Mikaela Barnett Chaltas
School of Professional Counseling
Lindsey Wilson College
Mikaela Barnett Chaltas, The School of Professional Counseling, Lindsey Wilson College. Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Mikaela Barnett Chaltas, Ashland, Kentucky campus. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Abstract
The ever changing and evolving culture of Veterans is reviewed and discussed in this paper. This paper has five main parts which include: description of the culture, historical information, stereotypes, important values and beliefs, and counseling approaches. Keywords: veterans, culture, stereotypes, values, beliefs, counseling The Veteran Culture
The Veteran Culture is discussed in this paper. The paper is divided into five sections which include: a.) description of the culture; b.) historical information; c.) stereotypes; d.) Important values and beliefs; and e.) counseling approaches. Description of Culture
A Veteran is defined by Dictionary.com (2011, Nov.11) as a person who has had long service or experience in an occupation, office, or the like, or as a person who has served in a military force, especially one who has fought in a war and experienced direct combat. Culture, as defined by J.P. Lederach, is, “the shared knowledge and schemes created by a set of people for perceiving, interpreting, expressing, and responding to the social realities around them” (p.9). All definitions aside, Veterans are, as the VA proudly and courageously states on their website, “Men and women who, for many reasons, donned the uniform of our country to stand between freedom and tyranny; to take up the sword of justice in defense of the liberties we hold dear; to preserve peace and to calm the winds of war.” The United States Military is comprised of many cultures and individuals from various backgrounds with various belief systems that have put their health and their lives on the line to serve our country and preserve our freedom, as well as the freedom of their families. As stated previously, this group is extremely diverse. They spread across ethnic and socioeconomic lines, which include people from all parts of the United States (Hobbs, 2008). There are approximately 22.7 million Veterans who have served in the United States Military, aged seventeen and older, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs (www.va.gov, 2010). Many other elements of culture within the Military take effect when one moves from civilian into military culture. Individuals are expected to move fluently from civilian to military life with ease. They must learn and live up to military expectations which impact their family life. They must absorb military acronyms and terms, learn and utilize the military chain of command and protocol, must practice military customs and courtesies, and deal with the endless transitions that enter their lives. Military personnel and their families are expected to easily adjust to new or temporary family configurations, properly manage their “suddenly military” lifestyle, accommodate physical changes, make new contacts, and cope with any emotional issues that arise from these changes. These men and women are drilled and taught to work together, support one another, and protect each other, as if they become one with their fellow soldiers. They develop a sense of belonging that is hard for them to find outside of their military family. Military culture also places emphasis on being able to cope mentally and physically when dealing with ones own stress regarding the changes to ones culture and the experiences that also occur within the military, both personal and professional. Both active and inactive military members are trained to “suck….up” their own problems or difficulties (Bryan & Morrow, 2011). They share a common combat experience and are part of the “warrior...