Innovations and New Horizons in the Psychological Care of Veterans


Conference Coordinator: Robert Dingman, EdD
Presenters: Sharon L. Baker, PhD; Chris Molaro, MBA; & Andrew Santanello, PsyD

This conference will feature a number of speakers who can attest to a wave of recent development in the psychological treatment of military veterans. These developments include rapid expansion of technologically advanced devices, from the use of three dimensional virtual reality computer software in trauma exposure therapy to bio and neuro-feedback applications that monitor veterans’ arousal levels and self-regulatory capacities on a 24-hour basis, as well as developments in the research and application of mindfulness and yoga practices as adjunctive and even primary interventions for veterans with PTSD and depression. The conference will also highlight changes conceptualizations and strategies for meeting the mental and behavioral health needs of female veterans. Experts in each of these domains will be featured who have either conducted empirical research on the effectiveness of these interventions or are highly knowledgeable about the research basis supporting the practices presented during the conference. A review of the literature in the planning stages of this conference reveals a strong emerging empirical basis for both the use of technologies to support psychotherapeutic interventions and the use of meditation and yoga in providing psychological care to veterans. Although such interventions may not be advisable or effective will all veterans, and certainly do not provide complete replacements for more traditionally practices methods of care with veterans, they nonetheless offer considerable hope for engaging veterans who may not be attracted to traditional therapy models. The promise of these new approaches seems well-supported by available research, yet are not without risk. Most common risks include the likelihood that fascination with the technological aspects of a treatment intervention could supplant more emotionally exploratory methods that are well known to be associated with recovery from war-related experiences, the possibility that both mindfulness and body-based interventions could inadvertently trigger re-experiencing of traumatic memories, and the result that some women could be alienated from treatment programs that focus exclusively on gender as a defining variable in a treatment approach. More serious risks include that some veterans will opt out of other well-established treatments in favor of these emerging though not-as-yet well-established alternatives, and that some veterans will have serious activation—such as homicidal or suicidal intentions—as a result of interventions that may precipitously heighten awareness of both external and internal body states.

Specific learning objectives:

1. Describe 3 applications of recent technological advances in the psychological care of veterans.
2. Identify 4 treatment principles or techniques emerging as best practices for work with female veterans.
3. List 3 emerging practices at local VA facilities providing psychotherapy services to veterans.
4. Discuss mind body techniques now established by research to be helpful to veterans in recovery.

Program Code: VET19
Credits: 6
Fees: $140 for CE credits; $70 for no CE credits
Lunch will be included.


  • When

  • Friday, April 26, 2019
    9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
    Eastern Time

  • Where

  • William James College
    1 Wells Avenue
    Newton, Massachusetts 02459

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