Date of Award

Spring 4-28-2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


College of Education

Primary Advisor

Dr. Emile Hawkins

Second Advisor

Dr. James Anderson

Third Advisor

Dr. J.E. Caterson


The Special Operations Forces have experienced a surge in PTSD and suicides in the past several years, now surpassing conventional military branches. Due to the attached stigma for seeking help from mental health professions and potential negative career effects, military personnel are more likely to seek counseling from their unit chaplain. The U.S. military does not require chaplains to have a counseling degree or certification in counseling as a prerequisite to performing duties as a chaplain, although most Masters of Divinity programs do include some counseling courses. The military does provide limited training to its chaplains in counseling. Special Operations Forces provide a unique military service and function. Prior to the Chaplain Certificate Program at Joint Special Operations University, SOF Chaplain specific training was not offered to SOF Chaplains. This study examined the institutional effectiveness of the Crisis Care and Counseling Course within the program. An anonymous electronic survey was distributed to participating chaplains, 100% of the program chaplains participated. The results were analyzed using Chi Square Goodness for Fit. The results indicate chaplains have been able to increase their skills and implement the skills in their units six months after program completion, particularly in the areas of suicide prevention and suicide postvention.