By Tim Whistine

Let’s face it: being in a military family, whether you’re a spouse, a service member or a child, can be very stressful. Frequent moves, new schools, new jobs, deployments, and so much more can have impacts on our mental, emotional, behavioral, relational and spiritual health.

Most everyone recognizes the symptoms accompanying a physical illness or health condition and will seek the appropriate healthcare professional to remedy the problem. For instance, those suffering painful bone or joint injuries seek an orthopedic healthcare professional. If a woman has a positive self-administered pregnancy test at home, she will seek out the care of a much different healthcare professional. Finding the appropriate specialized care is tantamount to getting our unique healthcare needs resolved. The same is true regarding our mental, emotional, behavioral, relational, or spiritual healthcare needs. 

Thankfully, the area surrounding Fort Polk has healthcare professionals available for every health care and wellness need. It even has licensed professional counselors (LPC) who provide care for those suffering with mental, behavioral, emotional, spiritual, or relational needs. Such counselors are underutilized when it comes to our day to day struggles.

Whenever you feel better mentally, emotionally, spiritually, etc., it is amazing the difference it makes in your overall quality of life and happiness.

Counselors in the Central Louisiana area are equipped to help with a variety of mental health needs.

Mental health and behavioral counselors provide a variety of methods that help people solve problems and reduce distress. The recent and ongoing Covid-related sicknesses have added another layer to depression and suicidal ideations across our country: feeling isolated. No one’s family is safe from the way life can impact and affect brain function, moods, or dysfunctions within a family.

Licensed professional counselors are a great resource for help in such cases.

Certainly, one can turn to family and close friends to talk about their concerns, but such things are best discussed with those trained in the art of psychotherapy. Yes, there is an art to knowing how to guide a conversation and ask the right questions in order to help people achieve insight into their concerns. Professional counselors can do this and also provide strict confidentiality for the protection of your privacy.

There are numerous schools of thought in the field of counseling. One approach that seems to be gaining in popularity is systemic therapy, often referred to as Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT). In contrast to the linear view of psychology which typically sees the sole symptom bearer as having the problem, an MFT practitioner sees the symptom bearer as part of a system (marriage, family, etc.) that is dysfunctional. By focusing on the dysfunction within the system, these trained therapists are able to help the individual as well as the group or system to function better

One modality of systemic therapy is solution focused brief therapy (SFBT). This approach does not focus on the problem as much as it does finding solutions. It focuses on strengths and hope. Marriage and families function best and are happiest when the system is healthy instead of toxic. Thankfully, Vernon Parish has such counseling professionals available.

An infograph provided by Fort Polk makes access to area mental health facilities easy.

With Covid, teletherapy has become a very popular and effective way to deliver counseling or therapy services offering great convenience. For instance, the threat of Covid spreading along with government mandates limit face-to-face interactions, so it became necessary for healthcare providers such as counselors to meet with their clients via internet video, something like a facetime call. In this manner, healthcare was still provided. And now, it is easier for those who are homebound or those suffering from social anxiety, etc., to still receive the care they need without leaving their home.

Choose to be healthy mentally, physically, and otherwise. Help is available. Make use of it!

Therapists that serve central Louisiana and human services providers are just a click or two away.