• 'From service to Civvy street’: An exploration of therapists' experiences who support veterans facing a difficult transition from military to civilian life

      Parnell, Tony; Jones, Gemma L. (University of Chester, 2013)
      Approximately twenty thousand Army, Royal Air Force and Royal Navy personnel leave the U.K forces each year. For many, the transition from service to civilian life is an uncomplicated one. However, for some, numerous and significant problems can arise brought on by mental health issues which range in severity and complexity. The present phenomenological qualitative study aimed to explore counsellors' experiences of ex-service personnel facing difficult challenges upon transitioning to civilian life from the forces and within that, identify some of the barriers and facilitators which may inhibit/promote a successful transition. In-depth, semi-structured interviews were conducted as a method of data collection. Use of the constant comparative method allowed an exploration of the data for analysis. Participants described their perceptions in terms of characteristics of a military life, including how identities may have been shaped; psychological & health issues upon return from deployment; social issues and the impacts difficult adjustments ensued; loss as experienced upon return to civilian life; the attempt to bridge the gap between the two lives including seeking help, coping strategies and mental adjustment; counsellor attributes and the role that therapy can play in assisting difficult transitions. Identity was recognised as a major significance throughout the findings, along with a shift in identity from soldier to civilian, assisted by challenges to maintain a service identity before a continuous transition could be attempted.