Army Psychologist Career Information, Jobs, Degrees & Training Programs

Army psychologists are responsible for diagnosing problems and recommending treatment strategies for soldiers struggling with various types of emotional, relationship, anxiety, and substance abuse problems. They work with soldiers stationed in deployment centers preparing to leave for warzones and those who've been involved in combat, including special forces operatives.

Army psychologists working with soldiers who frequently participate in combat operations typically recommend solution-focused therapy, while psychologists meeting with soldiers stationed in deployment centers often teach them cognitive-behavioral techniques, so these soldiers can cope with stress before it becomes a bigger problem. Psychologists working with veterans struggling with anxiety or depression often diagnose them with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and make treatment recommendations.

Many Army psychologists are staffed at veterans' hospitals and medical clinics located on military bases. Some veterans struggle with chronic pain, poor eyesight, holding a job, memory loss, PTSD, and other problems, so the Army has taken steps to increase the accessibility of qualified psychologists. Even soldiers who've not been injured or emotionally scarred often struggle with transitioning to civilian life after their deployments end. To better cope, they often meet with psychologists and other mental health professionals.

Many soldiers do not require extensive therapy, but they do greatly benefit by having someone to share their feelings with, such as military personnel responsible for caring for maimed and wounded soldiers and those who've lost colleagues in battle. Soldiers responsible for informing family members of their loved ones deaths frequently meet with Army psychologists. These professionals are typically good listeners and very helpful when people are trying to process their feelings.

Even though many Army psychologists are enlisted in the Army or National Guard, civilian psychologists frequently work in veterans' hospitals, hospitals located on military bases, and other health clinics. Psychologists working on military bases or military health clinics also assist family members of service members who may be struggling with anxiety, depression, and other problems triggered by their family members' military service. These professionals often organize group counseling sessions, substance abuse prevention programs, and marital and relationship counseling sessions for family members of soldiers.

In addition to clinical services, many Army psychologists participate in developing Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape, (SERE) training, an extensive survival training program designed for special forces operatives. Since special forces soldiers can be captured and forced to undergo brutal interrogations, Army psychologists teach them how to withstand these hostile interrogations. Psychologists who participate in SERE training development and recommend soldiers for elite programs and missions are known as operational psychologists. They are usually stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina since many special forces operatives are trained at this base.

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have increased demand for qualified Army psychologists to work with soldiers at bases, deployment centers, and combat zones. In fact, the Army is currently experiencing a 20% shortfall of psychologists. As a result, the Army is now offering generous signing bonuses and tuition assistance and loan repayment programs and increasing internships. More opportunities are also now available for civilian psychologists interested in assisting members of the military.

It's a great time to begin a career as an Army psychologist since there is high demand for qualified psychologists currently in the military. If you are interested in a career as an Army psychologist, be sure to select an accredited psychology degree program recognized by the American Psychological Association (APA).

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