About this Episode:

Aaron speaks with Patricia Nevala on the unique challenges female-identifying veterans encounter when re-entering civilian work life.

About Raissa & Eric:

Patricia Nevala, MA, LMHC, NCC enlisted in the United States Marine Corps at the age of 17 as an Ammunition Technician Specialist. She spent her enlistment at Camp Pendleton in California. When Patricia honorably discharged from the Marine Corps, she moved to Albuquerque to attend the University of New Mexico in order to complete a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Criminology. Patricia wanted to continue serving beyond the military and found that pursuing a graduate degree in Mental Health Counseling would be her way to serve Veterans transitioning out of the military who may or may not have disabilities.

Upon completing her master’s degree in mental health counseling, Patricia obtained a position in research at the NM VA Medical Center. This research study entailed providing employment services to Veterans with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injuries, (VIP-STAR) – Veterans Individual Placement and Support Toward Advancing Recovery. The goal here was to measure how well an individualized vocational program could help Veterans find meaningful employment. Patricia worked with both men and women in addressing the challenges of not only transitioning out of the military, but also working through newly diagnosed PTSD and how those symptoms can impact obtaining competitive and meaningful employment.

On another research study, Patricia became trained and certified in providing Prolonged Exposure therapy to Veterans with combat-related Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. This research study was comparing two type of therapy modalities – Prolonged Exposure (PE) Therapy and Present Centered Therapy (PCT). PE primarily focused on addressing the trauma directly, while PCT primarily focused on addressing day-to-day stressors. This research study found that completion of Prolonged Exposure Therapy resulted in 70-80% decrease in symptoms by the 9-month follow-up, allowing Veterans to transition and adapt to civilian life, while improving their overall quality of life.

            Patricia’s most recent employment is as a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor & Program Coordinator with the NM VA Medical Center. This position has consisted of improving program processes and quality of program delivery to ensure that Veterans trying to obtain competitive and meaningful employment in the community are receiving the best care available. In this position, Patricia has worked with marketing the program to women Veterans, a gap that Patricia noticed was that the program was mostly serving male Veterans and not women. Outreach consisted of working with multidisciplinary teams and women’s clinics to close the gap in services received. This outreach is a continuous project to ensure that women Veterans are aware of all VA benefits and services available to them.

The APA Citation for this Episode:

Smith, A. (Producer). (2020, July 21). EP179: Transitioning to Civilian Life – Helping Female-Identifying Veterans Find Meaningful Work After the Military with Patricia Nevala [Audio Podcast]. The Thoughtful Counselor. Retrieved from https://wp.me/p7R6fn-Xk7.

Thanks To:

Photo by Joel Filipe on Unsplash
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