This course discusses social work practice areas for civilian social workers who provide services to military service members, veterans, and their families. These practice areas include education, child welfare, domestic violence, mental health, health care, substance abuse, and criminal justice. The authors examine the impact of the contemporary military lifestyle and current military operations on service members and their families in the context of these practice areas, with the goal of compelling civilian social workers to acknowledge their responsibility to competently service military and veteran clients and their families.
The course reviews the military of today in the context of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, the two longest wars ever fought by the United States. Topics considered include the deployment cycle, military culture, the effect of non-fatal combat injuries, reintegration challenges, financial concerns, benefit access, and mental health challenges faces by our service members and their families. Implications for civilian social work practice and community-based services are discussed.
This course is based upon material published by the National Association of Social Workers in the journal Social Work and is available as an open access article.
This course on civilian providers delivering care to the military and veteran population is designed for social workers, professional counselors, psychologists, nurses, and substance abuse counselors, who do clinical work. This course is appropriate for beginning, intermediate and advanced level practitioners who wish to develop their understanding of the special needs created by military service during the Iraq and Afghanistan era. The course material includes a review of special circumstances which are not commonly seen in non-military practice. It may also be useful for licensed clinicians who require clinical continuing education courses for license renewal.
Authors: Laura Savitsky, Maria Illingworth, and Megan DuLaney
Learning Objectives: This course will provide the practitioner with detailed information about civilian practitioners serving the military and veteran populations. Specifically, a professional will:
- Describe the deployment cycle
- Identify characteristics of military culture
- Recognize the special needs of wounded service members
Citation: Savitsky, Laura; Illingworth, Maria; and DuLaney, Megan. Civilian Social Work: Serving the Military and Veteran Populations. Social Work 54: 4 (327-339). October, 2009.
TReviewed by TM DiDona, PhD 2018 and found to be current. For a full list of current references, please Click Here. Current references on the topic include:
- Blow, A. J., Curtis, A. F., Wittenborn, A. K., & Gorman, L. (2015). Relationship problems and military related PTSD: The case for using emotionally focused therapy for couples. Contemporary Family Therapy, 37(3), 261-270.
- Karlin, B. E., & Cross, G. (2014). From the laboratory to the therapy room: national dissemination and implementation of evidence-based psychotherapies in the US Department of Veterans Affairs Health Care System. American Psychologist, 69(1), 19.
- Meyer, E. G. (2015). The importance of understanding military culture. Academic Psychiatry, 39(4), 416-418.
- Meyer, E. G., Hall-Clark, B. N., Hamaoka, D., & Peterson, A. L. (2015). Assessment of military cultural competence: a pilot study. Academic Psychiatry, 39(4), 382-388.
- Taylor, D. J., Peterson, A. L., Pruiksma, K. E., Young-McCaughan, S., Nicholson, K., Mintz, J., … & Roache, J. D. (2017). Internet and In-Person Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia in Military Personnel: A Randomized Clinical Trial. Sleep.