In this episode of Borne the Battle, Army Veteran Dr. Anneke Vandenbroek, a board-certified clinical psychologist, discusses changes in treating Veterans in times of COVID, cognitive behavioral therapy, the importance of mental healthcare and how any Veteran, regardless of discharge status, can receive cost-free mental health care at any Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic in the country.

Dr. Vandenbroek joined the Army during her doctoral program when she received the Health Professions Scholarship. She had little idea of the variety of jobs and opportunities that awaited her in the military. After graduating from Nova Southeastern University with her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, she was later stationed in Hawaii.

After serving at Tripler Army Medical Center, Dr. Vandenbroek retired from the military and transitioned to a similar civilian position within the Department of Defense, which allowed her to maintain a career while her husband was still in the military. She continued to pivot within her career as her military family dynamic continued to change throughout the years.

A final move to Maryland resulted in Dr. Vandenbroek taking a position at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Her work at Walter Reed differed from the pre-9/11 years she spent at Tripler, bringing challenging new injuries, experiences and complications during her 10 years at the medical center.

Dr. Vandenbroek left Walter Reed in 2017 and is currently the director of the Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at Easterseals. Although this particular clinic serves the DC, Maryland, Northern Virginia region, The Cohen Veterans Network partners with many different organizations to run clinics that serve everyone regardless of their discharge status or benefit status. There are 20 Cohen Clinics nationwide that serve children as young as four years old, active duty service members, family members and caregivers. By the end of 2021, the Cohen Veterans Network plans to have 25 operational clinics. In the interview, Dr. Vandenbroek said that Cohen Clinics receive many referrals from VA facilities.

Also in this episode, Dr. Vandenbroek discusses what cognitive behavioral therapy is and how it works, the increase in need for mental health care during the COVID-19 pandemic, the rewards of helping Veterans improve their quality of life through mental health care and how good communication skills can help Veteran families.


Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week:

Air Force Veteran Brig. Gen. (ret.) Gerald Mcilmoyle

Air Force Veteran Brig. Gen. (ret.) Gerald Mcilmoyle. Photo courtesy of Patrick Mcilmoyle.

 

 

 


Mentioned in this episode:


Jana Jenkins is a podcast intern with the VA’s Digital Media Engagement Team. She is an undergraduate student at the College of Saint Benedict studying Communication.

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20 Comments

  1. Karen P April 26, 2021 at 2:31 pm

    I live in Indiana and I do not have personal transportation. The nearest clinic to me is in Tennessee. That doesn’t help me at all. Why isn’t there a clinic in ALL 50 states????

    • Anneke Vandenbroek April 27, 2021 at 10:22 am

      Hi Karen – we would love to be in all 50 states! I’m sorry that we don’t have a location that you can use at this time.

      Right now CVN has 19 clinics and growing, with the plan to have about 25 clinics, one of which will be entirely “virtual” and have therapy services to all 50 states via telehealth. One of the challenges is that every state has different licensing laws for therapists. For instance, therapists in my clinic have to get licensed in 4 different states to serve the areas around Washington, D.C., which is a very expensive and time consuming process. Legislation is pending in many states to allow therapists to practice across state lines without needing a new license.

      In the meantime. CVN does have some materials online to help with self-care and learning cognitive-behavioral tools that you can use on your own. Those links can be found here: https://www.cohenveteransnetwork.org/us-located/

      CVN also offers wellness workshops and presentations that are open across the country. A list of upcoming events can be found here: https://www.cohenveteransnetwork.org/cvnpresents/

  2. Sharon Garcia April 23, 2021 at 8:26 am

    I cared for my Dad who was a WWII veteran for 2+
    years in his home following the passing of my Mom. He suffered from Alzheimer’s and PTSD from the War. The VA provided a lot of support to us and to me as his caregiver, his daughter. Once he passed in February I have been totally disconnected from the VA and parts emotional support services. I am not a spouse nor considered a dependent. Yet I grieve as any Veterans family member does but am left alone. I believe the VA should extend services to at least the caregiver of a Veteran for awhile following the Veteran’s passing.

    • Anneke Vandenbroek April 27, 2021 at 10:24 am

      Hi Sharon,

      Family members and caregivers definitely need services as well. Your status as a military caregiver or direct relative of a veteran does make you eligible for care through Cohen Veterans Network.

  3. Robert Huey April 23, 2021 at 12:27 am

    Warm Greetings,

    What is the link to search for Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinics in participating VA hospitals?

    TIA,
    SFC Bob Huey, US Army (Ret.)

    PS SAVAHCS, the Tucson, AZ VA is my local hospital.

    • Mallary Lass April 23, 2021 at 10:18 am

      Hi Robert,

      We are actually not part of VA, but work very closely with VA. Here’s the link to all the Cohen Veterans Network Clinics across the country: https://www.cohenveteransnetwork.org/clinics/

      Please let us know if you have any specific questions at 844-336-4226.

      Stay healthy. Stay well.

  4. Jack Ogden April 22, 2021 at 3:13 pm

    Good morning,
    I am a Vietnam Vet with stage four cancer – now in my bones. As a result I am rated 100% disabled. Day to day I do well, but every now and then anxiety catches up with me. I would like to know if there is a Cohen Clinic near Palm Desert, California. Thanks

  5. Omar Rodriguez April 22, 2021 at 2:37 pm

    My discharge is other than honorable…..I am in grave need of mental health services. Can you refer me to a center for treatment in new Jersey?

  6. Anneke Vandenbroek April 22, 2021 at 1:13 pm

    Thank you for listening to my podcast – and many thanks to Borne To Battle for sharing my story!

    For those asking about services. My clinic is part of the Cohen Veterans Network which has 19 clinics open nationwide and service in many states. My clinic is located in Maryland, and we serve Maryland, DC, Virginia, and West Virginia. Even if there isn’t a clinic located in your area you may still be able to get services via telehealth at a location within a state or two of your area.

    The clinic locations can be found here:

    https://www.cohenveteransnetwork.org/backtobetter/

  7. Steve Miller April 22, 2021 at 1:08 pm

    Psychology is Dark Triad Narcissism by own rules. Needs rethink.

  8. Luther Jones Jones April 22, 2021 at 11:39 am

    GM, Need some assistance in S.C. for your Services.

  9. Gerry Valencia April 21, 2021 at 8:18 pm

    I need help .I cant remember a lot of stuff because of depression and ptsd from my childhood..I lost some memory after my divorce also..I need help finding my DD214
    I went in oct 31 1977 san Diego..discharged june 1981…please help..

  10. Louise Parks April 21, 2021 at 7:29 pm

    After 15 years of stopping and starting the process trying to go through the VA on my own, I FINALLY completed it! The thing is… all this time… has taken a toll on my relationships; family, coworkers, friends, husband, kids, and how I view myself. My life has become a tangled cluster that I can barely get through the day anymore. I wish regardless of what branch you were in, whether Regular Army, National Guard, or Reserves all have to separate the same way and roll you over to the VA in a warm handoff. I just could not get myself together enough to do what was needed or to make sense and understand what I needed to do.

    • Anneke Vandenbroek April 22, 2021 at 1:21 pm

      Hi Louise,

      Thank you for sharing – it can definitely be a challenge to figure out how to navigate the VA system! I’m glad you’ve been able to access care. The MTF and VA handoff system has gotten better in the past decade or so, with better systems to help service members transition from one system to another. I’m glad you were able to get connected.

      Sincerely,

      Dr. V

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