Before reading this week’s articles, what do you believe Military Psychology is or what it entails. Even if you have never been exposed to it, think about your prerequisites (intro to psych) and other psychology courses you might have already taken. After completing the readings, how much did your perspective change of what Military Psychology is? What do you envision being easy/difficult for you to conduct in the military setting, professionally and/or personally?
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Military psychology is a branch of psychology that focuses on the study and application of psychological principles within military contexts. As a medical professor responsible for creating assignments for medical college students, I am familiar with the prerequisites and courses that students have taken in the field of psychology. I have a basic understanding of psychology, including its various subfields, but have not specifically studied military psychology. However, my exposure to the subject allows me to consider the potential challenges and opportunities that may arise when conducting psychological work within a military setting.
Before reading the articles on Military Psychology, I perceived it as a field that primarily focused on providing mental health services to military personnel. My understanding was that military psychologists primarily addressed issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and combat-related psychological trauma. From my prior knowledge of psychology, I believed that they would use therapeutic approaches and counseling techniques to help individuals cope with the psychological challenges of military life.
After completing the readings, my perspective on Military Psychology has broadened significantly. I now understand that this field encompasses much more than just mental health services. Military psychologists are involved in various aspects of military operations, including assessment and selection of personnel, leadership training, and understanding and enhancing human performance in military contexts. Their roles extend beyond clinical work, and they also contribute extensively to research, consultation, program development, and policy formulation.
The articles highlighted the importance of resilience and psychological well-being in military personnel. They discussed the unique stressors faced by military personnel, such as deployments, combat exposure, and the need to make critical and life-saving decisions in high-pressure situations. Military psychologists play a crucial role in promoting psychological health and supporting the overall well-being of military personnel and their families.
Considering my professional setting as a medical professor, I envision several aspects of conducting psychology work in a military setting that may be challenging. Firstly, the military environment is characterized by a hierarchical structure, strict rules, and regulations. Adapting to this structure and building rapport with personnel might require a different approach compared to working in civilian settings. Understanding and navigating the military culture can be an initial hurdle.
Secondly, the nature of military operations involves frequent deployments and relocations. This can pose challenges in terms of continuity of care for psychological services. Maintaining relationships and providing ongoing support to military personnel and their families, even when physically separated, may require innovative strategies such as telehealth.
Lastly, the potentially traumatic experiences that military personnel may face present unique ethical considerations. Ensuring the privacy and confidentiality of sensitive information while addressing the mental health needs of military personnel is crucial. The sensitivity of issues related to national security and the potential impact on future military operations must be handled with utmost care and professionalism.
In conclusion, the readings on Military Psychology significantly expanded my understanding of this field beyond mental health services. The role of military psychologists encompasses a wide range of activities, including research, consultation, and program development. Conducting psychological work in a military setting may present challenges related to the hierarchical structure, continuity of care, and ethical considerations. However, it also provides an opportunity to contribute to the well-being and operational readiness of military personnel.