Army Veteran finds confidant at VA Vet Center


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IMG_0467A couple years following his active duty service, Nick Tieman realized he needed to see a counselor. The Army Veteran started by seeing a counselor at his university. The person there recommended that he see someone at the Vet Center in Washington, D.C.

That’s when he found his confidant.

Tieman attends bi-weekly sessions with his counselor. He enjoys the sessions because they allow him to be free and comfortable with what he wants to talk about.

“I really enjoy going in there. It seems a lot less formal. It makes me feel more comfortable,” Tieman said.

When he’s doing well, he talks about what is making him happy. When he’s not doing well, he discusses what is bothering him.

“It’s nice to have that open platform to be able to talk about whatever I want,” Tieman said. “I don’t have to worry about always having something impactful and profound to say. It keeps me going in there knowing I don’t have to just go in there with something wrong.”

Seeking counseling is not easy. A person needs to realize they’d benefit from counsel, and then take the leap of faith that it’ll work. Tieman admits that the sessions have improved his well being, but he isn’t completely comfortable with sharing this part of his life with others. He occasionally feels shame, but knows those are the same feelings that drive him to go.

In Tieman’s situation, his counselor isn’t a Veteran himself — though many Vet Center counselors are.  While Tieman’s counselor he can’t empathize directly with his military experiences, he does understand the feelings that go along with them.

“He’s really open about me talking about whatever I want to,” Tieman said. “It’s nice to go and dump my thoughts away from school and where I live. It just feels nice to do that.”

Tieman served two tours in Afghanistan with 82nd Airborne Division, which makes him eligible to use his local center. Vet Centers provide services to Veterans who experienced military sexual trauma, served in theater, provided emergent care to casualties of war, or were involved in combat or area of hostility. They are available in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and America Samoa.

All VA Vet Center services are provided to the Veteran and their family without cost or time limitation.


To determine if you’re eligible to use Vet Center resources or would like to find a facility near you, visit the VA’s website: http://www.vetcenter.va.gov/

Author

Timothy Lawson

Timothy Lawson has been a member of VA’s Digital Media Engagement team since April 2016. He graduated from American University’s School of Communications in 2016 with a degree in Broadcast Journalism. Tim is a Marine Corps Veteran having served as a Marine Security Guard posted at embassies in Algeria, Russia, and Peru.

Comments

  1. David Handler    

    I am a Vietnam era vet. I have been struggling with chronic depression since returning from Vietnam, several MD’s and Psychologists,counselors have diagnosed me with PTSD, amongst other things. I am having another pretty bad problem with my depression, and struggling with the usual Nam related issues at the same time ie. flashbacks, hearing battle sounds when there aren’t/shouldn’t be any. I’m currently about 1200 miles from home, I just had to get out of there, too much pressure, too much. . .well everything. I’m lucky that my brother in Minneapolis area is able to offer me some temporary shelter, support. Is there any way, HOW do I get hooked up with the VA? I could use some help.

    1. Megan Moloney    

      Sir, give the Vet Center Call Center a call at 1.877.WAR.VETS (1-877-927-8387) to get connected to the nearest Vet Center, which can also get you connected to local services.

  2. Luis a Reyes    

    EVER SINCE I BEEN GOING TO THE VET CENTER OF LAKELAND FLORIDA, OUR THERAPIST DANARYS CROWN
    SHE GOES BEYOND THE CALL SHE COMES FROM LAKELAND VET CTRL EVERY WEDNESDAY TO REACH OUT TO US , AND BELIEVE IT WORKS, SHE’S EARN THE RESPEC5OF MYSELF AND MY BROTHERS MOSTLY VIETNAM VETERANS.

    THEY ARE BETTER THAN THE VA PTSD PROGRAM, IF YOU HAVE BEEN DIAGNOSED WITH PTSD REACH OUT TO THE VET CENTER. THEY AREORE THAN VA.

    1. Mark W Collns    

      The VA will help…my brother was in the same boat, get in touch with the VA , Don’t give up…they drag their feet. Once you’re in, they will take care of you. Good luck, don’t give up and welcome home. Thank you for your service

  3. van mckinley sr    

    I believe I met need some type of counselor to talk to but don’t know how or where to go. I have a VA in Houston Texas and no transportation to get there. I live in Alvin Texas.

    1. Gary Hicks    

      Mr. McKinley, try calling the Houston Vet Center (713-523-0884 Or 713-523-0884) they may be able to arrange transportation or there may be a mobile Vet center coming to your area. https://www.veteranscrisisline.net/ may also be able to connect you to some resources.

  4. Ron    

    I would like to know what PTSD is. I wrote a book about it, “A question unanswered, PTSD.” In my research there was no description of PTSD other than, it is post traumatic stress disorder. I asked what that was and I was told, it is PTSD. There is no medical definition nor is there a physical definition. In fact, it really does not exist. One of the writers above said he has flashbacks. I would asked, if you are driving down an interstate doing 85 miles an hour and you have a flashback, where does you car go?
    It is my learned opinion and many psychiatrists also that what some call ptsd is nothing more than memories. Those claiming to have such a thing are probably causing those memories to stay in the forefront of their lives.

  5. Felipe Quenga    

    Where can I get in touch with the Vet Center? I live in Seaside, CA. Any email or phone number?

    1. Gary Hicks    

      The national listing is available here; California here I’m not too familiar with California, but San Jose may be the closest to you:
      440 North 1st Street, Suite 120
      San Jose, CA 95112

      Phone: 408-993-0729 Or 877-927-8387
      Fax: 408-277-7801

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