MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- There are many ways to cope with the emotions and reality of a loved one preparing for deployment, but if someone is looking for a positive way to adapt to their new environment they may want to consider attending the series of Beyond the Brief workshops.
Beyond the Brief workshops, based on a six-week cycle, is a Camp Lejeune-originated program focusing on six strong points to consider before, during and after a deployment.
The Beyond the Brief setting is centered on small group interaction, according to Bruggeman. The class breaks off into groups of three to four people and discusses different opinions and outcomes of various scenarios.
“This is not a pre-deployment brief,” said Catherine M. Bruggeman, Ph.D., deployment support specialist, Marine Corps Family Team Building. “Pre-deployment briefs are the basics, or ‘boot camp’ of deployment briefs where we talk strictly to you – in Beyond the Brief we walk with you.”
Week One deals with the stress, anxiety and fear involved with coping with the separation.
The separation can be very hard on both the deploying service member and the loved one left behind, according to Bruggeman. The initial shock, or realization of reality, can be overwhelming, and support specialists are there to help anyone who wants it.
Staying or leaving is the focus of Week Two during the program. After a family member or loved has deployed, many spouses ask themselves whether they should stay in Onslow County or return to their home of record to enjoy the company of their extended families, according to Bruggeman.
The third week centers on the understanding of money and finances.
“The attendees are made aware of everything they need to know to keep their finances in check while their loved ones are gone,” said Bruggeman. “It’s pretty much like money and finance 101.”
Specialists talk to the observers about how to read Leave and Earning Statements, the allowances they are entitled to receive and suggestions on how to budget their income.
They are also told about the Saving Deposit Program, which is a savings program only accessible to spouses when their Marine of sailor is deployed, according to Bruggeman.
In Week Four, the process of casualty assistance is explained.
“A lot of spouses want to come for this brief so they can learn about it, but it’s hard to get them to come due to its emotional distress,” said Bruggeman. “It’s important for them to know that casualty doesn’t always mean the worst, and what to do if they get a call or someone shows up at their door in dress blues.”
The last session in the cycle focuses on the homecoming, according to Bruggeman. This lets family members know it is a good thing and helps them realize they need to re-define family roles.
Sometimes spouses who take control of everything during the deployment become very independent, especially if children are involved, and have difficulties adjusting to sharing the control when their spouse returns from deployment, according to Bruggeman.
On the other hand, some spouses who have had to handle everything throughout the duration of the deployment are ready to ‘dump’ it right back onto their spouse when they return, and it’s too overwhelming for them, according to Bruggeman.
So, the homecoming session helps attendees know their feelings are normal and suggests various ways to handle and resolve these issues.
“Overall, the strength of this program is solely its small, interactive and relaxed environment, which produces very informative instruction that helps everyone involved,” said Bruggeman.
The deployment support specialists at the Family Team Building can also visit specific locations for specific units to conduct whichever session they may request.
For more information regarding the Beyond the Brief program or for questions about family support during deployments, please call 451-0176. For childcare services available on site, please contact Brewster Child Development Center at 451-2672.