Veterans’ Day is a time to thank our soldiers and veterans who have risked their lives for our country and fought to defend our freedom. The scars of their duty are sometimes evident, but war leaves other psychological effects that don’t always appear on the surface.
In observance of Veterans’ Day, this week the Adler School would like to introduce you to some of the faculty members who are working to train socially conscious mental health practitioners for helping our soldiers.
One of the Adler School’s newest core faculty members, Grady Garner, Psy.D., shares his background and why he thinks military psychology is an important discipline.
As I saw the hugely disproportionate amount of returning soldiers who were battling Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other serious mental health issues, I realized that we needed dedicated mental health professionals who could truly help them.
Q. What brought you to the military psychology field?
A. I have 21 years of personal experience in the military reserve, retiring as a captain. For two years, I served as a commanding officer of the 33rd Infantry Brigade, Illinois Army National Guard. This was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. It also exposed me to many physical and psychological stresses that soldiers face. I finished my military career serving in the 85th Division of the Army Reserves. During this time I also was pursuing a master’s and a doctorate degree in psychology. As I saw the hugely disproportionate amount of returning soldiers who were battling Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other serious mental health issues, I realized that we needed dedicated mental health professionals who could truly help them.
Q. Why did you want to join the Adler School?
A. Because the Adler School has also seen this need and has one of the few programs geared to do something about it. In fact, the Adler School’s Psy.D. Military Psychology track is the only non-government based Psy.D. program that trains psychologists to work specifically with soldiers and veterans. I was pleasantly surprised to find the Adler School has a Psy.D. program with this focus, and knew instantly that I needed to be a part of it.
Q. What are some of the major challenges that you face in the Military Psychology field?
A. We need more mental health professionals who can help combat the startlingly high veteran suicide rates, severe cases of PTSD and enormous reintegration issues for our soldiers. The Department of Veterans Affairs announced in April that it plans to hire about 1,600 additional mental health clinicians to address our soldiers’ and veterans’ mental health needs. At the Adler School, we want to help fulfill this need and ensure that our graduate students get high-level instruction and hands-on training working with soldiers and veterans and their families, so that they can better serve our troops.