Local

September 5, 2013

VA clinical psychologist raises military sexual trauma awareness

Michael Moore, Ph.D., military sexual trauma coordinator at the Southern Arizona Veterans Affairs Health Care System in Tucson, presents a session on military sexual trauma, or MST, in the Murr Community Center, Aug. 22. Attendees learned about how the VA assists patients with MST and the treatments available to them.

 

As the Army continues to strengthen its core values and leadership, Fort Huachuca’s Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention, or SHARP program, hopes to build leaders of advocacy when addressing military sexual trauma, or MST.

Soldiers and civilians received a better understanding of MST through SHARP’s guest speaker Michael Moore, Ph.D., Military Sexual Trauma coordinator, Southern Arizona Veterans Affairs Health Care System, Tucson, on Aug. 22 at Murr Community Center. Moore shared his expertise in defining MST, its current statistics, psychological and physiological impacts and treatments available.

“I want [program attendees] to take away how to not blame the victim and be a first responder for them,” said Sgt. Angela Lovely, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, U.S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence, outgoing Fort Huachuca SHARP sexual assault response coordinator.

During the presentation, Moore gave advice on a course of action to follow if a commanding officer is approached by an MST victim. He explained that if that Soldier was recently victimized, how physical and emotional needs must first be met before scheduling therapy sessions.

Moore pointed out that an MST victim needs to be in a safe place – away from the perpetrator. He stated that in the military, due to command structure, they are often put back into that same environment, which can cause them to relive the same traumatic experience all over again.

He stressed that victims should have the option to talk about the experience because it sometimes helps them, but at the same time the victim shouldn’t feel forced to talk. A leading Soldier must also help the victim manage the symptoms and emotions from the MST. According to Moore, this helps the victim feel validated.

“I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard the phrase, ‘I felt so invalidated when I told so-and-so about what happened. When I went to my commanding officer about it, [he or she] basically told me to suck it up and move on, and told me that it’s not as bad as it sounds, or you’ll get over it.’ That can be very invalidating to the individual,” Moore said. “So being able to validate the person’s emotions and feelings is very important.”

He emphasized a variety of treatments are available at the Tucson VA depending upon where the victims are at in the recovery process and what needs they might have. These options include trauma education, where they learn about the trauma and reactions they are experiencing.

In the skills development program, MST patients learn core coping skills to deal with the distress and manage their emotions. The next steps of treatment, cognitive processing therapy and prolonged exposure, are trauma-focused. In cognitive processing therapy, counselors do a lot of talking and writing with the patient to focus on the belief systems he or she is forming as a result of the trauma and how to challenge those beliefs.

“The VA has found a group of treatments for trauma that the research shows works best, and that’s what we’re using at the Tucson VA,” Moore said.

In a prolonged exposure treatment, a patient talks about the MST experience in every session as if it was happening repeatedly and must reveal every detail. The idea behind this program is to reduce anxiety. With this type of therapy, Moore explained the goal is to help victims find normalcy in their lives again as they learn to cope with the painful emotions and come to realize the trauma is over and the memories cannot hurt them.

Two other specific programs the Tucson VA offers are “Seeking Safety,” which is a dual treatment to address trauma, and substance or alcohol abuse and dialectical behavioral therapy – offered to patients who need intensive, prolonged therapy.

For Stacy Picciano, Fort Huachuca garrison SHARP sexual assault response coordinator, Moore’s information was eye-opening.

“There was information about veterans that I didn’t know about,” Picciano said. “[There were] details about what the VA offers that aren’t made public.”

While the VA offers group therapy and one-on-one treatment options, another option that caught Picciano’s attention was the VA video teleconferencing to get counseling from home. The Tucson VA has MST treatment options for both men and women and has specific therapy groups for each. Moore pointed out that men can also be victims of MST.

In 2012, the Pentagon estimated that 26,000 military men and women were sexually assaulted; however only 3,300 of them were documented, and about 10 percent led to prosecutions.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Natalie Lakosil

Memorial Day ceremonies honor those who lost their lives for our country

Natalie Lakosil Maj. Gen. Robert Ashley, commanding general, U.S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence and Fort Huachuca, and Command Sgt. Major Jeffery Fairley, USAICoE command sergeant major, salute the first wreath laid fo...
 
 

Presidential Proclamation — National Mental Health Awareness Month, 2015 NATIONAL MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS MONTH, 2015 BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION This year, approximately one in five American adults — our friends, colleagues, and loved ones — will experience a diagnosable mental health condition like depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia or post-traumatic stress, and many others will be troubled by significant emotional and psychological distress, especially in times of difficulty. For most of these...
 
 
Natalie Lakosil

USAG welcomed its new command sergeant major Wednesday

Natalie Lakosil Col. Thomas A. Boone, U.S. Army Garrison commander, right, passes the noncommissioned officers’ sword symbolizing the change of responsibility for USAG to the incoming USAG command sergeant major, Command Sgt....
 

 
Courtesy Photo

JITC gains new senior enlisted leader, one retires

Courtesy Photo From left, Sgt. Maj. Lewis Brown, outgoing senior enlisted leader for the Joint Interoperability Test Command, stands with Sgt. Maj. Antonio Vizcarrondo, U.S. Marine Corps, senior enlisted advisor for the Defense...
 
 
D. Myles Cullen, DOD

Dempsey emphasizes trust at West Point graduation

D. Myles Cullen, DOD Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, delivers the commencement address at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., Saturday. WEST POINT, N.Y. — The chairman of the Joint Chief...
 
 

Cyber readiness inspection takes place on FH next week

The Defense Information Systems Agency, or DISA, will conduct a command cyber readiness inspection, CCRI, at Fort Huachuca Monday through June 5. The inspection is mandated by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff instruction, CJCSI 6211.02D, targets all installation secure internet protocol router network (SIPRNET) points of presence, and may include military, civilian,...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin