A Family of Service: An Introduction to Couples and Families Within Military Systems Course for Psychology Graduate Students

Date of Award


Document Type

Doctoral Research Paper

Degree Name



Graduate School of Professional Psychology

First Advisor

Shelly Smith-Acuña, Ph.D.

Second Committee Member

Lavita Nadkarni, Ph.D.

Third Committee Member

Monica Escamilla, Psy.D.


Deployments, Dependents, Service members, Civilian, Duty station, Military

Publication Statement

Copyright held by the author. Permanently suppressed.


There currently exist three APA approved graduate programs offering an emphasis in military psychology. Of these programs, only two offer a course with a focus on military families. These programs, although comprehensive in several regards, provide a narrow focus on the content designated to military dependents. However, current literature highlights relevance of couple and family issues to the functioning of the service member, as well as documents the special challenges experienced by military families. These issues are not yet adequately represented in psychology training programs. Service members’ spouses and children experience unique challenges and obstacles that are specific to being related to a member of the armed services. This paper introduces several topics demonstrating the need for a specific curriculum dedicated to military families and systems pertinent for graduate-level students and/or professionals interested in serving military communities. For the purpose of this curriculum, primary attention will be placed on active duty members, though it is known that Reservists and Veterans are inclusive with regards to the themes discussed throughout.


58 pgs

Paper Method

Theoretical Analysis and Synthesis

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