Written by Jena Novak, LMFT;
Psychotherapist, NorthLakes Community Clinic- Turtle Lake Clinic
NorthLakes Community Clinic
Families come in all shapes, sizes and varying levels of resiliency to adverse situations. Clinicians have worked for years with veterans of war and know that war affects not only the troops but also their entire circle of friends, family, employers and community. Each phase of deployment may affect the service member and each family member in different ways. The experience of deployment can be divided into three distinctive phases, each with its own associated stressors and emotions. The pre-deployment phase begins when the service member receives his/her orders in which extensive training follows. This is also a time when family conflict may become more common as the family battles feelings of denial and sadness about the service member’s departure. Second, deployment occurs when the service member begins his or her actual mission directly in or in support of war. Families typically experience a wide variety of emotions during the actual deployment including relief, sadness, numbing, or anxiety. During this phase, family members may assign new roles to its members to adjust to the service member being away. For example, the children may step in and take on more responsibility around the home to assist the non-deployed parent. Finally, reintegration occurs when the service member returns and is reunited with his or her loved ones. This period may start as a honeymoon, but end in the reality of renegotiating roles and getting to know each other once again.