Vistas Online 2010

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.


Ambiguous Loss and Deployment: Assisting Veterans of Operations Enduring Freedom/Iraqi Freedom through Application of Van Deurzen s Four Worlds Model

Michael A. Keim and C. Nikki Vasilas


With the continued deployments in support of Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom, many military personnel and their families experience a sense of loss and Ideas and Research You Can Use: VISTAS 2010 2 separation that is persistent. As counselors working with this community, it is necessary to have a framework from which to understand and best serve military members. The authors propose that this framework should include a two-part approach to assisting returning service members. Counselors should first conceptualize the needs of this population in terms of ambiguous loss (i.e., experiences of loss or separation which defy closure) as proposed by Faber, Willerton, Clymer, MacDermid, and Weiss (2008). Service members returning from deployment may incur a loss of function, limbs, or appearance due to physical injury as a result of their participation in combat. Grief brought on by the death of fellow service members may also require a search for meaning and closure. Then, in formulating a treatment approach, these basic experiences of existence brought about by deployment can be explored in counseling through the application of the four world framework of Emmy van Deurzen (2002) which is based on four dimensions of human existence – the physical, social, personal, and spiritual. This framework in turn not only can be used to assist the client in discovering meaning in life by confronting problems and exploring possibilities, but also by providing a framework for understanding deployed military personnel and providing them an appropriate treatment approach.

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