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An old Veteran salutes in front of a memorial wall listing Veteran's names.

Understanding Military Culture

Effective patient-centered care includes cultural competence.
A female soldier sits next to her military bag on the dirt road.

Although Veterans will differ in the extent to which they continue to identify with military culture after separation from military service, rarely do they consider their service to be a minor event in their lives. Often, the values and aspects of identity they acquired while serving will continue to be important as they move forward.
Each Veteran will have their unique story about their military service but it is invaluable for providers to have an appreciation for and understanding of the larger context in which that story takes place.

Knowledge and understanding of military culture can lead to:

  • Increased ability to relate to and support your Veteran client resulting in a stronger therapeutic alliance - the strongest determinant of treatment outcome.

  • Deeper understanding of the context for mental health symptoms and conditions.

  • Improved treatment planning that is informed by increased military cultural knowledge.

  • Increased appreciation for military service.

Learning about military culture includes a deeper understanding of both the:

  • Structure of the military such as branches and ranks.

  • Missions, ideals and core values of military culture.

Learn More about Military Culture

Useful Resources

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