The number of post-9/11 era veterans living in our Middle Atlantic Division geographic area is projected to surpass 100,000 by the year 2020 and the majority of these veterans have young families. Nationally, there are as many as 700,000 children under the age of five who currently have a parent serving in the military.IMGP8937

April is recognized as the Month of the Military Child (http://www.monthofthemilitarychild.com/). As the weather warms up and we begin to see more children playing in our neighborhoods and local parks, it is important to consider the unique childhood experience of military children.  Many military children have moved multiple times during their lives, disrupting school years, friendships, and care provider relationships.  Many have parents who have been deployed to combat zones, and many have parents who returned from those deployments with emotional and physical changes.

But the most important thing to remember is that most military children are resilient—they demonstrate a strong sense of belonging in military communities, they are uniquely adaptable and tolerant of diversity, and they exhibit positive coping skills to handle stress.

As Marriage and Family Therapists, we are uniquely qualified to help military children adjust to the family stressors of their parent’s active duty deployment and reintegration to civilian life. Here are some helpful resources to learn more about working with military families:

Receive Clinical Training from the Center for Deployment Psychology

http://www.deploymentpsych.org/psychological-training

The Center for Deployment Psychology provides gold-standard continuing education for clinicians interested in learning evidenced-based therapies for working with military families.  Courses are offered online (many for free, or for a fee if seeking CEUs) or as in-person workshops.

Provide No-Cost Sessions to One Military Family

http://www.giveanhour.org/

Many military families need high-quality couple or family therapy services, but many may be unable to pay full fee-for-service rates.  Registering as a provider with Give An Hour means that you commit to seeing at least one military client at a time pro bono.

Network with the National Military Family Association

http://www.militaryfamily.org/

The National Military Family Association is the leading non-profit organization advocating on behalf of military families. As a dues paying member or as a volunteer, you can connect and network with other professionals interested in the important issues facing military families.

Download Fun, Interactive Session Tools for Military Families

http://www.sesamestreet.org/parents/topicsandactivities/toolkits/tlc

The DOD has partnered with the Sesame Street Workshop to create useful and fun interactive session tools to use with military families. Free resources to download include videos, activity pages, and information handouts.

Credit:
Emily T. Cook, Ph.D., LGMFT
Licensed Graduate Marriage and Family Therapist

 

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