Rings, Jeffrey A.

Committee Member

Wright, Stephen

Committee Member

Smith, Jennifer

Committee Member

Woody, William Douglas


College of Education and Behavioral Sciences; Department of Applied Psychology and Counselor Education, Program of Counseling Psychology


University of Northern Colorado

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Place of Publication

Greeley, (Colo.)


University of Northern Colorado

Date Created



342 pages

Digital Origin

Born digital


The present study is the first known attempt to explore what reintegration is like for those who separated from the military against their will. The primary purposes of this study were to (a) assist counseling psychologists, other mental health care providers and administrators who work with involuntarily separated veterans in better understanding the unique difficulties and psychological stressors associated with leaving the military community against one’s will; and (b) highlight potential barriers to accessing mental healthcare among involuntarily separated veterans. Finally, the secondary objective was to identify whether interpersonal theory of suicide (Joiner 2005)-related constructs were present among this sample of involuntarily separated (IS) veterans. Using an interpretative phenomenological approach (Smith et al., 2009), this study contributed to the scope of research on the experiences of transitioning between military and civilian life while expanding the topic in a way that captured the importance of choice in transitioning from military to civilian life, giving voice to both convergent and divergent accounts of participants’ lived experiences. Themes included (a) Military/Civilian Cultural Differences are Dramatic, (b) Who Am I Now? Life After Involuntary Separation, (c) Disappointment and Disenchantment, (d) Psychological Concerns as a Result of Involuntary Separation, (e) Recommendations for Mental Healthcare Providers, and (f) Interpersonal Theory of Suicide. Recommendations from this study included calls to begin tracking volition of separation, recognizing IS veterans as a unique subgroup, reducing IS-related barriers to treatment, recognizing IS-related mental health concerns during transition. Interpersonal theory of suicide related (Joiner, 2005) constructs were found among IS veteran participants of this study. Recommendations were made for counseling psychologists, mental healthcare administrators, and researchers.

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