Crisis in counseling: How VA leadership is driving combat veteran counselors to burnout

VA News

The Vet Center is one consistent bright light in my history with VA. The moment I walked into the Vet Center I felt the difference, I felt welcomed, appreciated and respected. My therapists there guided me through some of the most difficult years of my life. Because of the work I did there and the years of patience from my therapist to let me go at my own pace I have a shot at having a happy life with a loving family.
However towards the end of my time at the Vet Center things started to change, it seemed administrative demands were increasing and the importance of veterans care was sliding to second place. I see a private therapist now when needed.
I read this story with sadness, Vet Centers were the one thing the VA seemed to do consistently well, but it appears all that is going by the wayside.
Changing the way Vet Centers help combat veterans is wrong, but I guess a successful history of helping veterans isn’t enough to keep the administrative bs out of the thing.

From the article:
Management supported the work he and his fellow counselors were doing without placing bureaucratic administrative burdens on them.
“You felt like you belonged, you were cared for,” he said. “The mission was focused on veterans for the right reasons.”
But then things started to change. Upper management began requiring more direct service time with veterans but also continued to demand counselors complete the lengthy list of other tasks, from outreach to administrative work.
It was tough, but still manageable.
Then, two years ago, top leadership ratcheted up the requirements, pushing counselors to meet new visit count standards that forced them to make ethical choices about how much time they could spend with each client.
Cut the visits short to make your numbers, spend whatever time is necessary with veterans and fall short on your numbers, or work more hours to complete administrative duties.
“Do I focus on quality of services,” he found himself asking, “or do I just focus on the numbers?”

Read the full story on MilitaryTimes.com



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