Specialists in soul and spirit offer essential service

Chaplain’s CornerPadre Rosinski

Padre Marcin Rosinski

I would like to extent my gratitude and a thank you to Mrs. Michelle Moar and the whole 4 Wing mental health team for the help with this article.
Do you have a problem that you can’t handle? Look for help! But who to go to? Psychologist, psychiatrist, psychotherapist … Or maybe a confessor or spiritual director? Here it is a short guide to specialists in soul and spirit.

Mental Health (MH) Nurses work collaboratively within the multidisciplinary team to asses and treat members of the Canadian Forces. MH nurses perform holistic assessment and provide treatment for all types of MH and psychosocial issues including treatment of substance abuse. They provide both treatment for MH disorders as well as general health promotion.

MH Nurses provide initial assessment, emergency triage (sick parade), as well as support individuals with a wide variety of issues ranging from anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, PTSD, ADHD, addictions and OCD. They also support the needs of the member within in the unique occupational health medicine environment to ensure the member is safe to perform their duties.

The following are some of the duties of a MH nurse:
• Design and implement programs that foster mental health, assess dysfunction and assist with coping ability.
• Teach classes or facilitate support groups in the areas of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), anxiety, chronic pain, insomnia, postpartum depression, stress management, emotion regulation, or addictions.
• Monitor psychotropic medications for therapeutic responses, side effects as well as provide medication consultation and education.
• Assessment of members care needs, planning ongoing care including medical and therapeutic treatments.
• Identify community resources and help guide family members to those services.
• Suicide intervention and prevention
• Act as a resource person for mental health services and other health care providers within the CAF establishment.

There are currently two MH nurses at 22 CF Health Services Centre with many years of experience in a variety of in and outpatient services.

Clinical Psychologists focus on several areas of adjustment – psychological evaluation, providing psychotherapy, consulting, training, and supervising other mental health professionals, research, and teaching. Most clinical psychologists combine two or more of these categories.

Here are some of the kinds of areas that clinical psychologists focus on:
• Evaluation of adjustment issues, including anger, anxiety, depression, stress;
• Understanding the impact of prolonged emotional distress and trauma on psychological adjustment;
• Treatment for emotional and behavioral problems;
• Perception and management of pain;
• Factors associated with physical health; addictions, and behavioral problems;
• Psychological factors and issues that impact work and motivation;
• Marital and family relationships;
• Psychological factors necessary for maintaining well-being;

Clinical psychologists involved with military members are often called on for assessment and consultation/diagnosis, to clarify and identify emotional and behavioral issues, develop, recommend and implement specialized psychotherapy for members.

Psychologists in Canadian military have an advanced degree in Clinical Psychology at the PhD level. Their education and professional development emphasizes a scientific approach to understanding human behavior; their training will include lengthy supervision of their professional skills.

Psychiatry is one of the specialties of medicine; a psychiatrist has completed an M.D. and as in other specialties, sometimes practices general medicine prior to specializing. It takes four extra years following graduation as a medical doctor to attain certification as a specialist physician.

Psychiatry involves the diagnosis and care of mental disorders (Illnesses) such as depressive disorders, schizophrenia, bipolar disorders, various forms of psychosis, anxiety disorders and posttraumatic stress disorders. Treatments include pharmacology, psychotherapy, and laboratory analysis/interpretations.

The psychiatrist at 4 Wing Cold Lake (22 CF H Svcs) is also a flight surgeon, pilot, and is the Consultant to the Canadian Forces Aerospace / Under-Sea Medical Board (AUMB); he is asked to address issues, cases, assessments, and the care of those consulted in Aerospace Medicine involving air crew and ATC for psychiatric disorders.

Social workers. Military and civilian social workers working in CAF Mental Health Services have advanced post-secondary education in the field of social work with a specialization in clinical social work.

CAF social workers help members address concerns which could include difficult adjustments, emotion regulation, relationship issues (couples, parent/child, families and Chain of Command) diagnosis such as anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, substance use and other behavioral addictions.

CAF social workers may be asked by the Chain of Command to provide an assessment of specific member situations such as a Cost Contingency Moves.

CONFESSOR

Who is he?

A priest of the Catholic Church.

What he does?

The task of every priest is primarily a sacramental service, including the sacrament of penance and reconciliation, commonly called confession. In the sacrament of Penance, the penitent confesses his sins and is made one, reconciled with God and the Church, which results in forgiveness of sins.

When to report to him?

Always, when we commit a serious sin – conscious, voluntary and concerning important matter. In addition, it is worth regularly using the sacrament of penance to experience the healing grace of God and form your conscience. It is good practice to find a permanent confessor – a priest to whom we confess regularly, thanks to which in-depth work on our vices or weaknesses is possible. Confession is intended to cleanse us from our sins, and not only to improve our well-being, so we do not confess our difficult life situations, hoping that the priest will solve our problems – his role is to forgive sins, life problems will help us solve other specialists.

SPIRITUAL DIRECTOR

Who is he/she?

A clergy person or lay person with theological preparation, accompanying them on the path of faith.

What they do?

They lead to deepening our relationship with God. They support the path of spiritual development and indicate how to open more to the Holy Spirit.

If he is a priest, he may or may not be a regular confessor of the person being led.

When to report to them?

When the desire for “something more” arises in us in spiritual life. When we care about deepening our faith and strengthening our relationship with God. Spiritual direction is particularly important in the period when we make important life decisions regarding calling and the further path of faith. It is also valuable when our commitment to spiritual life goes beyond the necessary minimum – it is good to have a person who will direct us in a specific spirituality path. While we confess our sins to our confessor, we talk to our spiritual director about our inner movements, ways of prayer and reflections from reading God’s Word. Meetings can be regular or ad hoc.

marcin.rosinski@forces.gc.ca