Jodie Robison, PhD, LPC-MHSP, NCC
Executive Director, Military Services
As the daughter of an Air Force veteran, wife of a retired Green Beret, and mother of an active duty Air Force service member, Jodie Robison is uniquely suited to serve those who serve our country. With a master's degree in counseling and doctorate in human services, she brings two decades of clinical knowledge and a lifetime of personal experience to her role leading Centerstone's Military Services.
"I got involved in the behavioral health care of military service members, veterans and their families when I recognized the difficulties facing this community during the First Gulf War," Robison explained. "Service members were separated from their loved ones for combat deployments for the first time in many years and represented - for the most part - a new generation of our military. These separations contributed to anxiety, depression, stress and relational problems in the military community. Seeing the toll it was taking on my friends and loved ones in that community prompted me to want to help address these issues."
Robison credited her parents with helping spark her passion. By exposing her to the military lifestyle, she grew up with an idea and understanding of the unique challenges faced by this community. Clinically, she said her work has been greatly influenced by E.C. Hurley, DMin, PhD, an internationally renowned trainer and therapist who is also a U.S. Army veteran. "He helped me learn a great deal about post-traumatic stress disorder - PTSD - it's clinical presentation and treatment conceptualization," said Robison. "I have become a much better treatment provider as a result of his guidance."
The need is great, added Robison. The suicide rate among active-duty military and veterans is high. In fact, for a number of years now, more active-duty personnel have died from suicide than in combat. PTSD, depression, anxiety, substance abuse and relational issues also plague those who have served. Yet, Robison said, the stigma attached to seeking help remains strong and is still a major barrier to accessing care.
"Although there has recently been a shift in perspective, historically, service members who sought behavioral health care were looked down upon from within ... which, in turn, contributed to a sense of guilt and shame in help-seeking," she said. "In addition, service members feared losing their careers due to being diagnosed with a behavioral health disorder and/or taking psychotropic medications," she added of the most challenging aspects of getting help to those who need it most.
To address the issue of suicide, Robison is working with colleagues at Centerstone's Research Institute on the adaptation of a new intervention that she is hopeful will change outcomes for those with suicidal ideation. While focusing on this new therapeutic strategy, she said she is truly passionate about all aspects of her work from direct patient care to operational oversight to advocating for legislation that supports service members, families and veterans.
While there are challenges, she noted it is an honor to give back "to the men and women who have sacrificed through their service to this country." Robison added, "As a trained clinician, I get the greatest reward from providing clinical treatment to address military-related PTSD. When I provide treatment, using evidence-based psychotherapies, I generally see positive changes in my clients. This brings me hope that the men and women who have selflessly served this country can live their happiest, healthiest lives."
To achieve her own best state, Robison knows she has
to carve out time to stay physically active. "I believe physical and mental well-being go hand-in-hand," she said. She also happily recharges her batteries with her husband and two grown daughters. Her other favorite way to unwind is by watching lots of Spanish language movies. Robison noted
with a laugh that it was an unusual pastime but one that
keeps her skills sharp. With an undergraduate degree in Spanish, being bilingual helps her connect with more military members and families.
Forging connections to help this selfless population not just survive, but truly thrive, is a powerful motivator for Robison and one small way she shows her gratitude for their sacrifices. "We can all sleep at night because we have the greatest military in the world," she said. "There are many missed birthdays, anniversaries graduations and other holidays with family and friends. There are lives lost and injuries incurred - all in the name of securing our freedom. They took care of us ... the very least we can do is take care of them. #neverforget,"