As the United States Uniformed Services continue
to engage in conflicts in the Middle East and Unit Deployment Programs around
the world, military students are dealing with the cyclical separation from one
or more parent. The effects of deployment on children have shown an increased
risk in psychosocial issues, including stress, anxiety, behavioral issues, and
generalized emotional difficulties (James & Countryman, 2012). Children as well as their remaining family members experience a complex emotional cycle before, during, and after the deployment, and of course this cycle can and most likely will carry over to the school setting.
Individual and group counseling can be effective methods of helping these students deal with the deployment of a loved one. If the school is located in a heavily-military-populated area, counseling groups can create positive in-school supports for students who are experiencing deployment at the same time. For this reason, I have created a counseling group designed for upper elementary school students. The group is a 10-session curriculum that aims to create a safe space to discuss feelings relating to deployment and personal experiences of being a military child. Students learn about locus of control, identify supports in the family, school, and community, and learn and practice techniques for managing anxiety.
Check out my group curriculum on my TpT page!
military deployment on children and families. Innovations in Clinical Neuroscience, 9(2), 16-20.