Bridging the Communication Gap with Web Stories
An understanding of military culture is essential for mental health professionals who wish to gain credibility and to appreciate an individualís post-combat experience. Simply knowing the language allows a more natural communication, uninterrupted by the need to intepret or clarify. Cultural and linguistic awareness is needed across the behavioral service spectrum -- for psychologists at DoD Hospitals, rehab specialists at the VA, interns in both systems, and clinicians working at community-based facilities or private practice.
Web Stories: Military Talk is part of a comprehensive Certificate Program in Post-Combat Behavioral Health offered by the California Department of Professional Psychology and the Continuing Education Division at Alliant International University. The Web Stories focus on language and culture by presenting special terms and jargon within the narrative context of real stories told by veterans of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Watching and listening to each Web Story provides a double learning, through the depiction of a way of life, as well as a practical vocabulary lesson with functional definitions hyperlinked to key terminology.
1) Help clinicians appreciate the role of military culture and combat experiences in creating stress, trauma, and other disorders
2) Help clinicians understand the surface meaning, as well as possible deeper meaning, of military vocabulary used in telling stories of combat or other military experiences
3) Allow clinicians to practice their language comprehension with Quizzes
4) Provide a forum for clinicians to post questions regarding the stories, military language or other requests
Four Web Stories are available online now:
Loss of Decorum
E-3, Seaman, US Navy
††A story involving sexual assault and follow-up procedures
Unknown, US Marines
Description of daily patrol duty out in the villages of Iraq
Letter of Commendation
EO3-SCWS, U.S. Navy
A body recovery story, a duty often described as more traumatic than combat
Outside the Wire
(Compiled from Blogs)
An IED blast changes a soldier internally and externally
Each Web Stories is about five minutes long, with a narrator/storyteller and pictures. The military words and phrases are listed as they are spoken. Each one is presented in segments, pausing at intervals for the listener to select new terms to explain. A Quiz is available at the end, with realistic dialogue to test whatís been learned
While stories can never replace direct experience, serious efforts at mutual understanding can help build good working relationships. Web Stories: Military Talk is designed to be part of that larger effort, adding a compelling, human quality to the Certificate Program in Post-Combat Behavioral Health.