Military psychologists have an important role in the United States military. It is estimated that they make up over 30% of all psychologists in the US Army. Military psychologists are responsible for assisting military leaders in the planning and execution of their operations. In addition to aiding leaders, they also serve as personal assistants to higher ranking officers. Military psychologists are considered experts in their field due to their extensive training in human behavior and scientific research.
Military psychologists are also critical to support comfort, morale, and well being of military personnel. Most military psychologists provide treatment to those who have been injured or suffering from psychological conditions that affect their performance. Military psychologists are valuable to the Department of Defense as they have invaluable experience in military and wartime operations. Psychology has been called the science of war, because it focuses on the ability of a person to adapt to different psychological stresses that they may experience. Military psychologists understand the importance of psychological factors in battlefield operations and are valuable sources of information for the thousands of men and women in the Armed Forces who seek psychological comfort and relief from stress and high levels of stress. In essence, the professional who specializes in mental health of military personnel is considered a recruiter because he or she helps to identify, plan, and execute psychological programs for military personnel.
Psychologists can be employed in all branches of the military such as the Air Force, Navy, Army, Marines, and Coast Guard depending on the type of branch of service they are employed with. A psychologist working for the Coast Guard is considered a recruiter for the same reason a military psychologist working for the Army or Marines would be considered a recruiter. These psychologists have unique expertise and unique ways of helping military personnel in different aspects including mental health, emotional development, physical health, and neuropsychological health. Since most military men and women will come into contact with psychologists while serving their time in the military, psychologists should be available twenty-four hours a day and seven days a week. They should also be available to evaluate their soldiers when needed to ensure that they are receiving psychological support and assistance that they may need to survive or succeed in their careers.
A military psychologist also works in a military hospital and works to provide psychological treatment to military personnel who are in need of such treatment. When psychologists are brought into a military hospital for the purposes of treating mental health issues, they should be registered with the Behavioral Health Service Corps (BHSC) within the Armed Forces Health Services (AFHS) in which they will work in a clinical setting as part of a team of professionals who are dedicated to improving the lives of all allied personnel and are trained to provide mental health care in a professional and timely manner. BHSC registered psychologists provide a myriad of benefits to allied military personnel by offering health care counseling, psycho-social therapy, and psychiatric services.
The Mental Health Professional (MHA) is another term used for military psychologists. The Mental Health Association of the National Board for Professional Practice (MBA), Incorporated is the licensing board for psychologists employed by the military and civilian personnel. This organization accredits mental health professionals with an extensive background in behavioral science, mental health assessment, psychology, and other allied psychological specialties. The National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH) is an agency of the federal government that has been accredited by the National Board for Professional Practice (NBP) to administer licensing examinations for psychologists and other mental health professionals. These organizations also offer a host . . . . . . of benefits to psychologists working in their profession including medical benefits, education benefits, career transition assistance, research opportunities and other professional development opportunities.
Military psychologists are required to undergo a thorough physical and mental health screening, in addition to completing a number of written tests, prior to attaining a professional license. They must also undergo a comprehensive exam covering the area of military psychology and the specific branch they are serving in. Armed Forces Psychological Health (AFPS) offers several benefits to military psychologists, including: access to advanced clinical resources, educational programs, career transition assistance, and information on professional liability insurance. However, psychologists located outside of the U.S. may be subject to different laws and regulations regarding the type of treatment they receive.