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Counseling Student Takes Lessons Learned in the Classroom to Help Soldiers in Iraq

Marie Milord had a plan - to graduate from Argosy University, Washington DC Campus in 2004, move to Florida, become a licensed therapist, buy a house, and start a family. But one phone call changed her dreams, and ultimately helped her focus on a stronger career path. "When I realized I was going to Iraq, I was angry and sad," said Milord, a member of the Army Reserves. "I had a hard time accepting that. I had to accept it and come to terms that I was going to Iraq. The best thing I could do was to take this journey as a chance for learning."

Milord, a student in the Master in Counseling Psychology degree program at Argosy University, Washington DC Campus, only needed to complete two more classes and her practicum before graduating. Once Marie accepted the fact that she was heading to Iraq, she began wondering what to expect while there. "I knew I was going to do counseling with the soldiers. But that was it," she said.

Milord was a member of the Army Reserves for eight years and served in Iraq from January 2004 to January 2005. While she is no longer in the military, Milord continues to work with veterans by completing her practicum at a veteran's center, which is an outpatient counseling center. "Before I left for Iraq," she recalls, "I didn't know what I wanted to do. Now I'm more focused and want to continue working with veterans." Her time overseas gave her the opportunity to learn new skills and concepts (for example, critical incident stress debriefing). Also at her practicum, she is learning more about post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Once she finishes her practicum, Milord wants to continue working with veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan. Having been in Iraq will make it easier for Milord to relate to these soldiers. "I know how it feels to try to readjust to normal life after being deployed in a war zone," Milord said.

She credits the counseling program and the instructors at Argosy University, Washington DC Campus for providing the groundwork for enhancing her counseling skills. "I was able to use many of the professional skills I have learned from Argosy University during my experience in Iraq," Milord said. "I think my experience at Argosy University gave me the confidence and the skills to be able to help the soldiers who are in need. What I learned in the classroom helped me relate more to the soldiers."