Part of making sure that our veterans receive the care they deserve is understanding the intricacies of the family dynamic. In this sense, providing clinical services to our veterans and their identified family makes the most clinical sense. In doing so, we increase the overall likelihood of improved quality of life for veterans and their loved ones.
At the Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at Family Endeavors in El Paso, 57% of our clients are family members of veterans. As such, we understand that veterans’ experiences have profound and lasting impacts on their family. In the case of post-traumatic stress, family members can experience some challenging symptoms such as depression, fear and worry, sleep issues, anger, and avoidance, amongst other negative feelings.
During the short time we have been in operation, we have seen the importance of including family members in our clinical services. For instance, we had the opportunity to work with a veteran who sought services for his trauma. After two sessions and gentle encouragement, we were able to include his wife, who had been experiencing sleep issues.
As they made progress, they came to understand that many issues their children were experiencing at the home, a reported stressful environment, could also be addressed by our clinicians. We were then able to include their two children, one who suffered from anxiety and the other who suffered from anger, into the program. Each family member received an individual clinician, in addition to their primary group clinician, to help the family gain quality of life back individually and as a family. Our wrap-around services ensured that not only this family learned new ways of coping with stress and how to work as a team, which helped decrease the stress levels in the home.
Our clinical team attributes positive clinical outcomes to working with the veteran and their identified family. The family unit is the foundation of our community. By ensuring that veterans and their families are healthy, we are creating healthier communities. We take great pride in serving veterans and their family, ensuring that they have the tools and the skills to better their quality of life.
By Sandy Emanuel, LCSW
Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at Family Endeavors in El Paso