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Are You Stuck? Learn Coping Skills to Help You Move Forward

Service member jumping out of a plane
U.S. Marine Corps photo by Kowshon Ye

A new website gives members of the military community access to an educational and life coaching program online. Developed by National Center for Telehealth and Technology (T2) and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) as part of the Defense Department and VA initiative to provide collaborative and integrated mental health services to veterans and service members, “Moving Forward” helps individuals better understand their own problem-solving abilities and teaches new skills to overcome obstacles in life, both big and small.

Below, Dr. Pam Murphy, a licensed psychologist and project lead at T2 for “Moving Forward,” describes the training through a series of questions we thought a service member or veteran might ask if given the chance to speak with her.

Q: What is “Moving Forward” and where can I find it?

A: “Moving Forward,” at startmovingforward.t2.health.mil, is a self-help online training course that teaches problem-solving skills to help individuals overcome life’s challenges. It’s based on a highly effective cognitive behavioral treatment program used successfully with veterans across the country for the past several years. Although many veteran centers continue to offer the program in-person, we hope this online version expands the reach of this resource to individuals who may not have easy access to VA centers and our active-duty service members.

Q: Who does “Moving Forward” help?

A: Really, anyone with stressful problems or just feeling stuck in some area of their life. Once you get into the course, you’ll notice most of the situations and stories relate to veterans and service members. However, the tools and skills taught in the course apply to any situation or problem. So, if you’re struggling with keeping relationships, finding a job, dealing with loneliness or adjusting to civilian life, you’ll find “Moving Forward” helpful.

Q: How will learning problem-solving skills help me?

A: Many service members are great problem solvers on the job. Through training and practice, they’ve learned how to assess and reassess ever-changing combat situations. But for some individuals, applying those skills seems harder in their personal life. Learning problem-solving skills and creating a definitive action plan can help in your personal life just as it does at your job. In the “Moving Forward” course you can take a quick quiz to find out what type of problem solver you are. When you understand your problem-solving strengths and weaknesses, you’re better equipped to make good decisions.

Q: Will this online program address the unique challenges I face as a service member or veteran?

A: Yes, many of the examples you’ll find throughout the course are the same problems you may face as a service member or veteran. One online character is facing a divorce soon after his return from Iraq and feels as if his world is upside down. Another character struggles with adjusting to civilian life after leaving the military. Still another looks for ways not to let his anger and frustration rule his life.

Q: How does the training work?

A: You progress through eight modules that teach you how to solve problems step-by-step. Go through the modules in order the first time, then return later to the portions you find especially helpful. The course features first-person stories, video exercises, surveys and games to help you understand the importance of problem-solving skills. If you complete the course all at once, you’ll probably need about three hours. However, if you take a break, you can pick up where you left off.

Q: What can I expect to experience on this site?

A: The course is very hands-on. The point is for you to learn new skills, such as ways to stop and slow down your brain when you’re stressed, recognize your problem-solving style, and approach problems with a plan. From the home page, you can sample a few of the activities you’ll find in the course — relaxation exercises, a quiz to evaluate your stress level and more. As you get into the course, you’ll watch personal stories of individuals using the different tools taught in the course. And, an online worksheet helps you to apply the steps of the problem-solving approach you learn.

Q: Does Moving Forward take the place of counseling?

A: No. The focus is on helping individuals be more confident about their futures, cope with stress, and be optimistic about handling difficult problems when they arise. While the course can be helpful for both every day and more serious life problems, some individuals may need traditional mental health services, such as face-to-face counseling.

Q: Who will see my answers?

A: No one. The website allows users to remain anonymous.

Q: Is there any other way to access this information?

A: Not right now, but soon! A companion mobile app, also called “Moving Forward,” is planned for release early next year.

If you have questions for Murphy about “Moving Forward,” use the comment section below or visit T2 for more information.



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