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Sunday, 06 January 2019 15:44

Military Myths and Negative Stereotypes

Military Myths and Negative Stereotypes

A Military Counseling Resource and Practice Guideline

Mark A. Stebnicki, Ph.D., LPC, DCMHS, CRC, CMCC


            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.