DCoE Blog

  • Working With Your Provider: Does Rank Impact Therapy?
    Graphic showing various military insignia
    Graphic courtesy of Deployment Health Clinical Center

    Getting medical treatment and therapy from the Military Health System can pose unique challenges. For example, sometimes the issue of military rank comes up. What happens when a health care provider is lower ranking than the patient? Does rank affect the doctor-patient relationship?

    Retired Capt. Richard D. Bergthold shares his experiences with military rank in the treatment setting below. Bergthold is the Navy Clinical Psychology Internship Program director at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.

  • What Do You Call a Military Patient?
    Graphic courtesy of Deployment Health Clinical Center

    The chain of command in the military offers structure, denotes a clear line of responsibility and tasks, and maintains overall order. While the rank structure is essential to an effective military, it can be tricky for mental health providers to know how to address their military patients. In addition to rank, service members may go by last names, job titles, nick names, etc. So just what do you call a member of the military?

    This excerpt from a Clinician’s Corner post, written by Navy Capt. (Dr.) Carrie Kennedy, director of the Deployment Health Clinical Center, highlights her perspective on how to address military patients seeking mental health support:


  • How to Support Women Who Serve, Their Mental Health: Tips for Providers
    Female soldier crawling under barbed wire.
    U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Aaron Ellerma

    Women represent about 16 percent of our active-duty military force. As they continue to serve, it’s critical that clinicians are equipped to treat their psychological health concerns.

    Deputy Director Dr. Kate McGraw of the Deployment Health Clinical Center has spent more than three decades working for the military. Much of her work has been dedicated to the psychological differences and needs of women in the military.

  • Psychological Health Center Highlights How Commanders Can Help Service Member Wellness
    Marine in combat year talking on radio.
    U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Andrew Huff

    There are many factors that impact service members’ overall well-being. Like many things in life, it often takes a team approach when there are obstacles. Service members benefit when mental health providers and commanders communicate effectively. For example, commanders can help improve the environment for soldiers’ wellness.

    The Deployment Health Clinical Center discusses how providers can build rapport with a patient’s command, adhere to command disclosure policies and make decisive recommendations.


  • Managing Suicide Risk, Access to Firearms: Guidelines for Providers
    Grahpic with text "Firearms are the most common method of suicide among active-duty personnel.  Approximately 64 percent of suidcides in 21014 were by personally owned firearms.
    Graphic courtesy of Deployment Health Clinical Center.

    Suicide is a sensitive topic, and discussing the ways people take their own lives can be extremely difficult. It is important that providers are aware of and able to openly discuss guidelines for managing suicide. In this recent Deployment Clinical Health Center blog, Navy Lt. Marcus Van Sickle answers questions related to firearm access and suicide.

    I have a patient who may be at risk for suicide and I know the patient owns a gun. What can I do?

  • Clinician’s Corner: Help Your Patients and Yourself Feel Comfortable Talking About Suicide
    U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Nadine Y. Barclay

    For the past eight years, suicide is among the top 10 leading causes of death in the United States, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    Despite its prevalence, suicide remains a sensitive topic often considered taboo. The effects of stigma related to suicide are of particular importance for those in the military. There is a common perception among service members that if they share their thoughts of suicide with others, they may experience negative repercussions that will affect their careers.

    As mental health professionals, we too are susceptible to personal beliefs that perpetuate stigma. Without knowing it, we may bring these beliefs and fears (rooted in stigma) into the therapy room.