Rader Clinic workshop helps patients manage their emotions with humor
Director of Department of Defense Force Health Protection and Readiness Programs, Psychological Health Strategic Operations, Washington, D.C., Air Force Lt. Col. Theresa A. Lawson poses for a photograph in her office in Rader Clinic on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall.

"Managing emotions is a tough business, and most people have difficulty controlling their temper as well as a wide array of emotions," said Air Force Lt. Col. Theresa A. Lawson.

Lawson is working on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall as a guest of Andrew Rader Army Health Clinic in the behavioral health clinic. She is the Director of the Department of Defense Force Health Protection and Readiness Programs, Psychological Health Strategic Operations.

Rader Clinic is sponsoring a six-session emotions management workshop, beginning July 9 from noon to 1 p.m., at the behavioral health classroom at the clinic. Lawson will teach the sessions, which she designed while obtaining her doctorate degree.

The workshop is available to all eligible adults who are enrolled in the military health care system and eligible to receive medical care at Rader, Lawson said. It's the first time the workshop has been taught at Rader.

Lawson said for those who want to take this workshop, they must go through their primary care provider at Rader to get assigned to the behavioral health clinic there in order to attend the workshop. "If someone doesn't attend the first session, the workshop is designed so that each session can be attended independently and make sense on its own," she explained.

Lawson is assigned to the Pentagon, and works at Defense Health Headquarters [in the National Capital Region], which is a part of Tricare Management Agency.

"Managing emotions was my PhD dissertation and was developed for fourth graders," said Lawson. "It is a cognitive behavioral approach, which is learning what is the purpose of emotions and why do you feel what you feel? There really is a reason for it, so how do you make emotions work for you and not against you," she asked.

"Fourth graders don't like a lot of psycho-babble; they have a short attention span and they really prefer [subject matter] to be interesting, so that is how this course was developed. The teachers asked if they could get the course, and based on that, I developed it for adults," Lawson explained.

Lawson said this workshop has an educational approach where she gives out information and allows people to ask questions, so they can take the information, apply it to themselves and see what does and doesn't work.

"I try to have no more than 12 to 15 people in a class," she said. "It's really geared toward the general population. If you're struggling with anger, sadness or fear, it will be helpful for you because because it will tell you what's going on."

She said it's a good class if you have no major problems and are just experiencing the usual day-to-day stress of understanding why we can't get along with people.

Lawson also explained it's a good class for married people and for people who used to get along with others at work but are now experiencing some difficulties. "Almost everyone can benefit from this workshop, which will be informative and fun. I use a lot of humor to explain reasons for certain behavior," she said.

The sessions will include various topics, such as: defining emotions and the purpose of anger, sadness, fear and happiness; the physical effects of emotions and learning about type-A behavior and sadness; gender differences in emotions; negative expressions of emotions and typical ways to express emotions that give short-term relief and long-term problems; about the ABC model of emotions -- understanding how beliefs can help or hurt; and assertive communication.

For more information on the emotions management group, phone Rader Clinic Behavioral Health at 703-696-3456.

Page last updated Tue July 10th, 2012 at 00:00