The Military Counseling Initiative, a Division of the American Association of Christian Counselors, exists to equip Christian counselors, chaplains and caregivers to offer compassionate care and competent counsel for military service men and women and their families.
Dr. Eric Scalise, AACC’s Vice President for Professional Development shares, “There are thousands of dedicated men and women who faithfully serve in our nation’s military. They count the costs and put themselves in harm’s way to protect our freedoms. They make the necessary sacrifices, some with their own lives. These are my heroes.
“As the father of twin sons who are Marines and combat veterans, I find myself having profound gratitude for such selfless courage and am deeply thankful for the safe return of each one. The Scriptures say, “Give to everyone what you owe them…if honor, then honor” (Rom. 13:7). The Military Counseling Initiative was formed to be provide resources, support, encouragement and networking opportunities. What a blessing to be able to give something back in a tangible way to our active personnel, service veterans, family members, chaplains and the counseling community.”
In defending our freedoms, military service men and women face some of the toughest challenges—separation from their families, trauma and PTSD, sexual assault, alcohol and drug abuse, and reintegration adjustments. The added weight of marriage and family conflicts, lack of community support, and career transitions in an unstable economy pushes many troops to view consider suicide.
“When soldiers come home, the war comes with them,” Dr. Diane Langberg, Chair of AACC’s Executive Board, points out. “Re-entry is often very difficult for soldiers and their families as a result. As a military kid, I saw the courage, the protection and the faithfulness of our soldiers. I saw the price they and their families paid. I believe both as Christians and as counselors we are called to be a help and a gift to those who have given so much to us and our country.”
The current tragedy is this: Many U.S. troops feel that seeking out help for mental health challenges is shameful and unacceptable. After all, no one wants to be seen as a “wimp.” To some, suicide becomes the only viable option in the midst of isolation, trauma and hopelessness. The suicide crisis is “one of the most complex and urgent problems” the military is facing, according to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.
Major General (ret.) Bob Dees, AACC’s Military Director, shares, “This is an urgent time in the life of our military. The unprecedented suicide rates, as well as challenging mental and behavioral health issues, need to be addressed now. We must get everything in the fight, including faith-based mental health resources. The Military Counseling Initiative can play a tremendous role in this process, ultimately bringing the help, hope, and healing of Jesus to those who so desperately need it.”
In response to this critical issue, the Military Counseling Initiative seeks to:
- Call Christian counselors, chaplains and caregivers to action, standing in the gap to provide mental health care for our military
- Increase awareness about the priority and urgency of mental health needs among U.S. troops
- Provide faith-based training, resources and advocacy on behalf of military servicemen and women and their families
- Network like-minded counselors, chaplains and caregivers to benefit from best practices and increase synergy
- Develop a national referral network to connect those who need help with those who provide it
As a member you will receive:
- Quarterly Military Counseling Initiative E-Newsletter, featuring practical articles to encourage and equip you
- Quarterly “MCI MP3,” an audio training on military counseling issues by an expert Christian professional
- Savings on specialized Military Counseling Initiative resources and services
Major General (Ret.) Bob Dees, M.S., is the Military Director for the American Association of Christian Counselors and oversees the Military Counseling Initiative Division. He also leads the Liberty University Institute for Military Resilience. Having commanded military units from platoon through division levels, he well understands the mental and behavioral health needs of our military and their families. As a frequent speaker, author of Resilient Warriors, and co-host with Dr. Tim Clinton of the popular Stress & Trauma Care video series, General Dees is a national leader regarding faith-based resilience programs for the military and beyond.
Don’t miss the opportunity to become a Charter Member of the Military Counseling Initiative!* All interested AACC members are encouraged to join this AACC Division today for just $28. (Regularly $39) *Regular AACC Membership required