US Army gets $117,000,000 for emotional resiliency training - DFWstangs Forums
 
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-18-2009, 04:31 PM Thread Starter
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US Army gets $117,000,000 for emotional resiliency training

I'm proud of my country for taking care of its troops like this. In addition to the increased VA budget, troops are going to be required to take what is essentially group therapy before they're deployed, in an effort to combat PTSD. Opinions?

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32456908...ew_york_times/

Quote:
NYT: $117 million for GIs’ emotional training
Program aims to end culture that views talk of feelings as a weakness
By Benedict Carey
The New York Times
updated 8:45 a.m. CT, Tues., Aug 18, 2009
PHILADELPHIA - The Army plans to require that all 1.1 million of its soldiers take intensive training in emotional resiliency, military officials say.

The training, the first of its kind in the military, is meant to improve performance in combat and head off the mental health problems, including depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and suicide, that plague about one-fifth of troops returning from Afghanistan and Iraq.

Active-duty soldiers, reservists and members of the National Guard will receive the training, which will also be available to their family members and to civilian employees.

The new program is to be introduced at two bases in October and phased in gradually throughout the service, starting in basic training. It is modeled on techniques that have been tested mainly in middle schools.

Usually taught in weekly 90-minute classes, the methods seek to defuse or expose common habits of thinking and flawed beliefs that can lead to anger and frustration — for example, the tendency to assume the worst. (“My wife didn’t answer the phone; she must be with someone else.”)

The Army wants to train 1,500 sergeants by next summer to teach the techniques.

Too touchy-feely?
In an interview, Gen. George W. Casey Jr., the Army’s chief of staff, said the $117 million program was an effort to transform a military culture that has generally considered talk of emotions to be so much hand-holding, a sign of weakness.

“I’m still not sure that our culture is ready to accept this,” General Casey said. “That’s what I worry about most.”

In an open exchange at an early training session here last week, General Casey asked a group of sergeants what they thought of the new training. Did it seem too touchy-feely?

“I believe so, sir,” said one, standing to address the general. He said a formal class would be a hard sell to a young private “who all he wants to do is hang out with his buddies and drink beer.”

But others disagreed, saying the program was desperately needed. And in the interview, General Casey said the mental effects of repeated deployments — rising suicide rates in the Army, mild traumatic brain injuries, post-traumatic stress — had convinced commanders “that we need a program that gives soldiers and their families better ways to cope.”


The general agreed to the interview after The New York Times learned of the program from Dr. Martin E. P. Seligman, chairman of the University of Pennsylvania Positive Psychology Center, who has been consulting with the Pentagon.

In recent studies, psychologists at Penn and elsewhere have found that the techniques can reduce mental distress in some children and teenagers. But outside experts cautioned that the Army program was more an experiment than a proven solution.

“It’s important to be clear that there’s no evidence that any program makes soldiers more resilient,” said George A. Bonanno, a psychologist at Columbia University. But he and others said the program could settle one of the most important questions in psychology: whether mental toughness can be taught in the classroom.

“These are skills that apply broadly, they’re things people use throughout life, and what we’ve done is adapt them for soldiers,” said Karen Reivich, a psychologist at Penn, who is helping the Army carry out the program.


At the training session, given at a hotel near the university, 48 sergeants in full fatigues and boots sat at desks, took notes, play-acted, and wisecracked as psychologists taught them about mental fitness. In one role-playing exercise, Sgt. First Class James Cole of Fort Riley, Kan., and a classmate acted out Sergeant Cole’s thinking in response to an order late in the day to have his exhausted men do one last difficult assignment.

“Why is he tasking us again for this job?” the classmate asked. “It’s not fair.”

“Well, maybe,” Sergeant Cole responded. “Or maybe he’s hitting us because he knows we’re more reliable.”

In another session, Dr. Reivich asked the sergeants to think of situations when such internal debates were useful.

One, a veteran of several deployments to Iraq, said he was out at dinner the night before when a customer at a nearby table said he and his friends were being obnoxious.

“At one time maybe I would have thrown the guy out the window and gone for the jugular,” the sergeant said. But guided by the new techniques, he fought the temptation and decided to buy the man a beer instead. “The guy came over and apologized,” he said.


The training is based in part on the ideas of Dr. Aaron Beck and the late Albert Ellis, who found that mentally disputing unexamined thoughts and assumptions often defuses them. It also draws on recent research suggesting that people can manage stress by thinking in terms of their psychological strengths.

“Psychology has given us this whole language of pathology, so that a soldier in tears after seeing someone killed thinks, ‘Something’s wrong with me; I have post-traumatic stress,’ ” or P.T.S.D., Dr. Seligman said. “The idea here is to give people a new vocabulary, to speak in terms of resilience. Most people who experience trauma don’t end up with P.T.S.D.; many experience post-traumatic growth.”

Many of the sergeants were at first leery of the techniques. “But I think maybe it becomes like muscle memory — with practice you start to use them automatically,” said Sgt. First Class Darlene Sanders of Fort Jackson, S.C.

To track the effects of the program, the Army will require troops at all levels, from new recruits to officers, to regularly fill out a 170-item questionnaire to evaluate their mental health, along with the strength of their social support, among other things.

The program is not intended to diagnose mental health problems. The results will be kept private, General Casey said.

The Army will track average scores in units to see whether the training has any impact on mental symptoms and performance, said Gen. Rhonda Cornum, the director of Comprehensive Soldier Fitness, who is overseeing the carrying out of the new resilience program. General Cornum said that the Army had contracted with researchers at the University of Michigan to determine whether the training was working, and added that corrections could be made along the way “if the program is not having the intended effect.”

This being the Army, the sergeants at the training session last week had questions about logistics. How would teachers be evaluated? How and when would Reserve and Guard units get the training?

Perhaps the biggest question — can an organization that has long suppressed talk of emotions now open up? — is unlikely to have an answer until next year at the earliest. But the Army’s leaders are determined to ask.

“For years, the military has been saying, ‘Oh, my God, a suicide, what do we do now?’ ” said Col. Darryl Williams, the program’s deputy director. “It was reactive. It’s time to change that.”

This story, "Mental Stress Training is Planned for U.S. Soldiers," originally appeared in The New York Times.


Copyright © 2009 The New York Times

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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-18-2009, 04:34 PM
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more red tape bullshit from the united states goverment.

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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-18-2009, 04:39 PM Thread Starter
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more red tape bullshit from the united states goverment.
So, no concern for the guys with PTSD?

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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-18-2009, 04:42 PM
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I think it's gonna be relatively ineffective, and probably more so a pain in the ass of these guys.
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-18-2009, 04:49 PM
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great concern for troops with ptsd.but with troops making 1,2,3,4,5,6 tours i dont think it will be effective and as far as keeping the results private of what they may find in a particular troop is bs.it will be used against him in the future.

look how they already use ptssd against troops diagnosed with it.its bs.good idea but bs.

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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-18-2009, 05:00 PM Thread Starter
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great concern for troops with ptsd.but with troops making 1,2,3,4,5,6 tours i dont think it will be effective and as far as keeping the results private of what they may find in a particular troop is bs.it will be used against him in the future.

look how they already use ptssd against troops diagnosed with it.its bs.good idea but bs.
You do have a point there.

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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-18-2009, 05:03 PM
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It won't be effective. You cannot shield someone from PTSD as we are human. We are trained from birth to not take lives and that no one really wants you dead. War erases that and presents a new reality.

PTSD sucks and I know first hand but this won't work.
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-18-2009, 11:43 PM
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speaking from experience i think they need to that that money and use it to pay peoples enlistment bonus. i got $0 going in... sad...


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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-19-2009, 11:13 AM
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I got 20k going in as Infantry with the Ranger option. No, they need to take that money and buy better body armor
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-19-2009, 11:21 AM
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I got 20k going in as Infantry with the Ranger option. No, they need to take that money and buy better body armor
Agreed.

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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-19-2009, 11:40 AM
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You know, there was a time when I thought PTSD was nonsense. Then I got to meet the beast for myself. I think maybe the training will be effective for some of the troops some of the time.

Will it really be effective for a nineteen or twenty year old kid who's all gung-ho to go run out and 'git some' and still thinks he and his buddies are invincible? Doubtful.

Guys doing 5-6 tours? Probably not.

Better armor/firepower? Hell yeah. Get 'em back home alive first. Then let the VA screw it up.

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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-19-2009, 04:38 PM Thread Starter
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You know, there was a time when I thought PTSD was nonsense. Then I got to meet the beast for myself. I think maybe the training will be effective for some of the troops some of the time.

Will it really be effective for a nineteen or twenty year old kid who's all gung-ho to go run out and 'git some' and still thinks he and his buddies are invincible? Doubtful.

Guys doing 5-6 tours? Probably not.

Better armor/firepower? Hell yeah. Get 'em back home alive first. Then let the VA screw it up.
Right on. I guess I was just excited that they were at least attempting to be proactive.

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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-19-2009, 05:02 PM
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Originally Posted by piratefocussvt View Post
speaking from experience i think they need to that that money and use it to pay peoples enlistment bonus. i got $0 going in... sad...
Guess you should have picked a better job field... they hand those things out like candy
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-19-2009, 05:55 PM
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I guess I was just excited that they were at least attempting to be proactive.
Gotta give 'em credit for that. At least they're not ignoring the problem like they did Agent Orange - very bad shit, that.

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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-19-2009, 11:01 PM
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Sounds to me like a way for them to be able to say "Hey now we don't have to help you, cause you took that class before you went." But hell, what do I know. Maybe it's a good thing that will help them out. I hope so.
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post #16 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-20-2009, 10:40 PM
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Guess you should have picked a better job field... they hand those things out like candy
not any more.. im 15T, UH-60 repair/ crew chief. going in as a PFC. im very happy with my job it rocks. they were only giving them out to infantry mos with a min of 6 year. max pay out was 6k.

and yes forever_frost is right. that would be a great way to spend it...


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