Therapy for Military Issues, Civilian Reintegration,
Soul-Repair, and Relationship-Building
Therapy for Veterans
Military Veterans have unique challenges that go under-supported upon coming home.
I have worked with hundreds of military Veterans on more practical aspects of civilian reintegration, such as housing, employment, and disability benefits, while also addressing the emotional struggles of returning home from service.
Coming home can feel isolating for many service members. You may feel like you can't share the details of your deployment with loved ones for fear of judgment or lack of understanding. Civilians who haven't endured military stress or trauma find it hard to comprehend the fear, strength, and impossible decisions our Veterans have to confront daily. For this reason alone, having a neutral person with which to process your experiences can provide you the chance to be heard, without being judged, and without fearing rejection from those you love.
Addressing Moral Injury in Veterans
In quick, intense, and ambiguous situations, you were asked to make split-second decisions that could be a matter of life-and-death. Perhaps you made some decisions that hindsight hasn't been kind to, but you can't judge yourself now for what you didn't know then.
Moral injury is incurred when someone acts in a way that violates their values or moral compass. This is a common experience for military Veterans given the nature of the job. Whether you made a choice to act against your principles or failed to prevent an outcome that did the same, you may hold some guilt, shame, and frustration with yourself.
You may also experience persistent negative emotions, often relive the event whether awake or asleep, avoid situations that remind you of the event, struggle to trust others and your own judgment, and/or struggle with drug and alcohol use.
Symptoms of moral injury and PTSD may overlap. PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) is “a mental disorder that requires a diagnosis” while, according to the VA, moral injury is considered “a dimensional problem” with no definable threshold for its presence. A Veteran with moral injury could have a mild or severe experience of moral injury.
Interpersonal Skills for Veterans
The military operates on curt and direct communication, so returning to the small talk of civilian life might have you feeling confused and frustrated. Many Veterans report feeling this way about civilian communication styles and feel ill-equipped to be "appropriately social" in personal or professional settings.
This conflict may arise with your spouse or kids at home, in larger social settings, and with potential employers or customers. It can be frustrating to feel like you're focused on the product when everyone else seems distracted by the process.
As much as your military communication style is effective for fast-paced, high-risk, outcome-focused situations, civilian living is much more about relationships. Communicating meaningfully with those you love is important for you, them, and the relationship itself. Learning how to find safety in the vulnerability of slower conversation is something I can help you with, which includes learning communication skills, identifying reasonable barriers to using them, and processing the emotions that may arise from expressing yourself in a new way.
Depression and Anxiety in Veterans
Returning home from service, whether you experienced combat on deployment or not, may be when you start to feel the emotions kept at bay while in uniform. Or perhaps your depression and anxiety began during your service but you weren't able to get the help you needed then.
You deserve to be heard, to have your experiences recognized and your emotions honored. Your depression and anxiety may have started long before your military service, or perhaps it came as a result of it, but either way, you're not weak for struggling emotionally with the immense hardships that come with the job.
Masculine and Feminine in Veterans
In an institution that can certainly only thrive on masculine traits like discipline, structure, action, acquisition, violence, and strength, the soul of the Veteran remains in need of connection, nurturing, stillness, and calm.
These feminine experiences can feel threatening to a nervous system adjusted to war, and yet re-wiring the nervous system for civilian life is one of the ways Veterans can begin to feel peace and connection back at home.
My work with Veterans has given me an opportunity to offer feminine containment gently so that it can feel safe and be utilized when needed. I approach therapy as though we're human, not as though we're in an intensive clinical environment, not as though I'm the authority over your mental health, and not as though you need to be coddled. But providing a human space that addresses both masculine and feminine needs has been healing for Veterans who crave a relationship with the softer parts of themselves that had to shut down in order to survive deployment.
Get Started with Therapy
Ready to do the work?
Here are the answers to some of your more burning questions:
- I offer online video therapy for adult residents of California
- I am not in-network with insurance but can provide monthly superbills for reimbursement
- My fee per session is $200
If you're ready to move forward:
Browse the FAQ for additional answers to your most important questions.
Then contact Vanessa to set up a free initial consultation call.