Psychologists in the civilian world provide research and counselling for the general population. Some work for major health care systems, while others work in private practice or as state government contractors. However, psychologists can also work with special populations such as the military, whether serving in uniform, as a federal employee or as a contractor who works with the military.
Clinical psychologists can perform the same roles with the military as they do in the civilian world. Military clinical psychologists can provide counselling services and prescription recommendations for military and dependent members suffering from mental disorders. They also help coordinate military-specific programs such as stress reduction seminars for dependents of deployed spouses.
Supervisory psychologists do more than just supervise the counselling staff. They may also be responsible for managing the funding for special programs, making formal recommendations for program changes and reporting to higher authorities on the success of those programs. In some settings, the supervisory psychologist is also solely responsible for making specific patient assessments, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Engineering psychologists consider human factors when service members interact with equipment and weapons systems. Engineering psychologists may examine how sleep deprivation during long flights in aircraft, reactions to chemical attacks while a soldier is wearing a protective suit or the mental effects of living in the tight quarters on submarines. Engineering psychologists are often contracted from private companies.
Disability Determination Psychologist
Claims disability adjustment raters work with the Department of Veterans Affairs. Adjustment raters consult a veteran's mental health history while serving and make a recommendation for disability benefits based on that history. For example, service members diagnosed with PTSD may still be suffering from symptoms when they separate from the military. Raters might recommend a disability rating so the veteran can continue to get treatment in civilian life.
Health Behavior Coordinator
Health behaviour coordinators (HBC) perform many roles with the military. HBCs help coordinate hospital primary-care managers in developing better patient self-management guidance, such as ways to motivate patients to maintain their medication schedules. HBCs also study the effectiveness of existing self-help programs, such as weight management or smoking cessation, and make suggestions to improve them. HBCs may also do pre-assessment screenings for major operations.
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