What does a Military Psychologist do?

A military psychologist is a mental health professional who specializes in military-related mental health issues. Many military organizations value psychologists because they can help identify candidates for special jobs, analyze the mental risks of combat and other related situations, and devise information-gathering strategies. A military psychologist can also assist soldiers and military personnel returning from combat situations with emotional trauma and readjustment to civilian life, both of which are serious concerns for soldiers and military personnel.

Military psychologists can be civilians or members of the military. They can work in a variety of situations and have a diverse educational background that helps them with a variety of tasks. A military psychologist will almost certainly have a PhD, MD, or PsyD degree, though not all positions require board certification. While some positions allow candidates to apply while still working on their dissertation, many others require several years of clinical or research experience. The availability of certain jobs can also be influenced age restrictions, physical health, and criminal records.

A psychologist can work in a variety of roles within a military organization. Some work with military families as well as troops and are stationed on bases, while others are deployed to battle zones with troops to provide care in stressful and dangerous situations. Many work in military hospitals or clinics to assist returning or injured troops with issues such as injuries, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, substance abuse, and other mental health issues.

A military psychologist’s long-standing role includes assisting with intelligence tests and evaluations. These tests are used to identify enlisted men and women who may have a special aptitude for a job, as well as to assess all new military recruits’ general aptitude. This aids military organizations in ensuring that the right people are assigned to the appropriate positions based on their qualifications.

A military psychologist with a keen interest in counter-insurgency and intelligence gathering might be able to find work in the field as a researcher. Psychological research is critical to the development of effective interrogation techniques that yield useful military intelligence. Many experts believe that psychologists can play an important role in diverting interrogation tactics away from physical abuse and torture. By training interrogators to gain prisoners’ trust through psychology, some experts believe that more truthful information can be obtained at a faster pace.