Clinician's Corner Blog

A PHCoE blog series written by leaders, clinicians and experts on current topics of interest for psychological health care providers in the Military Health System.

  • Impact of Rank in Psychotherapy May 30, 2017

    Psychotherapy is always a relationship with a power differential (discuss amongst yourselves).

    I think this statement is almost always true. The relationship between doctor and patient places the doctor in the position of “expert” while the patient is seeking assistance – often out of great need, or even desperation. This uneven relationship is further complicated in the Military Health System when military rank is introduced as another variable potentially impacting the relationship. And it can cut both ways.        

  • Cultural Competence in Mental Health Treatment: What do You Call a Military Patient? May 22, 2017

    Are you seeing a service member as a patient? What do you call him or her? It seems like such a simple question, but it’s not as easy as it sounds. Should you address the service member by first name? Last name? Rank? Job title? Call sign?

    In examining the question, we have to ask what rank denotes. To most service members, military service in general is a large bulk of their personal identity, earned through hard work, a characterization of who they are, and in many respects, rank is akin to a first name.

  • Essential Skills for Military Psychologists: 9 Tips for Communicating with Commands May 8, 2017

    Assessing and treating active-duty service members often requires interactions with commands. Per the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), medical information may be disclosed to commands in a variety of circumstances necessary for safety, fitness for duty determinations and mission requirements. Read more about the military command exception of HIPAA.

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The views expressed in Clinician's Corner blogs are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Psychological Health Center of Excellence or Department of Defense.