Working with Veterans and Their Families: How Community Social Workers Can Address the Needs of Veterans

Patricia Findley, PhD, LCSW and Kathleen Ray, PhD, LCSW

In the past ten years, ongoing conflicts in the Middle East have caused an increase in the prevalence of post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD), traumatic brain injury, homelessness, suicide, military sexual trauma, interpersonal violence within families, and substance abuse amongst military personnel returning home from tours of duty. Consequently, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has had to increase the number of mental health professionals in order to provide adequate care for veterans.  However, only a small percentage of veterans receive care at VA medical facilities and clinics, leaving a large percentage of veterans seeking care at general community clinics by providers who have little to no education, training, or experience working with veterans. This course will provide community-based social workers, counselors, and other mental health professionals with foundational knowledge about the military and the VA. Participants will gain insight into military culture, receive clinical instruction of assessment and current evidence based treatment models, and learn about the availability of appropriate resources.


  • Describe characteristics of military culture
  • Utilize assessment and treatment models when working with military personal
  • Identify appropriate resources for military personal and family

Presenter Bios:
Dr. Findley has been a practicing clinician for over 20 years, working with the veteran population both clinically and from a research perspective for 12 years. Dr. Findley developed the case management program used at the War Related Illness and Injury Study Center at the East Orange, NJ VA several years ago. Additionally, she supervised MSW students while employed at the VA.

Dr. Ray is a senior clinician with over 20 years of professional experience among varied populations in areas of clinical practice, education, and research.   She has been working specifically with the veteran population for 9 years.

Location: Raritan Valley Community College, 118 Lamington Road, Branchburg, NJ

Date: June 12, 2015                     Time: 9:00am-3:30pm
Registration and coffee/tea will take place between 9:00-9:30a.m. The workshop will begin promptly at 9:30a.m. Lunch will be provided.

9:30-9:45am – Welcome and Introductions
9:45-11:45am – Military Culture
Reintegration Issues
Discussion and Reflection
11:45am-12:30pm – Lunch Break
12:30-1:15pm – Assessment
1:15-2:15pm – Evidence Based Treatments
2:15-2:30pm – Resources
2:30-3:15pm – Case Examples
3:15-3:30pm – Wrap-Up and Evaluation

Target Audience: This course is designed for non-VA social workers, counselors, and other mental health professionals any level who have contact with military personnel and their families.

This course is appropriate for beginner, intermediate, and advanced level participants.

CEUs: Social workers and counselors will receive 5 CEUs (4 Clinical, 1 Cultural Competence.

FAMILYConnections is approved as a provider for continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB), through the Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program (provider #1252) and by the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) Approved Continuing Education Provider program (provider #6604). Family Connections maintains responsibility for the program. Social workers should contact their regulatory board to determine course approval. This course is approved by the Association of Social Work Boards – ASWB NJ CE Course Approval Program Provider #34 Course #290 from 03/24/2015 to 03/24/2017. Social workers should contact their regulatory board to determine course approval.

All participants must sign in and sign out and complete a course evaluation in order to receive CEUs. Partial credit will not be given to those arriving late or leaving early. Certificates will be awarded at the end of the session. 

Directions & Parking Information:
Detailed directions and information will be sent to registrants in a confirmation email.

If you need accommodations for a disability, please contact Niki DeVonish, Coordinator, at 973-323-3454 .

Registration: Priority registration will be open to staff of DMHAS-contracted agencies and self-help centers until May 29, 2015. After May 29th, public registrations will be accepted based on space availability for a $35 fee.  Course fees include materials and lunch. Cancellations must be made by June 8, 2015. Refunds will be not be issued for registrations cancelled after June 8th.

Registration for this training is now closed.

Please note that in order to maximize the number of agencies benefiting from CultureConnections trainings, we will not accept more than 3 registrants per agency during the priority registration period. We ask each agency to coordinate registrations so that no more than 3 individuals register for any given training. If space permits, additional registrations from the same agency will be accepted after the DMHAS priority registration deadline on June 8th. 

Grievances: Please contact Niki DeVonish, Coordinator, at 973-323-3454 with any grievances.

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