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Online Learning for Health Professionals

Photo by Airman Maebel Tinoko

The Center for Deployment Psychology (CDP) has five interactive online courses designed for clinicians caring for military service members, veterans and family members. The goal of these courses is to provide psychological health (PH) professionals with knowledge of military culture to improve communication, understanding and overall interaction with warriors and their families.

CDP developed the following courses in collaboration with Essential Learning. Each course includes background information and a series of interactive links, which allow you to control the pace of learning. These courses are available free of charge through CDP. Continuing education credits are also available for a fee through Essential Learning.

Military Cultural Competence

Military Cultural Competence introduces you to the military world. Topics cover military structure, ranks and insignia, common stressors, demographic characteristics and deployment-related terminology.

At the end of the course, you will be able to:

  • Explain the military rank structure and organization and distinguish the primary mission and core values of each branch of service.
  • Describe differences and similarities between Active and Reserve components.
  • Discuss demographic characteristics of service members.
  • Recognize general and deployment related military terms.

Working with Service Members and Veterans with PTSD

Working with Service Members and Veterans with PTSD delves into the psychiatric syndrome that can develop following exposure to trauma. The course begins with an introduction that covers the Civil War and follows up to present day. It is broken into five sections that include lessons on Prevalence of Trauma and Development of PTSD, Trauma Exposure and Emotional Reactions During OIF/OEF Deployments, Assessing PTSD and Common Co-morbidities and Treatment of PTSD.

After completing this course, you will be able to:

  • Describe the prevalence of trauma and PTSD as well as factors that contribute to the development of PTSD.
  • Recognize types of trauma exposure and emotional reactions for OIF/OEF veterans.
  • Identify validated assessment tools for PTSD.
  • Explain empirically-based treatments and barriers to care for service members/veterans with PTSD.

Prolonged Exposure Therapy for the Treatment of PTSD

Prolonged Exposure Therapy for the Treatment of PTSD reviews one of the most effective treatments for individuals who have PTSD, “Prolonged Exposure Therapy” (PE). This workshop is an introduction to PE and provides a brief overview of techniques and procedures. This course is not intended to replace the in-depth training needed to employ this treatment. More information on how to obtain thorough training, in person or through self-study, is available at the end of the course.

After completing this course you will be able to:
Discuss the theoretical underpinnings for Prolonged Exposure Therapy.

  • Summarize the empirical support for this evidence-based treatment.
  • Describe therapy procedures to include in-vivo and imaginal exposure and explain the general course of treatment protocol.

Cognitive Processing Therapy for PTSD in Veterans and Military Personnel

Cognitive Processing Therapy for PTSD in Veterans and Military Personnel is a course designed to introduce students to this evidence-based, short-term treatment for PTSD. The Cognitive Processing Therapy protocol may be used for both individuals and groups. Currently, this course is not intended to replace the in-depth training needed to employ this treatment. More information on how to obtain thorough training, in person or through self-study, is available at the end of the course.

At the end of this course, you will be able to:

  • Describe the psychological theories behind CPT.
  • Summarize the empirical evidence for CPT’s effectiveness.
  • Give an overview of the CPT protocol.

Addressing the Psychological Health Needs of Service Members and Their Families

A one-week course, “Addressing the Psychological Health Needs of Service Members and their Families” is offered across the United States and is geared toward training civilian providers who are new to working with the military or who are interested in working with service members and their families. A schedule of upcoming trainings and registration is available on CDP's homepage under "Upcoming Training Events.

This intensive course, which is comprised of four modules, will train civilian mental health providers to better address the behavioral health needs of military personnel and their family members throughout the deployment cycle.

  • Module 1 – Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
    • Educate service members with TBI and their families about the
      symptoms and effects of this injury and provide them with coping strategies
    • Direct service members with TBI and their families to services and resources for rehabilitation
  • Module 2 – Military Culture & Deployment
    • Describe aspects of the military culture that impact seeking mental health care
    • Identify several psychosocial effects of deployment (before, during, and after) on service members and their families and ways to help them manage these challenges
  • Module 3 – Post-traumatic Stress Disorder & Treatment
    • Assess for deployment-related PTSD by using standardized instruments
    • Treat deployment- related PTSD by applying either Cognitive Processing Therapy or Prolonged Exposure Therapy
  • Module 4 – Suicide & Depression
    • Assess for deployment-related suicidal risk and depression by using standardized instruments
    • Treat deployment-related suicidal behavior and depression by applying evidence-based approaches

Two-Week Courses

In addition to online courses, CDP runs free intensive two-week courses four to six times per year. These courses cover topics military mental health professionals actively providing care find important and helpful. Attendees include active duty, reserve and civilian behavioral health professionals and other professionals in training.

Topics covered in the intensive course are:

  • Deployment 101: Examines the deployment cycle with attention to the unique culture, expectations and experience of military deployment including the reintegration with family and community upon return.
  • Trauma and Resilience: Addresses issues of psychological trauma and resilience particular to the experience of combat deployment. This section also includes information pertaining to the assessment and treatment of PTSD and other problematic responses to trauma.
  • Behavioral Health Care of the Seriously Medically Injured: Participants are introduced to issues that arise when providing behavioral health care to individuals suffering from serious medical injuries and traumatic brain injury.
  • Deployment and Families: Explores the unique impact of military deployment on family members including children.

For information on training schedules, locations and registration, visit the CDP training page.

Whether you are a seasoned military psychological health professional looking for refresher courses or new to the military psychological health care community, these courses are a good starting place to learn about military culture and how it affects service members seeking treatment for psychological health issues.

Last Reviewed: 09/24/13
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