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ASU psychology program gives Arizona National Guard leaders tools to improve family wellness

Woman seen from behind speaking to a classroom full of people.

This spring, officers and military and family support personnel with service experience from the Arizona National Guard were trained on the methodology of the ADAPT program. Photo by Robert Ewing/ASU

June 28, 2022

The motto of the U.S. National Guard is “Always ready, always there.” At Arizona State University, the ADAPT program is helping extend that motto to apply to family life at home for the more than 5,000 active members of the Arizona National Guard.

The ADAPT program is an evidence-based parenting model created from research done by ASU Foundation Professor Abigail Gewirtz that gives parents tools to be their children’s best teachers, reduce stressors and improve family and individual wellness.

This spring, officers and military and family support personnel with service experience from the Arizona National Guard were trained on the methodology of the ADAPT program by ASU facilitators like Amy Majerle, a senior program manager in the Department of Psychology, in order to bring what they learned back to their units.

“Parenting is undoubtedly one of the most rewarding and challenging roles a person can have," Majerle said. "Adding military service and commitment to that role can often increase the stress one experiences as a parent, especially during separations. The leadership within the Arizona National Guard acknowledges this conundrum and is proactively addressing it by adopting ADAPT. We are thrilled to have begun this partnership that will help set military families up for success both at home and as they serve."

While the National Guard is restricted on the duration of deployments, service members can often be gone for periods of time longer than a year, with the official U.S. Army policy stating, “The current forces formation plans call for the typical National Guard unit to serve one year of active duty for every three years of service.” 

This extended service time can be challenging for families, and the return from deployment is especially difficult for service members and their children.

Related: Psychology program helps military families adapt to life back home

Majerle, who, along with her husband, served multiple deployments and can attest to some of the struggles families endure, helped to lead the hands-on, weeklong training, which included scripting, role-playing and problem-solving potential challenges that may arise. Key parenting skills learned and then taught to parents included: encouragement; emotion coaching and emotion regulation; limit setting; monitoring; problem-solving; and positive involvement.

At the conclusion of the training, the newly trained ADAPT facilitators serve as program lead in their respective units throughout the Valley. As a cohort, they will have regular coaching to problem solve and gain experience throughout the year. 

ADAPT staff will work alongside Arizona National Guard personnel to support and help meet the needs of service members and their families. This is a crucial component to the success of the program's implementation.

"The Arizona National Guard is proud to be offering Arizona’s service members and families world-class tools to improve life on the homefront. ADAPT leverages the best of our warriors’ skills to promote healthy home lives and improve connections between parents and children,” said Capt. Daniel Morehouse, director of the soldier and family support division of the Arizona National Guard.

If you’re interested in learning more or signing up for the ADAPT program as part of the AZNG, contact Captain Jonathon Gonzales

Additionally, learn how to get started with ADAPT as a family or as an organization.

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