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Lifetime TV Renewing “Army Wives”

armywivesseason2Lifetime TV is renewing “Army Wives,” a drama about the joy and pain of military life, for a fourth season. New episodes will air by next summer. The Department of Veteran Affairs employs more master’s prepared social workers than any other organization and “Army Wives” is popular among social workers. Do you think the program adequately portrays issues that social workers deal with in real life when helping military clients and families?

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  1. I’d like to know what social workers who work with veterans have to say about the show.

  2. I work in the VA but NOT as a social worker. I can only say that more Vets from Iraq and Afganistan are making their way into the intensive mental health day hospital program and the substance abuse program.

    Some episodes are sugar coated and seem unreal for any microsm, let alone military life. The recent episodes have had more realism with regards to PTSD, stress, marital issues and loss. The cliffhanger, did Jeremy (I believe that’s the young man’s name) commit suicide is real, but was he dad’s reaction to his problems? This career soldier is portrayed is having no idea his son has brother, suck it up and take it like a man.

  3. Having been an Army brat until adulthood, I can only say it’s a culture that promotes sexism, alcoholism, lack of critical thinking, conformity, and rigid roles and facades for all family members. Wives and daughter often fare much worse than sons, though not always.

    I well remember driving my father’s Army Colonel car at 16, newly licensed. Every soldier on the base had to stop and salute me as the car. And watching naive 18 & 19 year olds from small towns be so thrilled the Army fixed their teeth. before shipping them off to the nightmare and likely PTSD or death in the jungles of Viet Nam. The same is now with Iraq and Afghanistan.

    The military has started a School of Social Work?? Got to be an oxymoron!

  4. As a MSW student and an Army wife, I can tell you that the show is a little over dramatized and sometimes the writers’ miss the mark portraying Army policy. However, I think the show appropriately relays that the military lifestyle is a subculture with its own norms and values. Furthermore, I think it rightfully highlights the fact that military families are functional, loving families operating under enormous stress. On a personal note, I am always offput and offended when anyone who has never experienced deployment within their immediate family thinks for even a second that they can comprehend the emotional strain associated with deployment. My advice when working with a military family is to recognize that the lifestyle is a unique culture and approach your work with the family from a perspective that allows the family members to teach you their personal cultural lifestyle.

  5. I am an Army brat and I love the show; I have been watching it since the first episode. I think the separations, losses and trauma that have been portrayed are realistic. The idea of the military as a family is also true, since military families move often and do pull together when there is a loss. I do not think the friendships among officers wives and enlisted men’s wives is realistic; at least it would not have been when I was growing up. I have not worked for the VA, but I can only imagine that it would be very stressful in these times, with two wars going on. I do appreciate that the show brings out some of the difficulties and sacrifices of military families.

  6. I am currently in a BASW program and I am also an Army spouse. I hate this show. It is unrealistic of what our military families are really going through. Since 9/11 our military has been taxed beyond comprehension. Families are falling victim to rapid, long and frequent deployments. I think this show started off good then had to go right to stereotyping the Army wife. I was very disappointed in many of the stereotypes being shown. Cheating happens yes just the same as in the civilian world. That story line really got under my skin. They show such a sugar coated view of deployment and how things are done in the Army. Deployments in the Army are typically one year or more in duration not a couple of months.

    The last episode with Jeremy possibly committing suicide is a hard cold fact. The fact that his father was so detached is possible and even likely given his character development. He is an Army Major and should be aware of the signs of depression and PTSD especially in his own son living in his home. This is the problem in many units across the military. The leaders are supposed to be trained in signs of combat related stress. The truth is that they are not. I wish they would have shown how hard the real reintegration process is for a family and for a soldier.

    I wish that they would have taken a few different paths after season one. They could be doing so much better at really showing people what military life is like. Even a little bit realistic would be better. There is too much fluff! I know this is strictly entertainment and I always remind myself this show is about ratings and making money.

  7. I am a military brat as well as a social worker. My husband is a disabled vet due to service connected, action connected injuries. We have two sons who were in the military (actually one is still in and on his 5th deployment to Iraq). Both of our sons have served in Iraq. PTSD is something I watch for in my sons. I believe that many of the stresses these families face in Army Wives are real, even though maybe down played a little. I am not sure that our “civilian” population could handle or would believe the extreme stresses these families face. I also agree that the fraternization between Officer’s Wives and Enlisted Wives is exaggerated, at least from when I was a military brat. I do know that many aspects of the military has changed, even from the time in which my husband was in the military.

    I do believe that the show did portray the difficulties that Jeremy was facing when he returned home from Iraq and was not dealing well with the loss of his friend. He felt guilty or responsible for his friend’s death. His mother saw the signs but his father is determined that Jeremy is going to be officer material, whether Jeremy wants it or not and therefore did not see the signs or ignored them. I think this is pretty typical of military fathers. The idea is to be a man and to suck it up and carry on.

    I love the show and watch it religiously every week. I am looking forward to season 4.

  8. My father spent 30 years in the Air Force and my brother also spent 30 years in the Air Force. I am very grateful to our serving military . While I do not feel the show portrays the lifestyle entirely realistically I like the notion that an effort is being made to have our country see the self sacrifice made by our soldiers and the patriotism in our military./country. My brother and father both went to war…my father in WWII before my birth and my brother in Vietnam in my early teens. My brother brought back a Vietnamese wife after two tours and it seemed he needed to have someone who shared with him something he would never and has never shared openly with his family. I think to portray exactly what war brings would be next to impossible and possibly it would not even be advised. I am glad the military is planning for the return of many soldiers with PTSD, since they did not plan after the Vietnam war. While I am concerned there will be great difficulties for our returning soldiers and their families that we cannot address…I am pleased to see there is an effort being made and the groundwork being laid for them to be received positively and with gratitude for their sacrifice and service. I watch Army Wives and believe the tone of the show is to assist in creating this type of welcome for our returning soldiers. I can only hope we have learned from our past mistakes and wish the relationships of the military families depicted in Army Wives becomes the current norm.

  9. Being retired USAF SMSgt and a currently licensed Social Worker, the thing I appreciate the most about Army Wifes and their portrayal of need for mental health services is the way seeking services through military channels affects careers. I know, I know the new military has made it known that they want noncom and officers as well as civilians to come forward and seek mental health services when they are experiencing difficulty. However, unless things have changed greatly in the past 15 years, each special duty assignment and some promotion actions include a review of medical records. The military health system protects its members by not including MH records in the public health records (those that can be reviewed by commanders, first sergeants, security police and investigative bodies) but if they seek MH services, their health records are stamped with a large REFERRED TO MENTAL HEALTH notation. These individuals will be be prohibited from obtaining certain security clearances, jobs and their ability to make the service their career can be jeopardized. I DO NOT advocate that military members avoid getting help when they need it, I DO advocate a change to the way the military handles the outcome.

  10. As a mother who has lost a child to death I am impressed with how Army Wives have been portraying that loss and that they haven’t just left the loss in the dirt as many other shows do. I have become a big fan. As a non-traditional student in the SW field I am grateful for you professionals who are sharing your opinions!

  11. There aren’t many shows that I like but I love Army wives. I watch the show all the time on my Android phone with TV everywhere with DISH. I just can’t go wrong with working with DISH I learn about everything I can do with TV and that is great! I never miss a single show of Army Wives even if I work late. Next episode is going to be hard to see because I don’t want Roxy to have to deal with Trevor she really loves him and just wants a better life for her family. It seems like he is being selfish and won’t even listen. We shall see what happens. I’m just hoping for the best for Roxy.

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