Clinical Services for Veterans and Families
The Fairleigh Dickinson University Center for Psychological Services has provided expert specialized confidential psychological evaluation and psychotherapy to Veterans of war and their family members since 1983. Since that time we have provided assessment, individual, or couples treatment to more than 250 combat veterans of WWII, Vietnam, Korea, the Persian Gulf, Afghanistan and Iraq, and, unlike other systems of care, we can provide these services to family members of veterans regardless of whether the veteran him or herself seeks help and regardless of the amount of time that has passed since deployment or return home. We have worked with veterans and families representing every branch of the military, and with Active Duty, the Guard and the Reserves.
Therapy and Counseling
We have provided evaluation and psychotherapy to veterans (or their family members) who served in WWII, and the wars in Vietnam, Korea, the Persian Gulf, Afghanistan and Iraq. We work with military service personnel and families to address a broad range of problems. Many vets need help with readjustment difficulties associated with the transition from military to civilian life or from war to home including loss of social support and camaraderie, reintegration into family life, managing unstructured time, personal goal-setting, and re-establishing priorities. More significant readjustment issues we see routinely include pronounced marital difficulties and/or other interpersonal challenges with children, peers, and extended family; grief and loss; depression; anxiety; anger management; Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and cognitive and behavioral issues related to mild traumatic brain injury. Recognizing that deployment affects the whole family, we treat children affected by a parent’s deployment or return home, and we see spouses who are struggling with deployment-related issues; we can see them alone or for couples’ therapy along with the veteran partner.
Parent Management Training
Parent Management Training (PMT) is an unparalleled evidence-based psychotherapy for children and adolescents who are exhibiting oppositional, aggressive, and/or antisocial behavior(s) in response to a parent’s deployment or return home. No other treatment for children with these problems has been as thoroughly tested and as widely applied as has PMT. In PMT, parent-child interactions are modified in ways that are designed to promote appropriate child behavior and to decrease oppositional behavior, and parents learn to consistently apply techniques that will help their children to change problem behaviors. While PMT addresses problem behavior in the child, the work itself is done with the parent or parents, training them to manage their child's behavioral problems in the home and at school, and providing them with the necessary tools to address future problems.
Drawing on our expertise in veterans services and in assessment for Adult Learning Disabilities we are able to offer Neuropsychological/learning evaluations to veterans who are experiencing difficulty with attention, concentration, new learning or memory.
Depression in Veterans and their Family Members
Depression is a very common mental health concern – it is a medical problem, not a character flaw or sign of weakness. Veterans of war, as well as their family members, may be at increased risk for the development of depression due to a number of factors. Symptoms of depression include loss of interest in previously enjoyable activities; low or sad mood; excessive sleep or difficulty sleeping; increased or decreased appetite; irritability, restlessness, frustration or agitation; crying spells; feelings of guilt, self-blame, hopelessness or worthlessness; reduced sex drive; physical symptoms that are not otherwise explained (i.e. headaches, back pain); fatigue; difficulty with attention, concentration and decision-making; thoughts of suicide; and being “slowed down” in thinking, moving, or speaking.
Some veterans seem to experience depression as a “funk” they just can’t get out of. Others describe feeling like they have lost some essential and familiar part of themselves. Some simply feel unable to feel good or invested in anything or anyone. For many people depression occurs with other mental health problems such as substance abuse or anxiety. Depression, PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), frequent or intense anger, excessive use of substances, and family discord can commonly occur together for veterans. Depression for some may be felt as irritability or anger as much, or even more, than feelings of sadness. Family members of war veterans may become depressed in response to the ongoing difficulties that their veteran family member is experiencing, or as a result of the challenges associated with the deployment cycle with its multiple transitions and its impact on family and interpersonal functioning.
The good news is that depression is treatable with a variety of effective interventions, and people who receive appropriate treatment generally feel much better. The first step is to recognize the symptoms and explore available treatment options with a qualified trained health provider. Contact us now to discuss whether therapy might be helpful to you or to someone you love. Visit this website again in December to take our online depression screening and to learn how veterans and family members of Active Duty, Guard and Reserve may each experience unique stressors that can contribute to the development of symptoms of depression.
Many Services Available at No Cost
As a supplemental provider for New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs the Center is able to provide services free of charge to many NJ combat veterans and family members for any deployment-related difficulties. Generous awards from The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey and the Johnson and Johnson Family of Companies also provide funding that allows us to provide help to veterans and/or their families at no charge.
All services are strictly confidential.
For more information on veterans' mental health and our specific clinical services, please contact us:
Anna Urbaniak, M.A.
Veterans Services Cooordinator
Center for Psychological Services
Fairleigh Dickinson University
131 Temple Avenue
Hackensack, NJ 07601
(201) 692-2645 ext. 1