Role of counselling in reducing operational stress in soldiers in Kabwe, Zambia.

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Chiimbwe, Cosmas
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The University of Zambia
This study examined the causes of operational stress in soldiers, adverse effects, and assessed the role of counselling in reducing operational stress in soldiers in Kabwe. Zambia. Stress and stressors are an inherent part of warfare because of the violence, the physical conditions, and duration of operations. Stress represents “the mobilization” of the body and mind to counteract stressors. The causes of stress will always be there as long as soldiers are deployed in an environment which is a breeding ground, for example during operations in battle front and prolonged operation and other factors. Early identification of stressors and adverse effects can minimize the negative effects of combat and operational stress (COS). Adverse refers to physical, mental, and emotional manifestations; loss of personnel due to combat ineffectiveness. The study therefore, was aimed at finding ways of reducing stress. With the following objectives: to determine the causes; determine the adverse effect of operational stress and assess the role of counselling in reducing operational stress in soldiers at Chindwin and Kohima barracks, the study revealed that counseling is one of the measures which can minimize the high levels of operational stress in soldiers deployed and after, if incorporated in the training programmes by utilizing the services of the professional chaplains and medical personnel. A descriptive survey was used in conducting the research. Collection of data was done by interviewing a sample population of 50 participants and by use of questionnaires. Qualitative method was employed to collect data. Qualitative research emphasizes understanding of verbal narratives. The method was used because participants were met at once hence it saved on time. The participants asserted that counseling can play a vital role through the services of military chaplain counselors and mental health professionals in Operational Stress control for prevention, identification, counseling therapy and treatment. Through questionnaires and interviews it was established that those who were counseled received help than those who did not. In this case pro counseling must be extended even when the soldiers are out of stressful field in order to prevent unusual behavior such as extremely drug/alcohol abuse, indulge in sexuality, malingering, absenteeism without official leave, marital problems, financial indiscipline just to mention a few.
Operational stress in soldiers.