Soldiers Coming Home:

Learning From The Past: What To Expect

George W. Doherty, M.S., LPC


Rocky Mountain Region Disaster Mental Health Institute

This course meets the qualifications for 7 hours of continuing education


After over ten years of cumulative involvement in Iraq, Afghanistan and other related conflict situations, our National Guard, Reserve and regular military are returning to our communities around the country. Families, friends, children and Guard, Reserve and other Military members are becoming re-united. It is important that they are able to re-adjust and re-integrate back into the civilian world. This means that it is also important for communities, families and mental health/counseling professionals to have an understanding of what to expect as this process occurs.


We have learned much over the years about what happens to our military members as they deal with the aftermath of war experiences. This course reviews some of what we have  learned since the Civil War in the mid-1800s through World War I, World War II, Korea, Viet Nam and various other conflicts, including Iraq and Afghanistan. It is important that, as mental health/counseling professionals helping and advising our military families and our communities, we are informed about what to expect and how to be able to deal with potential adjustments. These involve re-integrating into the family, returning to a civilian work environment and handling results of the exposures of war environment.


What have we learned from history, various war settings and how to establish a new sense of equilibrium in life in family  and community? Our smaller and isolated rural communities are affected differently than more urban settings. How do we not only welcome our military back home and thank them for their dedicated service to country, but also help them deal with the hidden wounds of trauma and war? What role does leadership play among our communities in helping? How can such techniques as teleconferencing and telemental health assist in the re-adjustments in smaller, underserved and remote rural communities and assist in reintegration?


This course provides a background of previous work, research, and experiences that can help our mental health/counseling professionals, communities and families better prepare to be positive resources for our civilian military members, families and our communities as all strive to help in readjustment and return to equilibrium for all.


Following completion of this course, you should be able to:


  • Identify variables that should be considered when reviewing adjustment and re-integration following the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars.
  • Discuss and explain how the experience of wartime stress can change an individual’s personality and traits regarding distressing emotional states such as anger, anxiety, and depression.
  • Describe how rural and remote communities differ from more urban ones following war experiences in readjusting military members.
  • Explain and describe the importance of why ethics and practice management are important in providing telemental health and teleconferencing services for returned military members in remote areas.
  • Discuss the effects that survival guilt and suicidal ideation can have on returning military members and families.
  • Identify the issues and treatments associated with PTSD and suicide following war.

is approved by the:

CA BBS - California Board of Behavioral Science accepts our CE Provider Approvals through APA, NASW, and NBCC. Course meets the qualifications for hours of continuing education credit for LMFTs, LCSWs, LPCCs, and/or LEPs as required by the California Board of Behavioral Science
Florida Board of Clinical Social Work, Marriage and Family Therapy, Mental Health Counseling (BAP 753 )
NAADAC - The Association for Addiction Professionals (#575)
NBCC - National Board for Certified Counselors - has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 6055. Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs. (ACEP #6055)
Texas State Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors (#1761)
The Texas Board of Social Work Examiners (#6246)
maintains responsibility for the program.



how it works

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Your test will be graded online, so the moment you have passed, you may print out your certificate of completion.

That's it! You are done!




Looking Back
1. Leadership
2. Morale, Deployment, And Stress: Brief Background And Review
3. Teleconferencing,Telecounseling,Teleworkshops: Ethics And Practice Management
4. Delayed Stress
5. Vicarious Traumatization
6. Morale, Deployment, And Stress: Brief Background And Review
7. PTSD And Suicide Following War
8. Trauma Post-War
9. Resiliency Following War
10. Children And War
11. Children's Responses To Terrorism
12. Ongoing Trauma: Children, PTSD In The Aftermath Of September 11
13. September 11: A Brief Review
14. Survivor Guilt
15. Fear And War
16. Additional References And Resources

Excerpts from the course:

Ever since the Revolutionary War, the military in the United States has faced a variety
of challenges as they have fought to protect and maintain freedoms and democracy for our citizens as well as those of our allies and friends around the world. The Civil War,
fought between North and South in the mid 1800's was a divisive conflict that nearly
tore the country apart. World War I was a major conflict during which the United States
asserted itself for the first time as an international power to be reckoned with. We not
only moved onto the world scene, changing the course of history, but also lost our
innocence in the process. World War II saw the United States, together with her allies in
Europe, the Pacific, Asia, Canada and South America, defeat ignorance, arrogance,
prejudice, intolerance, despotism, tyranny, and dictators in a mammoth undertaking to
free oppressed peoples and provide opportunities for more enlightened self government
and the promise of a better future for all. Many have referred to those who
fought for this country in World War II as "The Greatest Generation". During the Korean
War, the United States fought to maintain the promise of Democracy and self determination on the Korean peninsula. This war has never been resolved, but a divided Korea exists to this day under an Armistice that sees South Korea prospering. The Viet Nam War presented new challenges for our country and our military as we fought once
more to help preserve hard won freedoms and self-determination. While this conflict
was a very difficult, divisive and tough undertaking, it has resulted in Viet Nam making a
determination of the form of government they want. While it may not be what many in
the United States would have preferred, both countries do now have cordial and positive
relations with each other and look toward a future that promises to be a prosperous and
constructive one for both.

Our country and our military have been involved in a number of less widespread, yet
significant conflicts and missions to assist others in pursuing a future for all, free of
tyrants and despots. The Cold War was pursued for many years with costs in money,
people and ideas affecting many in our military who quietly fought for these ideals, yet
were never totally acknowledged.

Over the past 10 + years, our country and our military (including our National Guard and
Reserves) have again been involved in a new and different kind of war to preserve,
protect and defend our way of life and that of others.

Our military members in every one of these conflicts and wars have experienced many
forms of wounds – physical, psychological and emotional. In their efforts to accomplish
their mission as military members, they have suffered much to help us all. Their families
have been affected as well. As our military members return home following conflicts and
multiple deployments that have gone on for over ten years, our civilian population
struggles to assist their friends, family members, colleagues, and neighbors to reintegrate
back into civilian life. We have learned much over the years from history,
experience and study about the effects of wars and conflicts on military and families that
can be useful in helping all concerned return to an equilibrium after such experiences.
This book and set of essays attempts to review research, history and personal
experiences in order to provide some educated approaches toward understanding the
past and applying what we have learned toward planning for the future. It is obviously
incomplete, yet hopefully assists in providing a beginning template and sets at least a
general set of goals toward a positive and constructive future. In such a way we can
learn from the past and plan for the future.

Beginning with a brief scenario taken from a more gentle time in the past in a rural
setting, the book moves through learned information about families, children and our
returning military. Return experiences will necessarily be somewhat different in rural
settings than they are in more urban environments. Our rural and frontier areas,
especially in western states with more isolated communities, less developed
communication and limited access to medical, psychological and social services remain
a major concern. It is hoped that the following helps provide some informed direction in
working toward improving these. The first chapter on Leadership is included to help give
an overview for those in communities and organizations in the civilian sector. The
chapter with a discussion about ethics is included to remind us of the duty we all have to
"Do no harm".


George W. Doherty, M.S., LPC has held positions as counselor/therapist, Masters Level Psychologist (State of Nevada Rural Clinics), consultant, educator, disaster mental health specialist and is a former U.S. Air Force Officer. He is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in Wyoming; President of O.Dochartaigh Associates since 1985; President/CEO of the Rocky Mountain Region Disaster Mental Health Institute since 1998 and is the Clinical Coordinator of the Snowy Range Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) Team. He has taught as an Adjunct Instructor at the University of Wyoming, Northern Nevada Community College, and Warren National University. He served as a USAF Officer, served 11 years with Civil Air Patrol (CAP. US Air Force Auxiliary) as Squadron Commander, Deputy Wing Commander, Air Operations Officer, and Master Observer. Certified Instructor with the Wyoming Peace Officers Standards and Training (POST).

Organizational memberships include American Psychological Association (APA . Associate Member), American Counseling Association (ACA), American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress (AETS), Association of Traumatic Stress Specialists (ATSS), Traumatic Incident Reduction Association (TIRA), Certificate of Specialized Training in the field of Mass Disaster and Terrorism, Wyoming Department of Health Emergency Preparedness Advisory Committee; Research Advisor and Research Fellow . American Biographical Institute (ABI), Editorial Advisory Board Member and Book Reviewer PsyCritiques (APA Journal). He is also a Life Member of the Air Force Association (AFA), Life Member . Military Officers Association of America (MOAA), Life Member . Pennsylvania State University Alumni Association, and is an Alumni Admissions Volunteer for the Pennsylvania State University. Recent publications include: .Crisis Intervention Training for Disaster Workers: An Introduction.; Editor and contributor for the Proceedings of Rocky Mountain Region Disaster Mental Health Conferences (2005, 2006, 2007). Served as Guest Editor for Special issues of the journal Traumatology on Disaster Mental Health (1999) and Crises in Rural America (2004); .Cross-cultural Counseling in Disaster Settings. - Austral-Asian Journal of Disaster and Trauma Studies (1999). Published reviews include:Understanding Oslo in Troubled Times; Responders to September 11, 2001: Counseling: Innovative Responses to 9/11 Firefighters, Families, and Communities; Genocide: A Human Condition? Stress Management, Wellness and Organizational Health., .Leadership Competency and Conflict.; Leadership: Lessons from the Ancient World - all in PsyCritiques. Conference Director for annual Rocky Mountain Disaster Mental Health Conferences 1999 -present.

Cost of the course is $88

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