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Glen Sutch on 01 Jun 2017 1706 said:
Very good question. For those not previously involved in Military Culture, I would simply suggest to follow Sean's advice above, and to watch, listen, and learn. May I offer that Rank comes from two maturing streams of knowledge and experience: Leadership, and Specialized Job Skills. One consists of innate abilities, experience, and Professional Military Training (think Recruit Training, Professional Schools and Academies, and Senior/Junior Mentoring). The other is similar, but more technical in it's orientation. Job skills are taught based on principals of Scientific Management, assessment of individual abilities, and academic learning about the job you will be performing on the equipment you will be using, and how all of that fits into the operational needs of combat.
If rank is impairing to the process of therapy, it is largely found in the counter-transference. A Medical Officer/Therapist will find a different dynamic than will a Counselor/Therapist in a Fleet/Family Service Center, and a Counseling Psychologist/Therapist who is a VA Provider or Civilian Counselor/Private Practice Therapist. All of the settings are significantly different. There are trainings available through a number of resources for any one who serves the Behavioral/Mental Health needs of Former service, Veterans, and Active Duty/Reserves.
If interested in serving any of the identified populations, look at the VA.gov resources and trainings, the Home Base program through The Red Sox and Mass Gen Hosp, among a wealth of others.
My personal recommendations are to simply be genuine, accepting, and open to the person in front of you. That Unconditional Positive Regard, that openness to explore the clients felt needs and wants will lead you in the direction you need to go.
As an old retired GySgt (Marine Gunny), and now a Licensed MFT working in a County Behavioral Health System, I don't see many veterans, but I do see a few Former Service Members. Through it all I have learned that skill of respecting the person first, listening more than talking, and just being present in the moment. Your Professional Skills will guide you from there.
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