Avoidance, re-experiencing and hyper-vigilance are very common in service members who experience combat operational stress. One of the goals of FOCUS is to make it easier for the service member to include their family in the healing process. FOCUS helps the service member find ways to be comfortable with allowing their family to assist them in re-establishing family bonds and helping with resettlement issues.
Through FOCUS, families can learn techniques for dealing with stress and worries, how to solve family problems, and how to adjust to new routines following a move or during deployment. They'll also learn ways to connect as a family and build strong bonds.
FOCUS can teach families how to talk about different concerns and feelings they have. Better communication prevents misunderstandings or conflicts and helps everyone get back to normal routines or come up with new ones, if needed.
FOCUS can help families anticipate issues that might be most stressful and make plans to reduce that stress. For example, FOCUS teaches families to set and achieve realistic goals, like having a strategy for setting up the family schedule so obligations do not come as a surprise.
Sometimes children have a hard time telling their parents about their worries because they don't want to cause their parents even more stress or because they think they're not being strong enough. FOCUS teaches kids how to talk to their parents about some of these concerns, and shows parents helpful ways to respond. If kids have a way to discuss their fears, they may be less likely to have problems at home or in school.
Families have to deal with different challenges that arise with each new deployment, PCS, or even school year. As kids grow older, they might ask questions about your military service that are tougher to answer. They may also be faced with new challenges that are just a normal part of growing up. Parents may also find their relationship has changed over time and they need to learn new ways to talk about those changes and reconnect as a couple. FOCUS provides skills-training to help families learn new ways to deal with common challenges and form strong bonds.