Dr. Jenny D'Olympia and Dr. Angela Taveira-Dick Provide Expertise and Guidance to This Old House

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Military personnel and their families face numerous stressors when making a permanent change of station move. Two William James College faculty members recently sat down with This Old House Reviews to discuss common challenges military personnel face, how to cope, and ways family and friends can offer support. You can read the full article here

Dr. Jenny D'Olympia, Director of the Military and Veteran Psychology Program, highlights how the first move to a new base and the final transition out of the military can be especially difficult: "If you're leaving the military and finding your way back into the civilian world, that can be equally daunting, maybe even more daunting."

According to Dr. Angela Taveira-Dick, Associate Director of the Military and Veteran Psychology Program,"Loss or disruption of social connection can be a huge stressor" during moves. She advises military members to "pay attention to your body and how you're feeling" and "engage in things every day that bring you joy or help you relax" through simple self-care activities. 

Both experts emphasize the importance of planning, flexibility, and accessing support systems during military moves. "Have a plan, but then have a backup plan for all your plans...Flexibility, too," advises Dr. D'Olympia. She recommends taking advantage of "nonprofits, state benefits, federal support, and other structures that can help." Dr. Taveira-Dick suggests loved ones "check in on them frequently" and possibly "plan a visit to them within their first few months of moving" to provide support. She continues "Having future plans to look forward to can certainly help provide a positive outlook during this type of transition."

Jenny D’Olympia is the director of the Military and Veteran Psychology and Train Vets To Treat Vets Programs, assistant professor, and associate chair of the Counseling and Behavioral Health Department. Jenny has been in the mental health field for nearly 18 years, during which she has had the opportunity to work and train in a diverse range of settings, the most significant of which was counseling veterans returning from Operations Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Iraqi Freedom (OIF) at the Department of Veterans Affairs, Boston Vet Center. In her work at the Vet Center, she counseled more than 800 unique veterans and their family members and created and presented more than 1,400 hours of television, radio, and live presentations in an effort to educate veterans and the public about war readjustment and post-traumatic stress.

Angela Taveira-Dick is the associate director of Military and Veteran Psychology Programs at William James College. She is also an assistant professor in the Counseling and Behavioral Health Department. Previous to her position at WJC, Taveira-Dick was the clinical lead for the Community Recovery Connections Team at the Bedford VA. In this position, she identified and created community partnerships between the VA and non-governmental agencies in order to enhance veterans’ reintegration into the community. She is a licensed psychologist and Certified Health Services Provider in the state of Massachusetts.