Graduation Date


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department or Program

Counseling Psychology

Department or Program Chair

Robin Gayle, PhD, MDIV, MFT

First Reader

Carlos Molina, EdD, MFT

Second Reader

Heather Chamberlain, PhD


This informative guide was created to help civilian therapists, interns and trainees work with military personal, specifically with female veterans who are survivors of a Military Sexual Trauma (MST) and present with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). When becoming a therapist, cultural awareness is always important. When working with military or veteran clients, learning about military culture is equally important. Some military personal, active duty and/or veterans prefer a military therapist because they perceive he or she understands the culture and the language and will save the client hours trying to explain military life. This guide will provide civilians with psychoeducation on sexual assaults in the military; how common they are, how often they go unreported, and why. It will also explain how the military culture can both amplify the psychological impact of a sexual assault and impede the recovery process. Finally, this guide will outline the negative ramifications of MST and PTSD in female veterans, such as avoidance and substance problems, and enumerate multiple treatment options. Some are evidence based, some are not; however, all are described in this manual.