6 Important Facts to know about the role of Military Social Work

1.Social Workers can use therapy to relieve veterans of distress

Different types of therapies, such as exposure therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy, have been found to help alleviate the trauma that veterans may experience. Although these therapies may not eliminate the trauma completely, they can help the veteran deal and control their experience. (Studgeon, 2016)

2.Social Workers can help advocate for veterans who have been sexually abused

Veterans who meet with social workers may admit to having been sexually abused while in the military. Although justice is not always found for the victims, social workers can still help advocate on behalf of the veterans, as well as provide emotional support to overcome the trauma. (Studgeon, 2016)

3.Families of those serving may work with social workers

Families of those serving in the military sometimes receive social work assistance as well. Social workers can help families adjust to having a loved one in the military, as well as cope with the fear and worried feelings often experienced. (Vasello, 2016)

4.Social Workers can be found as part of the military

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is the largest employer of social workers in America. And although not all social workers who work for the VA have served in active duty, the military additionally employs social workers. For example, in 2003, there were 150 army social work officers, and 215 air force social work officers. (Daley, 2003)

5.Alcohol and substance abuse is a prevalent problem among veterans

Alcohol is considered a popular form of self-medication for veterans as a way to deal with their emotional pain. Social workers may help explain the problems associated with alcohol abuse and why it is not beneficial, as the emotional pain is still present when the veteran is sober.  (Studgeon, 2016)

6.Social Workers may work with veterans in a one-on-one or group setting

Both a one-on-one and group setting can be advantageous in providing care for veterans. While a one-on-one setting allows for a more intimate conversation, a group setting may allow for a veteran to feel supported and understood by fellow veterans. (Studgeon, 2016)

by David Montes


Daley, J. D. (2003). Military social work A multi-country comparison. International Social Work, 46(4), 437-448.

Studgeon, C. Class Lecture, 3/10/2016.

Vassello, J. Class Lecture, 3/8/2016.




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