September 4, 2013
Helping military families cope with their children acting out after the deployment of a loved one. Providing intervention when a service member returns home injured and the family realizes the impact of the disability on their lives. Reintegrating a service member into civilian life after he or she returns home to career changes, financial restraints and competing demands that are just too overwhelming. Or, helping an Honor Guard member adapt to the difficult job of having to bury fellow service members four times a day, every day of the week. These are just a few examples of how military counselors can help provide needed support and expertise for service members and their families.
University of Mary Worldwide is proud to announce it is now offering the region's only military emphasis in the Master of Science in Counseling (MSC) with the addition of two courses to its program — COU 670 Counseling Military Families and COU 680 Trauma & Loss in Military Families. The first course will be offered this fall from Nov. 12 through Dec. 19, Tuesday and Thursday evenings at the Fargo Center from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Orientation for the class will be held on Nov. 7 at 5:30 p.m., at the Fargo Center 1351 Page Drive.
Plans are also underway to offer the program in Bismarck.
The MSC military counseling emphasis may be included as part of the Master of Science in Counseling offered by the University of Mary or added to an existing master's degree. In addition, the courses may be taken as stand-alone courses for personal growth and development or as continuing education credits.
Kristi Clifton, LCSW, wing director of psychological health of the 119th Wing with the North Dakota Air National Guard, is the instructor for the courses.
"According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, there are over 57,000 military veterans, just in North Dakota," commented Clifton. "Within these 57,000 veterans, there are countless untold sacrifices by spouses, children, and other family members. It is imperative that the new generation of counselors be culturally competent to serve this population. Clinicians need to be ready to serve those who have served our country."
"I have been fortunate to attend several of the Interservice Family Assistance Committee (ISFAC) meetings this past year," stated Dr. Jarilyn Gess, director of graduate counseling at University of Mary School of Education and Behavioral Science in its Fargo Center. "ISFAC is a voluntary military cooperative partnership organized to provide multi-service networking for training and assistance to ensure total force family readiness. Their purpose is to provide assistance to families regardless of service component. The goal of the ISFAC is to strengthen existing family assistance delivery systems in the event of mobilization, deployment, or natural disaster through the interaction of committee.
"Attending these meetings and engaging in conversation with several of the attendees I realized that the MSC program could become an avenue for expanding the knowledge and understanding of the issues military families endure. For me, this is exemplary of the Benedictine values the University of Mary emulates, especially service, community, and respect for person."
Counseling Military Families is the first of two courses that will be offered this year. This three-credit course examines the impact of military culture on children and families. An overview of the cycle of deployment, post-deployment, and reentry to the community will be discussed. Special emphasis will be on counseling spouses and children to include but not limited to: secondary trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), substance abuse, family violence, attachment issues as well as intimacy.
Course outcomes include having an understanding of the cycle of deployment, post-deployment and reentry to the community; knowledge and skill development in counseling spouses and children in areas of secondary trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), substance abuse, family violence, attachment issues as well as intimacy; participants will gain an understanding of the unique aspects related to counseling military families, and the community resources for military families and their children.
The second course in the sequence that will be offered this year is COU 680 Trauma & Loss in Military Families. This three-credit course examines the impact of trauma and loss on military culture and children and families. Special emphasis will be on counseling spouses and children to include but not limited to: survivors of natural disaster, violence, terrorism, loss of limb, etc. as well as death and dying. This course will emphasize the counselor's immediate response, assessment and treatment protocols for recovery, trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder, suicide prevention and assessment as well as death, dying, and the grief process.
Specific course outcomes that will be discussed relating to understanding trauma, crisis events, loss and death as it relates to military families and children; knowledge and skill development in counseling military families, spouses and children in the areas of, to include but not limited to: trauma, crisis events, disasters, suicide and death; and participants will better understand the unique aspects related to counseling military families in specific crisis areas.
Those interested in registering or learning more about the program should contact Gess at [email protected], Kay Exner at [email protected] or by phone at (701) 232-7088.