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Assessment and Treatment of Depression in Military Service: An Overview
Length: 1 Hour

This training module outlines the rates of depression in the civilian, military, and veteran population and provides information about the prevalence and etiology of depression. Information related to the stigma associated with depressive issues is addressed. Strategies for screening and assessing depression are included, and specific psychometric tools are provided.  Treatments consistent with the VA/DoD Clinical Practice Guidelines to address depression are provided, with emphasis given to Cognitive and Behavioral Therapy.  Finally, a brief overview of the six VA/DoD recommended treatment protocols is discussed, with information and resources for obtaining more comprehensive knowledge and training.



1.     Communicate the prevalence of depression in the military population.

2.     Articulate the negative consequences of the stigma associated with depression.

3.     Appraise strategies for screening and assessing military clients for depression.

4.     Discriminate effective therapies for treating military clients with depression.


Sharon Birman, Psy.D., Cognitive Behavior Therapy Trainer, Center for Deployment Psychology

Sharon Birman, Psy.D., is a CBT trainer working with the Military Training Programs at the Center for Deployment Psychology (CDP) at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland.  She joined the CDP in 2014 after completing her postdoctoral fellowship at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, where she was actively involved in CBT and DBT intervention, supervision and education.  She completed her predoctoral internship at Didi Hirsch Mental Health Center, focusing her training suicide prevention and evidence-based interventions for the treatment of individuals with severe, chronic mental illness. 

Dr. Birman received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Southern California and her master’s and doctorate degrees in clinical psychology from Pepperdine University.

Her professional interests are in the areas of intervention and treatment planning for severe and chronic mental illness, suicide prevention, social justice, multicultural and diversity issues in therapy.  She has received intensive training in CBT and DBT in a variety of contexts, including hospital setting, community mental health centers, Veterans Affairs and within an applied research lab.  She has also received training in Prolonged Exposure Therapy (PE), Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Cognitive Behavioral Analysis System of Psychotherapy (CBASP), among other therapeutic modalities. She is certified in Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT), Applied Suicide Intervention Skills (ASIST), and Brief Response to Crisis (BRC). 

Financial: Sharon Birman has no relevant financial relationship to disclose

Nonfinancial: Sharon Birman has no relevant nonfinancial relationship to disclose

Laura Copland, 11223 - Center for Deployment Psychology

Laura J. Copland, MA, LCMHC, is a PTSD Treatment Trainer, with a focus on Cognitive Processing Therapy, at the Center for Deployment Psychology at Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, MD. She received her Master of Arts degree in Counseling Psychology from Antioch University New England in 1989.

Prior to joining the CDP staff, Ms. Copland directed, designed, and implemented state programs to assist active duty Service Members, Veterans and their families during and post-deployments, including Maryland National Guard Outreach and Maryland’s Commitment to Veterans. She has trained both military and civilian professionals on working effectively with military behavioral health issues. Ms. Copland has more than 20 years of direct service experience working with military Veterans and other survivors of trauma and acute and post-traumatic stress issues. Additionally, Ms. Copland was a Senior Adjunct Professor for 5 years in the Antioch University graduate psychology department.

Ms. Copland was awarded the State of Maryland Meritorious Civilian Service Medal by the Maryland Army National Guard for her work in the design and implementation of the Reintegration/Yellow Ribbon Program for all returning Maryland veterans and their families.

Financial: Laura Copland has an employment relationship with Center for Deployment Psychology.

Non-Financial: Laura Copland has no relevant nonfinancial relationships to disclose.


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