(1) Veterans are very good at reading people. It is important for social workers to remember this when clients share surprising and even disturbing information. Social workers need to quickly regain their composure after hearing surprising information in order to make the vet as comfortable as possible (Connie Sturgeon).
(2) Veterans are also very interested in finding out how human you are. They want to feel your empathy, and get the sense that you are there for them and can empathize with what they are going through. As a social worker it is important for you to show the vet that you have a soul and your not just a robot (Connie Sturgeon).
(3) Unlike other forms of social work, military social workers are instructed to always put the vest first. This means that paper work can be put on the back burner if a client is having an emergency and needs to talk to a social worker right away (Connie Sturgeon).
(4) Sometimes social workers can do phone sessions with veterans and help them that way. This is another aspect of working in military social work that may not be available in other fields of social work. Our speaker gave an example of how one of her clients had her extension to her work phone and would call it when he had trouble sleeping. Hearing her voice on the answering machine was enough to sooth the vet and help him fall back asleep (Connie Sturgeon).
(5) It is also common for vets to self medicate when they get back from the war (Connie Sturgeon).
(6) Victims of sexual assault or harassment in the military do not always get justice. Most of the time they also have PTSD, and being that it is very difficult to find hard evidence in those situations, the social worker usually tries to focus on the PTSD (Connie Sturgeon).