Social Work Programs

May 18, 2011

Social Work Jobs With Veterans

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — admin @ 1:18 pm

social work jobs veterans The veteran population is one group of people social workers often work with, often due to the high numbers of mental health and substance abuse difficulties facing veterans today. Federal social work positions are very common within the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. These social workers provide a wide variety of services, from substance abuse treatment to running groups for veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder to administering counseling services to married couples who have been directly affected by combat.

Social workers also can work with homeless veterans, veterans with traumatic brain injuries (TBI), or veterans in physical rehabilitation. With the increasing numbers of veterans recently experiencing deployment and combat, the need for people interested in working with veterans has increased as well. New issues are emerging often, such as issues surrounding women in the military and families who have both parents deployed simultaneously.


Social workers can help veterans in a variety of ways. Assessment, is the initial phase in which the social worker meets with the veteran and his or her family to determine a list of needs in order to compose a treatment plan and is an important step. Crisis intervention is when social workers are specifically trained to help someone get through a crisis or tough time. In this context it can involve returning to civilian life, flashbacks or issues of bereavement. There are also responsibilities that include high-risk screening. In this context, social workers can work very closely with veterans who are thought to be high-risk, such as those who are homeless or have been admitted to the hospital repeatedly. There is also discharge planning where social workers are involved in helping arrange for services following discharge. In case management, social workers provide more constant care to those veterans who have a risk of returning to the hospital, who are physically ill, or who have very complex problems.

Another aspect is education, and social workers can be involved in teaching the veteran’s family about how to deal with his issues and what to do in case of a crisis. During psychotherapy sessions, social workers can provide short or long-term counseling to veterans to address mental health areas, family issues and coping with daily life. Trauma psychotherapy sessions can include dealing with death of someone from war, nightmares and feelings of being overwhelmed. As an advocate, social workers can achieve results for veterans and stand up for veterans’ rights when needed. Currently, a Master of Social Work degree is typically required for employment with the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, though a some positions require only a Bachelor of Social Work Degree.

Adjustment back to civilian life can be difficult. I have seen some veterans that really identified with many of the emotions Robert De Niro showed during the movie “The Deer Hunter” which was filmed in 1978, won five academy awards and was about the Vietnam War and the strong emotional impact it had on young men, their friends and families .

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