VISTAS Counseling Veterans and Military Families

VISTAS Online is an innovative publication produced for ACA by Dr. Garry R. Walz and Dr. Jeanne C. Bleuer of Counseling Outfitters, LLC. Its purpose is to provide a means of capturing the ideas, information and experiences generated by the annual ACA Conference and selected ACA Division Conferences. Papers on a program or practice that has been validated through research or experience may also be submitted. This digital collection of peer-reviewed articles is authored by counselors, for counselors. VISTAS Online contains the full text of over 900 proprietary counseling articles published from 2004 to 2017.

Back on Track: Life Skills Training for Veterans in the Criminal Justice System

James J. Ungvarsky, Michelle Conaty, and Shannon Bellflower


Combat veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) have had different experiences than combat veterans from previous military operations, having endured more deployment cycles and longer time in actual combat than their counterparts in previous conflicts. Veterans of OIF/OEF describe their war as being 365/360, meaning they are in combat 365 days a year and the enemy is 360 degrees around them. Survival in this type of combat environment requires one to suppress feelings, exercise hyper-vigilance in order to react automatically to a perceived threat, carry weapons at all times, and hone survival skills that are often based on aggressive behaviors. Ironically, these attributes, though an asset in combat, become detrimental to dealing with daily life upon a military member’s return home.

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