Military Social Work Discussion: Changes From Combat
Consider the following scenario:
PFC Thomas has been in the Army for 3 years. She is married with two children. She and her husband have a close, intimate relationship. They share all aspects of their lives together. At night, when the children are asleep, they snuggle on the couch and talk about the day or watch a favorite television show. They share responsibilities with the children equally. They often take the children to the park, play kickball in the backyard, and engage in play time. The children are thriving in school and hail their mother as a military hero. The oldest daughter talks openly to both of her parents, and they can share thoughts and feelings readily. When she has to be out for duty, it can get difficult, but they work on a schedule and spend time with each other as much as possible. Currently, PFC Thomas is serving in the Iraq Theater. Her unit is completing their year-long tour and is scheduled to be home in one week. PFC Thomas’s family is excited to have her home and is waiting anxiously for her return.
A month after her return, PFC Thomas is withdrawn, she startles easily, and, while pleasant to her family, she is spending more time alone in the basement sorting through old pictures. Every time her husband touches her, whether a gentle touch on the shoulder or leaning in for a kiss, she immediately withdraws. She is getting angry over small things her children are doing, such as leaving a toothbrush on the bathroom sink. Before she left, she was a loving, attentive mother; upon her return, she came home a stranger.
Post a description of two possible traumatic reactions PFC Thomas might be experiencing and explain how you might come to that initial assessment. If this was your loved one, what expectations would you have as a social worker?
Be sure to support your responses with specific references to the resources. If you are using additional articles, be sure to provide full APA-formatted citations for your references.