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Why Military Counseling Training is Needed

There is a critical lack of both advanced and comprehensive training in military counseling and related services, both during and after clinicians' graduate programs. The lack of specialized training in working with veterans, veterans with disabilities, and their families can lead to misdiagnosis and inaccurate assessment, inappropriate and ineffective treatment, shaming veterans who seek services and deterring veterans from seeking further services. A national survey in 2016 of all nationally accredited counselor education graduate programs reported that only one program offered a certificate program in military trauma counseling (click here to see the full survey). The onboarding training that clinicians are receiving through organizations that provide military counseling does not appear to be either advanced or comprehensive.

There are also substantial barriers to veterans and veterans with disabilities who seek services and for clinicians offering care. Veterans often seek mental health services outside the VA hospital system due to the following:

Barriers to Veterans
  • Extended wait times at bases and VA hospitals
  • Distance from the nearest VA hospital
  • Lack of insurance coverage
  • Perceived negative impact of a mental health diagnosis appearing on their military record
  • Fear of judgment
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