Introduction to the Military Intake Interview
The intake interview is critical in understanding your service member or veterans’ current medical, physical, psychosocial, vocational, family, and socio-cultural status as it relates to their military service. Military-specific intake interview questions are one of the most effective means to assess a range of critical life-events as it relates to your clients’ military life. Most standardized diagnostic tools do not address military mental health, career development as the service member transitions to civilian life, family dynamics within the deployment cycle, and other critical elements in military life. Thus, competent CMCC’s use person-centered skills facilitating attending, listening, and empathic responding to build rapport and gain the circle of trust with their military clients.
Multiple myths, stereotypes, and stigma have existed throughout the centuries concerning military service members and veterans. Myths and stereotypes can be both negative and positive and many times are determined by the unique characteristics of each war and generation. Politics, DoD policies, and government programs also influence our attitudes and perceptions of active service members, veterans, and their family. Consequently, many medical and mental health professionals are influenced by these societal attitudes and beliefs about the military culture. It is paramount that military counseling and related professionals do not simply accept the Hollywood, electronic and print media’s version and portrayal of this unique culture. Thus, the intent of this Military Counseling Resource and Practice Guideline is to promote facts about the military culture and challenge the myths and negative stereotypes that hinder service members’ ability to live life optimally. There is an extensive list of myths, stereotypes, and stigma that is attributable to the military culture; too many to list. Indeed, there are long-term medical/physical, psychological, emotional, social, occupational, career, and spiritual consequences to living life under this cloud of stigma. Overall, negative stereotypes can affect individual providers’ behavior and the way in which programs and services are facilitated. It is critical that medical and mental health professionals are educated on the facts because they are pivotal in providing therapeutic engagements with active duty personnel, veterans, and family members.
Integrating spirituality within military counseling practice emerges as one of the most challenging, yet misunderstood areas in psychotherapy with active service members, veterans, veterans with disabilities, and family members. The search for personal meaning in the warfighter’s traumatic experience or the veteran’s chronic medical, physical, and mental health conditions are both an existential and spiritual pursuit (Stebnicki, 2016a). In Tick’s (2014) body of work on moral injury, he notes that “war healing requires a spiritual approach because war is Leviathan and trauma is a deep, devastating, and enduring soul wound” (p. 162). This Military Counseling Resource (MCR) offers guidelines for infusing spirituality into military counseling practice with intention of bringing about meaning to the service member and veterans’ experiences of trauma.