Army psychologists are force multipliers; in order to develop their abilities, they go through rigorous Army and civilian training.
By the time a clinical psychologist reaches their residency year, they have completed approximately 20 years of formal education, numerous clinical hours, and didactics aimed at preparing them to be a competent clinical psychologist.
In the civilian sector, clinical work make up a majority of a clinical psychologist’s responsibilities. This is not necessarily the case for Army psychologists. As many of us know, serving as an Army professional presents unique challenges that require additional skills that are not readily available through civilian education.
Through partnership between Blanchfield Army Community Hospital (BACH), Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center (DDEAMC), and the 101st Division Sustainment Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), the Army psychologists can further cultivate operational skills through completing the Embedded Behavioral Health (EBH) residency rotation.
The EBH rotation is an excellent opportunity for clinical psychology residents to develop an understanding of evolving operational environments and intricate differences between being a clinician and a Behavioral Health Officer (BHO). Additionally, the rotation helps develop institutional knowledge and Officer professional development, while also refining clinical skills within the larger scope of mission readiness and force multiplication.
EBH Rotation from the Residents’ Perspective:
As clinical psychology residents at the 101st Division Sustainment Brigade, maintaining basic soldiering tasks is as important as being a Psychologist. Our host BHOs immersed us in the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) culture, which is dramatically different than the culture of a hospital-based Officer. The host BHOs wasted no time preparing us for the 101st Abn. Div. by leading us on a mock Air Assault day zero during our first morning with the unit, which included a 2-mile run and obstacle course instruction in the Operational Combat Pattern uniform. The following days, our morning fitness included either ruck marches, running, or strength training.
Leadership development was one of the central goals for our rotation. We had a seat in leadership meetings at the Battalion, Brigade, and Division levels where we observed how mission requirements passed throughout the unit and how we could impact mission readiness while supporting Command’s intent. For example, we presented face-to-face and virtual outreach to Soldiers in an effort to foster resiliency and optimize performance. Additionally, developing professional relationships with unit Command teams through behavioral health trend analysis allowed us to see the impact of behavioral health on a wider scale and the impact of treatment on the force.
The EBH rotation highlighted the importance of working as part of a multi-disciplinary unit. Throughout our experience, we participated in outreach activities with the Unit Ministry Team and Military & Family Life Counselors (MFLC) to destigmatize behavioral health and increase the visibility of services available to Soldiers. By making ourselves available to Soldiers in their environments during walkabouts, we were able to have genuine conversations with Soldiers about their experiences with behavioral health utilization and ways to seek services in the future. Furthermore, we learned the importance of developing and strengthening supervisory relationships with behavioral health specialists (68Xs), who serve as integral force multipliers for the EBH clinic.
Most notably, we learned the value of flexibility and the importance of adapting to an ever-changing battle rhythm. Early in our rotation we developed a battle rhythm nested with our host BHOs that detailed meetings, briefs, and clinical experiences. As we would soon learn, unexpected events and changes to the mission would require us to be prepared to execute any responsibility of a BHO at any moment. The ever evolving battle rhythm allowed us to develop the necessary skills of contingency management and forward-thinking. Being a BHO is less about developing and maintaining routines and more about flexibility and contributing to force readiness.
EBH rotation from a BHO’s perspective:
Capt. Sever and Capt. Hausterman demonstrated professionalism as Army Officer and sound clinical skills. They brought new perspective and knowledge from their residency program, which was shared with the Sustainment’s clinicians, behavioral health techs and BHO’s. Finally, their presence facilitated lifelong learning and relationship building to ensure top-of-the-line medical care for our Soldiers.
The partnership between BACH, DDEAMC, and 101st Lifeliners helps contribute to the development of future Army Psychologists and further Army medicine.
Capt. Ryan Sever is a clinical psychology resident, who was temporarily assigned to 101st Division Sustainment Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), EBH Clinic as part of his external rotation for the Clinical Psychology Residency Program at DDEAMC, Ft. Gordon, GA. Capt. Sever earned a Doctor of Psychology degree in Clinical Psychology from the Florida School of Professional Psychology.
Capt. Nancy Hausterman is a licensed clinical psychologist who was temporarily assigned to 101st Division Sustainment Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), EBH Clinic as part of her external rotation for the Clinical Psychology Residency Program at DDEAMC, Ft. Gordon, GA. Prior to her direct commission in 2018, she served more than 15 years as a Human Intelligence Specialist and advanced to the rank of Master Sergeant. CPT Hausterman earned a Doctor of Psychology and a Master of Forensic Psychology from Argosy University.
Capt. Kate Williams is a behavioral health officer in the 101st Division Sustainment Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). She holds a doctoral degree (PsyD) in clinical psychology from the Illinois School of Professional Psychology (ISPP). She completed the U.S. Army Medical Department (AMEDD) Basic Officer Leader Course at Ft. Sam Houston, TX and her Clinical Psychology Internship and Residency at Tripler Army Medical Center and Schofield Barracks, HI.
Capt. Grzegorz Liberadzki is a behavioral health officer in the 101st Division Sustainment Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). He holds a doctoral degree (PsyD) in clinical psychology from the Adler University. He completed his Clinical Psychology Internship and Residency at DDEAMC, AMEDD Basic Officer Leader Course and AMEDD Captain Career Course at Ft. Sam Houston, TX and Air Assault School at Ft. Campbell, KY.