challenges to providing care for military veterans. Topics of interest in this section are: training military service members and their families post-deployment; post-deployment difficulties and barriers to seeking help; common struggles during the transition from military to civilian culture; Moving Forward, an innovative social problem-solving program used by the VA; and veteran-specific jail diversion programs.
The focus of the second section is the concept of working with gender-sensitive issues, as well as sexual-gender minority veterans, or veterans who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT). This section contains research on barriers to LGBT veterans receiving care at the VA as well as exploring the ways mental health care professionals can engage more male veterans in counseling services for an extended period of time.
The third section explores the effects of deployment and reintegration on children and spouses. The information in this section covers: the effect of deployment separation on parenting and children’s emotional, behavioral, and health outcomes; factors which contribute to positive family adjustment during deployment; and coping with attachment stressors.
The fourth section rounds off the special issue by discussing the experiences and treatment needs of children, adolescents, and spouses of military personnel. The articles in this section discuss: ways to treat the partners of military personnel who suffer from PTSD; factors that increase resiliency in military families during all stages of the deployment cycle; strategies for building attachment in military families; and reasons why adolescents in military families do not attempt to make use of mental health services.
This special issue will be helpful to anyone who works or interacts with military service members, veterans, or their families. This research is likely to be very useful in understanding the best ways to help military families, and the best directions to move in for future research.
 Chan, C. S. (2014). Introduction to the special section: Research on psychological issues and interventions for military personnel, veterans, and their families. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 45(6), 395. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0038496
This post was written by Caitlin Hunter & Heidi Radunovich, PhD, members of the MFLN Family Development (FD) team which aims to support the development of professionals working with military families. Find out more about the Military Families Learning Network FD concentration on our website, on Facebook, on Twitter, YouTube, and on LinkedIn.