Human Services is a multi-faceted field incorporating a wide range of social disciplines aimed at improving people’s lives and increase its quality. In fact, the area of human services competency stretches as far as from providing the appropriate level of health care to administering financial, legal and psychological aid to the individuals in case of need. Human Services was not accepted as an independent science and was only established to a comprehensive scientific discipline in the 1960s. The discipline itself derived from the humanistic conception of the world, the perception of a human as a precious being with his/her potential, creativity and willing for self-actualization in the society. Exactly such an approach towards the conception of the human and human’s personality gave rise to human services ideas and goals. Human Services disciplines initially involved social work, advocacy, health care, law, nursing, and education, etc., i.e. the directions focused on the quality improvement of the social life of people. In terms of aid provided for people within the framework of human services, psychology and psychological aid play a significant role as it deals with people who were mentally traumatized under the influence of various circumstances. The array of psychological counselors’ competency ranges from help aimed at coping with a loss of parents to the wider and more complicated social problems experienced by individuals in their everyday lives. Naturally, the methods and algorithms of handling and treating psychological problems do not come from anywhere. Instead, all these practices are adopted from the thorough and detailed empirical studies and experiments.
There have been numerous experimental studies and researches conducted in the fields of psychology and psychological disorders. In this paper, we will make an overview of a good specimen human services related researches. The article’s title is A Qualitative Study of Single-Trauma and Dual-Trauma Military Couples. In the current article, the authors are focusing their attention on the impacts of combat-related trauma on the further life of the trauma survivors and their spouses and the peculiarities the experienced traumatic events precondition in family and marriage. Focusing on the trauma survivors couples, the authors deal particularly the possible differences in dual trauma couples (those where both partners have gone through traumatic events) and single-trauma couples (where only one of the partners is a trauma victim).
As the warfare, combat experience and the stress related to them can pose a serious challenge for couples either with one trauma victim or consisting of two trauma survivors (Ruger), it may trigger the traumatic symptoms that would exacerbate marital and family relationships, cause communication and deep psychological issues. The chosen article provides a thorough qualitative study of the combat-related trauma in couples and its effect on the relationships. Furthermore, as traumatic events survivors in the context of family life and interaction with partners were earlier studied only in general, with no distinction between the single-trauma and dual-trauma couples, current study enables the detailed analysis and comparison of the two groups of couples and traces the impacts of trauma on their communication and life.
Trauma survivors and their partners pose considerable interest in researches as their relationships are characterized by unique dynamics caused by the ongoing impacts of the previous trauma history (Nelson Goff). Taking into account the fact that there were few types of research and information dealing with the systemic effects caused by trauma in dual-trauma and single-trauma couples, the empirical study illustrated in the article under consideration had the goal to provide more information on specific problems and common themes observed in such couples.
The described study involved 22 volunteer participants (11 married couples) including militants previously deployed in Iraq and their spouses. The sample included also three women who were previously deployed. What was peculiar is that the couples were divided into two groups – one involving single-trauma dyads and another one consisting only dual-trauma couples (five and six couples respectively). The participants were interviewed separately from their spouses in order to ensure comfort and privacy for each of them and offered to perform a set of measuring tests and questionnaires. After the collection of data, the analytic strategy was used to process the obtained information from the participants. The range of experienced traumatic events included childhood physical or sexual abuse, physical abuse in adulthood, serving in war zone, witnessing violent death (either in military service or not), traumatic accidents or natural disaster, being in danger of losing life (either in military service or not), being a victim of a violent crime etc. What is rather natural, all the male participants claimed to have experienced serving in the war zone, being in danger of losing the life, news of violent death, natural disaster and traumatic accidents (Nelson Goff). At the same time, 6 of 11 female participants reported having experienced child physical abuse, news of death and physical abuse in adulthood (Nelson Goff).
As the study was aimed at exploring and finding common and diverse features in the lived trauma experience in single-trauma and dual-trauma couples, the data was processed from a phenomenological perspective implying deductive and inductive analyses.
The primary task of the described study was to find and point out common themes typical for two groups. The conducted research eventually allowed to state that the dual-trauma couples have proved to experience more difficulties in their family lives and demonstrate more negative common themes. Meanwhile, single-trauma couples tend to demonstrate three positive common themes: support, coping strategies, and awareness (Nelson Goff). Except that, the study revealed that the spouses from both single-trauma and dual-trauma couples commonly don’t discuss the traumatic experiences verbally and openly, but prefer to catch cues and nonverbal hints and behaviors.
The test allowed the researchers to identify two key negative themes typical of dual-trauma couples. These are trauma triggers and communication problems. All in all, the single-trauma couples have proved to demonstrate rather positive themes in their relations, whereas the dual-trauma couples have proved to be more vulnerable to relationship problems possessing the mixture of positive and several problematic themes and a low relationship satisfaction level on both sides.
Though having several limitations concerning the demographical features of the participants and, for example, the duration of serving in the war zone (the study involved only those who have been to Iraq once, so there is no specific data on those who have been deployed more than once in their lives), the current study is highly relevant for the practical side of clinical intervention. In couples who experienced traumatic events, all the issues related to communication problems, intimacy, trauma triggers, relationship roles, and others should be viewed through the lens of the trauma history (Johnson, 2002). This respectively means that the strategies and methods of treatment of these disorders should focus primarily on the source of the problem. Thus, such researches covey practical importance for psychological counseling as a part of human services. The trauma (especially combat-related) shouldn’t be observed as an individual experience, trauma should instead be researched and observed as a systemic phenomenon (Nelson Goff). This aspect of studying war-related psychological trauma is rather favorable and effective as the war-related traumatic experience has become a common feature for many soldiers and this traumatic experience usually affects not only the life of the soldier himself but also the life of the partner. For the USA as the war-engaged country, the issue of human services for the soldiers who have been either physically or mentally injured in the warfare (in our case – Iraq) should be of primary importance. That is why such researches pose considerable interest.
To draw a conclusion, we should mention that government care of its soldiers should be carried out via human services that should be regularly provided for the veterans. And psychological counseling for the trauma couples (and veterans in particular) should be one of the most important segments of the human services orientated on the militants. Taking into account the current study, the results obtained (especially the detailed analysis of problems experienced by the dual-trauma couples) could help in further improvement of militants-oriented human services and the methods of psychological counselling that should be directed not only on helping the soldiers to cope with the trauma, but also to teach them to interact with their spouses in the right way and organize mutual help and support in coping with the experienced trauma.