One of the most physically demanding fields of employment today is the United States Armed Forces. Physical strength is a top priority and is constantly being tested. However, mental health is often jeopardized in such an atmosphere, and even the most physically fit can succumb to psychological fatigue. Therefore, one of the most crucial professions in the Armed Forces is the military psychologist. One such therapist is Argosy University/Atlanta graduate Julie Jacobs, Psy.D.
After experiencing the September 11th attacks, Jacobs felt obliged to serve her country and the fight against terrorism. Having just finished her doctoral work in clinical psychology at Argosy University/Atlanta's Georgia School of Professional Psychology, she sought out and was immediately offered a position as a military psychologist at Charleston Air Force Base in Charleston, South Carolina. Here, she was able to acquire the clinical service hours necessary for licensure while also working with patients, an opportunity which not many unlicensed psychologists are given.
Although the heavy workload and instant responsibility presented a tough challenge, Jacobs believes her Argosy University/Atlanta education prepared her well for patient contact. She admits that when searching for a doctorate program, she preferred experience over research. "I was looking for a practice-oriented approach to psychology. The program at Argosy University/Atlanta appealed to me in that I was able to start having patient contact in the second year of practicum experience."
She was also pleased at the Argosy University/Atlanta's ability to foster her education within a supportive environment. "There was a sense of comradeship, very little competition and a lot of support and respect from other students and teachers. I was an individual rather than a number, and received training and experience based on my individual needs."
Jacobs spends much of her time working with active-duty airmen as a Clinical Psychologist at the base's Life Skills Support Center. Commanders who are concerned with an airman's performance rely on Jacobs to perform evaluations to uncover any physical or mental health problems. In any given day, she can deal with issues ranging from persistent tardiness to suicide threats. Jacobs must determine the best course of treatment for these patients, deciding between individual therapy sessions or life-skills training. She is thankful that the military stresses harmony between the mind and the body and views therapy as a health matter, not as a weakness. Jacobs also works with family members and civilian staff members at the base's behavioral heath facility.
Earlier this year, Jacobs received her license, allowing her to practice psychology on her own or with clinical practice. For now, however, she has no plans of abandoning the military. "I have a whole new respect and understanding for what the military does on a daily basis. It is an amazing organization with an overpowering sense of pride and mission. The Air Force core values of 'Integrity First, Service Before Self, and Excellence in All We Do' are values that I hope to live by long after my time in the military has ended."