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.

  • What’s the Difference between Primary Care Behavioral Health and Specialty Behavioral Health? March 2, 2020

    “My primary care patient is experiencing depression. Should I recommend the patient be seen by the behavioral health consultant (BHC) in primary care? Or should I refer the patient to the specialty behavioral health clinic? What’s really the difference?”

    The Military Health System (MHS) has various levels of care available for patients with behavioral health concerns. Clinicians in the MHS may have questions about which level and location of care is right for a particular patient: primary care behavioral health (PCBH) or specialty behavioral health services.

  • Rolling the Dice on Universal Screening for Gambling Disorder February 11, 2020

    According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – Fifth Edition, gambling disorder is a condition characterized by persistent problematic gambling behavior that leads to clinically significant impairment or distress. Roughly 2 percent of the U.S. adult population has a gambling disorder, and current estimates of prevalence in the military are even lower, in the range of 0.3 – 1.2 percent.

  • Is the Behavioral Health Consultant in Primary Care Right for Your Patient? Yes! February 3, 2020

    Service members seek care from their primary care manager (PCM) for a wide range of concerns and conditions. Some problems, such as a sore throat or skin rash, may be readily resolved by the patient and PCM. Many patients, however, seek care for more complex conditions, such as chronic pain, family stressors, tobacco use, or being overweight. When a condition is affected by behaviors, emotions, thoughts, or social factors, health care should address these psychosocial factors in addition to physical factors.

  • "Walkabout” to Build Trust, Reduce Stigma January 27, 2020

    The “walkabout” is a hallmark of front-line military psychology. Walkabouts are informal individual or small group health promotion activities initiated by behavioral health providers outside the clinic setting in which at least one principle of psychological wellness is discussed. Walkabouts do not establish formal provider-patient roles and are not documented in the medical record. These activities can be conducted by both credentialed providers and behavioral health technicians.

  • Helping Military Teams Manage Acute Stress When It Matters Most January 13, 2020

    Imagine a team of service members in the middle of a fire fight – the explosions, the smells, the flashes of light, the fear. And now imagine that one of them gets so overwhelmed by stress that they freeze. They stop functioning, and now the team is down one service member and maybe two or more, as the team has to treat the affected individual. What do we, as mental health professionals, advise teams to do in a moment like this? What procedures are in place to help address an acute combat stress reaction when it matters most: in the midst of a life-threatening situation?


All ideas will be considered, but may not be accepted.

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.