The role of a military social worker encompasses the role of many social workers into work with the population of veterans and their families. There are many services that these social workers must provide to enable veterans and their families to resume to a safe, healthy, and normalized life following their return home. These services include the physical services you can provide or refer them to as well as the way to approach your work with a veteran.
1.Normalizing behavior – important for client to know that the reactions they’re having to traumatizing experiences are normal and human and not something to be ashamed of.
2. Remind them that they are safe.
3. Remind them they are brave: they have been in scary situations and their bravery to share about their experiences and taking those experiences out of the box is a sign of strength.
4. Importance of casual conversation – it is important to show that you empathize with them and validate their feelings and reactions towards these difficult experiences. You are both human and having normal reaction to traumatizing events.
5. Provide or refer to programs that can help with the psychological damage of war.
6. Provide or refer to programs that can help with surrounding issues including “family violence, substance abuse, mental illness, or maladjustment to serious medical illness” (Dulumus, 2012)
7. If necessary in the case of the client, social workers should also help with any of the following:
- Marriage/family problems
- Moving to assisted living
- Moving to nursing home
- Counseling services for grief to vet or family member of passed veteran
- Help applying for benefits from the VA, social security, and other government/community programs
- Helping family members of vets dealing with depression, health issues
- Helping vets or family members with financial and housing assistance
- Helping with child care for vets who are overwhelmed with caring for children
Dulmus, C. (2012). Social work practice with the military. In Social work fields of practice: Historical trends, professional issues, and future opportunities (pp. 273-287). Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons.
Class Lecture – March 8th, 2016