Our work with service members and veterans

Welcome!

From April 30, 2022, we shall be restructuring our services to veterans and military service members. The Military Psychological Services, under the Directorship of Dr Roger Brooke, will be closing, with the services themselves being folded into the regular services of the Psychology Clinic. Dr. Brooke himself is retiring. The Psychology Clinic will continue to welcome military service members, veterans, and their loved ones if and when doctoral students are available. Military clients will pay the Clinic's fees in the normal way.

We sometimes see people individually but we also work with families.

Why come to the Duquesne University Psychology Clinic?

You might like to contact us because:
- Our services are confidential within the standard limits of the law (safety).
- We do not report to insurance companies.
- We are familiar with the invisible wounds of war, including traumatic brain injury, posttraumatic stress injury, moral injury, and military sexual trauma.
- We are independent of other institutions, but can work in conjunction with other institutions at the client's request.
- We believe that posttraumatic injury can become posttraumatic growth. We are not focused only on symptom reduction because we include a perspective which hopes to promote a greater sense of well being, personal agency, and resilience for the future, more enjoyable personal relationships, and optimal family functioning.

We know that the psychological wounds of war are a universal human experience, known in all cultures. These wounds were described in our own culture by Homer over two and a half thousand years ago. What people now call post traumatic stress injury (or PTSI) is traditionally a burden that was carried by the community and not the individual warrior, and the community had rituals to bring their warriors home. Story telling, sharing the thoughts and feelings about what happened, taking up the lessons learned in service into one's life, and making peace with the dead, are practices in those warrior traditions. It is also important, then, for the suffering warrior and the community (or therapist) to help evaluate what happened in realistic and life-affirming ways.

We understand that many women, and some men, veterans have unique wounds and challenges. These include dealing with long separations from children and the challenges of renegotiating motherhood and fatherhood upon return, relationship stressors with partners related to deployment, gender discrimination in military culture, and sexual assault. There has also often been the double trauma of reporting sexual assault to unreceptive or even hostile superiors. Both male and female therapists trained to help with these issues are available.

Most of us at the Clinic are civilians. Some veterans prefer civilian therapists; others are surprised how helpful talking to a civilian therapist can be. It can be easier to talk in private outside of military structure, and differing ranks is not an issue. Being understood by civilian therapists helps bridge veterans back into the civilian world.

We are good listeners. We meet our clients on their own terms, and we avoid
offering simplistic solutions to complex personal questions. We know that personality and personal history make for important individual differences to what are otherwise shared military experiences.

Humanistic values without an agenda

We have no political or religious agenda other than to be of service to those who consult us. We are not aligned with groups that are for or against the current or recent wars. You are welcome here whatever your views.

For some people, it is helpful that Duquesne University is a Catholic institution. This does not mean we preach or have a religious agenda. It means we try to approach people in a way that is consistent with the best of Catholic values. For us, this means respect for the individual worth and humanity of those who consult us, humility in the face of the veteran's experience, and an openness to the deeply personal and spiritual questions that are often raised in times of war.