DND psychologists serving CAF members
By Chimène Jewer, M.Sc., R.Psych, CF H Svcs C (A)
February is National Psychology Month, a great opportunity to highlight the role and contributions of DND psychologists serving CAF members in MARLANT as well as those in the civilian community.
According to the Canadian Psychological Association (CPA), a psychologist “studies how we think, feel and behave from a scientific viewpoint and applies this knowledge to help people understand, explain and change their behaviour.” (www.cpa.ca). Psychologists’ primary role is to provide assessment, consultation, and counselling/therapy services. They can diagnose and treat mental illness, and often work in collaboration with other members of the healthcare team such as psychiatrists, family physicians, mental health nurses, social workers, etc. Psychologists may specialize in certain areas; for example, mood disorders, anxiety disorders, personality disorders, eating disorders, addictions, developmental disorders, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). They work in clinical settings, research and/or education.
Psychologists have masters or doctorate level training. They have extensive training in the variety of empirical treatment methods they use, depending on the particular circumstances of the patient. Treatment is significantly more than just talk. For example, one method is specifically designed to assist patients to increase their motivation, another involves changing negative patterns of thinking and behaviour, and yet another involves changing behaviours to better match the patient’s values and beliefs.
Canadian Forces Health Services Centre (Atlantic) (CF H Svcs C (A)) employs nine psychologists in Mental Health Services. In general, CAF members in MARLANT have greater, timelier access to psychology services than the general civilian population. At a ratio of approximately one psychologist for approximately every 1100 members, MARLANT has nearly double the number of psychologists compared to what is available to the general civilian population of Nova Scotia. CAF members get relatively fast access to mental health. Wait times for CAF members to see psychologists are reasonable and much shorter than they are for the general civilian population.
Our psychologists work in three different Mental Health departments. There are three Psychologists currently working in General Mental Health Program (GMH), where the focus is on assessing and treating non-service related mental health conditions. We have two psychologists working in our Addiction Prevention and Treatment Program (APT) program, where the focus is on substance abuse and dependency and other addictions. And we have four psychologists in the Operational Trauma and Stress Support Centre (OTSSC), which focuses on service-related mental health conditions or Operational Stress Injuries (OSIs). For more information on Mental Health programs, consult CF H Svcs C (A), http://halifax.mil.ca/cfhsvcsca/.
Our Psychology Team is a diverse and well-trained team with extensive clinical experience. All of our psychologists have at least seven years of experience, several have 10 to 20 years of experience, and a few have 20 plus years of experience. Our psychologists all had experience working in the civilian healthcare sector, in a variety of inpatient and outpatient settings, before bringing this expertise to the CAF health services. Most of our psychologists have been serving the CAF for several years and have become quite familiar with the mental health needs of CAF members. Some of our psychologists have even spent the majority of their careers serving CAF members.
Our psychologists are well-trained to treat common presenting problems, such as: depression and anxiety; adjustment issues; work and relationship problems; personality disorders; trauma, etc. In addition, most have added areas of specialty where they have done extra work and/or research. For example, some of our psychologists have additional speciality training in: trauma; addictions; health psychology; forensic psychology; human sexuality; gerontology; eating disorders and body image dissatisfaction, and chronic pain. Several of our psychologists also have additional training in highly specialized treatment methods, such as Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy and Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT).
All of our psychologists are registered with The Nova Scotia Board of Examiners in Psychology (NSBEP) www.nsbep.org, whose mandate is to protect the public by ensuring that providers are properly trained and qualified. For more information about psychologists, consult NSBEP, the Association of Psychologists of Nova Scotia (APNS) www.apns.ca and/or the Canadian Psychological Association (CPA) www.cpa.ca.
In the civilian community, the Association of Psychologists of Nova Scotia (APNS) will be sponsoring several presentations during Psychology Month. These are free to attend if members or others are interested.
1. Tuesday, February 6 at 6:30 p.m.: Borderline Personality Disorder (Dr. Amber Fougere)
2. Tuesday, February 13 at 6:30 p.m.: Mindful self-compassion (Jackie Milner)
3. Tuesday, February 20 at 6:30 p.m.: ADHD Child/Adolescent (Dr. Kiran Pure)
4. Saturday, February 24 at 1:00 p.m.: Stand By Me (Dr. Vicky Wolfe)
5. Tuesday, February 27 at 6:30 p.m.: Resilience (Dr. JO Durup)
1. Wednesday, February 21 at 7:00 p.m. – ADHD (Dr. Lindsay Bates)
2. Sunday, February 25 at 2:30 – 4:00 p.m. – Parent-Teen Communication (Dr. Ayala Gorodzinsky)
1. Tuesday, February 6, 6:30 p.m. – Understanding/Managing Stress in Children (Dr. Elaine Campbell)
2. Tuesday, February 13 at 6:30 p.m – Understanding/Managing Trauma/PTSD (Dr. Eileen Donahoe)
1. Thursday, February 8 at 6:30 p.m. – Self-care (Emily Atkinson)
1. Wednesday, February 28 at 12:00 p.m. – Parent/Child Relationship (Cornelia Melville)
For an up-to-date list of presentations in the community, visit www.apns.ca. For more information about psychology month, visit www.apns.ca or www.cpa.ca/psychologymonth/