Assisting military personnel in training resiliency and coping with stress and anxiety is a crucial task in view of potential health risks, in particular, mental disorders. The case of John, a 29-year-old military man who has just returned from a zone of armed conflict, proves that a person faced with the horrors of war can experience severe moral shock. In addition, according to the case, John’s doubts about his Christian faith prove that he needs guidance on the true path and assistance in overcoming the prevailing difficulties. As a practical approach to providing help, I would choose to involve the man in the course that includes rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT). This course aims to identify the key fears of people who have the problem of adapting to real life after participating in hostilities. As a communication technique, I would involve John in educational conversations based on Christian stories, in particular, the narratives of famous biblical warriors and their experiences. The combination of practical studies and lessons of religious education could allow me to help the man adapt to living outside of war and maintain his faith in God.
John’s case is a vivid example of the relevance of helping military personnel serve in war zones. The inability to cope with the problem of adapting to life after severe stress and mental shock explains the need to engage specialists to support the target audience. The realities of war can be a factor that tests personal faith and willingness to recognize God’s power. My task is to assist John and help him get rid of doubts in the church through efficient interventions based on resiliency training.
Personal and Professional Reasons
One of the main reasons why I expressed a desire to help John overcome temporary difficulties in his life is my personal interest in helping such people. The military who serve, defend national interests and maintain the authority of the state in the international arena deserve recognition and respect. As Doehring (2019) argues, spiritual care is no less important than professional interventions through therapy since, in addition to physical trauma, soldiers who have gone through the realities of war need psychological support. I have already met people who doubted their faith and expressed concern about the power of God and the validity of Bible teachings under the influence of significant life upheavals and adversities. Since John discusses his concerns regarding a recent sermon and highlights ambiguous ideas about God’s fairness, my job is to restore his faith while also showing empathy and participation. In addition, the man is facing a serious challenge in the family and is worried that his marriage is falling apart. Therefore, voluntary assistance to John is my civic duty and responsibility to the person who defends our national interests outside the country.
Regarding the professional reasons that have prompted me to help John, I could mention the value of introducing a therapy based on emotional and behavioral management. As Jarrett (2013) states, this REBT approach is a useful intervention that has potential benefits for combatants, and one of the positive implications of this program is resiliency training. Interaction with John is a practice that includes various tools of influence and algorithms for help. In addition, due to the peculiarities of the manifestation of moral stress in the man, additional aspects require consideration and analysis, in particular, his difficult situation in the family and religious concerns. Combining practical and communication mechanisms to interact with John can help me prove that the use of an effective methodology of care may be relevant as a tool to prevent post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that often manifests itself in people who have participated in hostilities. Therefore, my role as a military resiliency counselor and caregiver is highly significant not only in the context of helping an individual but also in terms of the professional relevance of the intervention to test a particular methodology and introduce successful solutions.
Even though John’s main problems are understandable and have a clear rationale, specific nuances and problems concerning his case deserve particular attention. According to Sheerin et al. (2018), there are multiple mechanisms that allow interpreting individual stressors and manifestations of anxiety in combatants, and personal background is one of the factors complicating the implementation of effective assistance tools. One of the aspects that aggravate John’s morale is the difficult situation in his family. Under the influence of anxiety and depression, his marriage is falling apart, and the man cannot find objective solutions on how to fix the situation. In addition, his religious concerns about doubting the church and God make the military helpless and vulnerable. Being a believer since his childhood, John cannot realize how varied and difficult trials that befell a person may be. Due to these nuances, the complex nature of the upcoming intervention is a key concern associated with this case.
Intervention and Support
Since John agrees that his morale is depressed due to his recent return from the war zone, a PTSD assessment needs to be performed. Wisco et al. (2017) analyze this condition in military veterans and note that prolonged depression complicated by symptoms of PTSD can last for years and lead to severe consequences, such as suicidal thoughts. Based on John’s reasoning, the likelihood of developing the disorder is high. According to Doehring (2019), if a soldier feels the guilt of a survivor but not fear for one’s own life after participating in hostilities, this is one of the symptoms of PTSD and requires specialists’ help. Thus, one of the intervention tools is the development and implementation of a special PTSD checklist that Corona et al. (2019) describe as an algorithm for identifying a person’s tendency to the disorder and the severity of the problem. A number of questions can be asked to the man, and based on his responses, the analysis may be carried out by using a pre-compiled rating scale. In John’s depression, this measure has value as a mechanism to help determine the degree of susceptibility to PTSD.
Promoting resiliency is a must in the context of this case. Watts and Roush (2020) consider this phenomenon and provide general considerations. According to the authors, maintaining resiliency involves creating conditions that allow patients to adapt to challenges encountered and find a way to overcome temporary negative experiences that affect morale (Watts & Roush, 2020). At the same time, despite the uniqueness of each particular case, the existing approaches to promoting resiliency are largely similar due to the common symptoms of PTSD and depression. For instance, as Green et al. (2014) state, alcohol misuse is one of the consequences of combat exposure and often manifests itself when a military man cannot adapt to a peaceful life. In John’s case, he does not mention problems with substance abuse, which, nevertheless, is not a reason to neglect the assessment of his predisposition to this problem by examining the man’s family history and habits that may be risk factors. In addition, assessing the man’s cultural background can help identify potential drivers for improving his mental state, and the mentioning of his religious belief is a valuable tool that may be utilized as support.
As the key intervention tools, I plan to use the REBT approach as a mechanism to address the root causes of the service member’s depression. Jarrett (2013) examines this therapy among soldiers who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan and notes that it benefits not only the military but also their families. John’s case confirms the negative implications of the service on his marriage, and using REBT can be a valuable algorithm to help him improve the relationships with his wife. The man expresses doubt about his faith, and as an additional intervention technique, a program to increase resiliency among military personnel through Christian principles of influence can be effective. Knobloch et al. (2019) analyzes this approach and notes that corresponding discussions based on biblical concepts can help change the views of depressed military personnel about suffering and evil by cultivating the culture of trust and reforming the views on faith. Therefore, for John, such conversations are useful because I expect to not only help the man overcome mental challenges but also restore his confidence in the church as an institution that contributes to coping with temporary difficulties and depressed moods.
The intervention tools selected are potentially useful mechanisms due to a person-oriented approach based on individual interaction. According to Adler et al. (2015), in the context of assisting military personnel, resiliency training procedures have been shown to be less effective with group therapies. Therefore, the objectivity of the proposed intervention methods is justified. In terms of engaging Christian concepts, I intend to include the stories of the biblical warriors in the program of interaction with John. In particular, I want to involve him in discussions about David defeating Goliath. As an argument, I would utilize Grimell’s (2018) argument that even though David was actually a killer, he had nothing to do with PTSD. This topic will give me an opportunity to convey to John that participating in hostilities for the sake of peace and protecting the interests of the innocent is not contrary to God’s commandments. Sufferings a person experiences are tests sent down by higher powers. The ability to overcome them and not succumb to discouragement is the hallmark of a true believer. I believe that my arguments will help John as an additional incentive for his speedy recovery.
Participating in assistance programs as a military resiliency counselor and caregiver is a valuable experience for me. While working with the target audience, I have acquired essential communication skills and practical attainments that allow me to design and implement productive interventions. The experience of working with John is particularly valuable due to an opportunity to combine resiliency promotion methods with biblical concepts. The Christian background of such activities helps me understand the motives and drivers of human behavior and determine how vulnerable a particular soldier can be under the influence of difficulties and experiences. As Grimmel (2018) states, engaging biblical stories in interactions with patients with PTSD and other forms of mental disorders caused by combat trauma opens up opportunities to abstract from traditional therapies and support techniques and introduce person-oriented communication practices that increase the value of such a two-way interaction. Therefore, the use of this highly focused methodology is a potentially effective mechanism to create an enabling environment for targeted military personnel to recover quickly.
Applying the REBT approach was also a valuable experience for me to establish contact not only with John but also with his wife. After communicating with the young woman, I came to the conclusion that the dissension in their family was based on the soldier’s extreme irritation and his unwillingness to accept help. She, in turn, sought to support her husband, but after several attempts to talk, she faced irritation and John’s unwillingness to communicate. I had a conversation with her individually and found out that she did not intend to betray her husband, but it was hard for her to accept his anger towards herself. At the end of the entire therapy process, I intend to conduct a group session and involve both the soldier and his wife. In addition, I have learned how powerful the impact of Bible stories can be on a person who claims to be a believer. The Christian background of the intervention has helped me to find the necessary arguments proving that any challenges and suffering sent by God are tests that need to be passed with dignity.
As the areas in which I see the potential development of myself as a military resiliency counselor and caregiver, I would mention training that involves high-risk cases. Most of my clients are military personnel who are anxious and depressed due to participating in hostilities. However, in some cases, mental disorders are so severe that emergency and professional help is needed to keep a person alive. I would like to obtain more knowledge in this area, which, as Adler et al. (2015) note, is a valuable experience for engaging with the vulnerable population. In addition, I would like to hone my group therapy skills since I have often worked individually. The ability to provide assistance to several people at the same time may allow speeding up the process of their recovery and creating a favorable and friendly environment for their adaptation to normal life.
As a productive intervention to address John’s case and help the soldier to adjust to normal life, I would use the combination of the REBT approach and biblical discourse. The value of this method lies in an opportunity to interact not only with the man but also with his wife, which is an urgent task due to the dissension in their family. As additional tools for solving this problem, I would resort to standard practices, including promoting resiliency and overcoming PTSD as a dangerous condition that can turn into a severe disorder. The given justification base proves that timely and qualified assistance is a prerequisite, and my participation in John’s case is important not only for him but also for myself. The use of Christian concepts as a method of influencing the man and, in particular, his weakening faith is a step towards convincing him that any suffering and evil are God’s tests, and overcoming them means becoming stronger. As additional areas to develop my attainments, I would participate in a training program for high-risk cases and conduct more group therapies to achieve clients’ faster recovery and maintain collective support.
Adler, A. B., Williams, J., McGurk, D., Moss, A., & Bliese, P. D. (2015). Resilience training with soldiers during basic combat training: Randomisation by platoon. Applied Psychology: Health and Well‐Being, 7(1), 85-107. Web.
Corona, C. D., Van Orden, K. A., Wisco, B. E., & Pietrzak, R. H. (2019). Meaning in life moderates the association between morally injurious experiences and suicide ideation among US combat veterans: Results from the National Health and Resilience in Veterans Study. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, 11(6), 614-620. Web.
Doehring, C. (2019). Military moral injury: An evidence-based and intercultural approach to spiritual care. Pastoral Psychology, 68(1), 15-30. Web.
Green, K. T., Beckham, J. C., Youssef, N., & Elbogen, E. B. (2014). Alcohol misuse and psychological resilience among US Iraq and Afghanistan era veterans. Addictive Behaviors, 39(2), 406-413. Web.
Grimell, J. (2018). Contemporary insights from Biblical combat veterans through the lenses of moral injury and post-traumatic stress disorder. Journal of Pastoral Care & Counseling, 72(4), 241-250. Web.
Jarrett, T. A. (2013). Warrior resilience and thriving (WRT): Rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT) as a resiliency and thriving foundation to prepare warriors and their families for combat deployment and posttraumatic growth in Operation Iraqi Freedom, 2005-2009. Journal of Rational-Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy, 31(2), 93-107. Web.
Knobloch, L. K., Owens, J. L., Matheson, L. N., & Dodson, M. B. (2019). Evaluating the effectiveness of REBOOT Combat Recovery: A faith-based combat trauma resiliency program. Military Psychology, 31(4), 306-314. Web.
Sheerin, C. M., Stratton, K. J., Amstadter, A. B., Clinical Center (MIRECC) Workgroup, The VA Mid-Atlantic Mental Illness Research, Education, & McDonald, S. D. (2018). Exploring resilience models in a sample of combat-exposed military service members and veterans: A comparison and commentary. European Journal of Psychotraumatology, 9(1), 1486121. Web.
Watts, S. A., & Roush, L. (2020). Self-care and resilience techniques to combat diabetes care and education specialist burnout. ADCES in Practice, 8(1), 24-27. Web.
Wisco, B. E., Marx, B. P., May, C. L., Martini, B., Krystal, J. H., Southwick, S. M., & Pietrzak, R. H. (2017). Moral injury in US combat veterans: Results from the national health and resilience in veterans study. Depression and Anxiety, 34(4), 340-347. Web.