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.

  • 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.

  • Female Service Members and Their Mental Health May 15, 2017

    I’ve been working for the military for over 30 years in many different roles. While my gender makes me obviously different from my male counterparts, I’ve never focused on it as a barrier because my parents raised me to do my best, and to accomplish the goals I set in my mind and heart, regardless of my gender.  

    Early in my career, I broke into the previously gender-restricted missile operations career field. That experience strongly shaped my perspective, and throughout my career has caused me to think about the challenges for military females.

  • OASIS Residential PTSD Treatment: It Does Exist! May 10, 2017

    Do you have active-duty patients who require more intensive PTSD treatment than you can provide? Have you had patients complain that they couldn’t do treatment assignments because of work or home responsibilities, despite sincere motivation? Do you have PTSD patients who are resistant to psychotherapy groups because the other patients “won’t understand” them? Have you had patients who required residential PTSD treatment but whose command wouldn’t approve a Temporary Assigned Duty (TAD) to a civilian facility?

  • 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.

  • Managing Suicide Risk and Access to Firearms: Guidelines for Providers May 1, 2017

    I have a patient who may be at risk for suicide and I know the patient owns a gun. What can I do?

    This is a great question and increasing safety in order to prevent suicide is vital. Increasing safety, or means restriction, in general, includes removal of any method by which a patient is considering a suicide attempt, however in the military the most pertinent factor is firearms.   

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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.