This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Veterans, Military Culture, and the Therapeutic Alliance




Gunther, Jared

Type of Degree

PhD Dissertation


Special Education, Rehabilitation, Counseling


Understanding how military culture influences the therapeutic alliance is vital to ensuring competent and ethical care for the veteran population. A qualitative analysis incorporating a social constructionist framework, that comprised of six in-depth interviews was conducted with veterans. Utilizing an inductive thematic decomposition analysis two primary themes were developed with seven subordinate themes. The first primary theme developed was Military Culture which is composed of four subordinate themes: Military Culture Shapes Identity, Interpersonal Challenges, Selective Trust Means Security, Mental Health Stigma Means Consequence; that describe different aspects of military culture that contributed to the therapeutic alliance. The second primary theme developed was Therapist Skills, which includes three subordinate themes: Accountability Through Confrontation, Active Listening Builds Rapport, Collaboration Creates Agency, that identify the skills unrelated to culture that positively influenced development of the therapeutic alliance.