As a Professional, How Do You Encourage Caregivers & Service Members to Open Up?

Often times it can be difficult as you work with service members and their families to get them to really open up to you in order to better identify appropriate services to meet their specific needs. In some cases, service members and their families may be reluctant to opening up to you as a professional for fear of their reputation, stigma associated with receiving help, denial about his/her condition(s), or the overall unknown (Brintnall-Peterson, 2014).

We asked a variety of military professionals from Joint Base Lewis-McChord and the Navy Wounded Warrior – Safe Harbor in Washington state, that work with wounded service members and families, on advice they would offer to getting their clients to open up.

Watch and listen as each professional provides key tips and strategies on communicating with their service members and families to get the conversation flowing.

After listening how each individual responds, can you relate to their feedback? What are some strategies that have worked in your profession to getting service members and families to open up? (Insert your response in the comment box below.)


The ‘Professionals Helping Professional’ video series was developed in order to highlight various military service professionals and their work with wounded service members and families throughout the branches of service. The goal of the video series is to enhance the work of military helping professionals and provide educational development to better support our service members and their families.

This post written by Mikala Whitaker of the MFLN Military Caregiving concentration team and was published on the Military Families Learning Network blog on March 9, 2015.

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