Veterans' Concerns

All of the professionals at CPS are dedicated to fostering personal wellness and development among student veterans and military personnel. While many soldiers will make a successful return to civilian life, we recognize that student veterans face unique challenges when entering or returning to an academic setting.

Below you will find a list of CPS therapists who may be especially good matches for student veterans. Please note that if your situation is urgent and a particular counselor is not immediately available, it is generally not wise delaying in seeking assistance. It is best to initiate treatment with a counselor who is more immediately available; you are always welcome to transfer to a different counselor at a later date.

Consider making an appointment if you are experiencing one of these frequently reported concerns, among others:

  • Difficulty relating to traditional college students
  • Developing one’s identity as a scholar after living as a soldier
  • Relationship concerns
  • Struggling with feeling safe on campus (e.g. being easily startled or overly vigilant)
  • Negotiating the structural and procedural nuances of higher education
  • Trouble making decisions
  • Recurring, intrusive memories and/or dreams of combat
  • Diminished interest in previously enjoyed activities
  • Feeling emotionally distant and/or estranged from others
  • Problematic use of alcohol and/or other substances
  • Excessive guilt or anger
  • Questions about future directions

Drop-In Support

Some members of the Veteran's Concerns team offer drop-in counseling, providing an opportunity to talk with a clinican without an appointment. View our list of Drop-In locations and schedules for Dr. Pollock, Dr. Vitti, and Dr. Rush. Please note that hours and locations are subject to change, so always check the website before heading to an office. Sessions are first-come, first-served.

Team

Andrew Colitz, Psychologist

For the past two years at CPS, Andrew has helped returning veterans anticipate, prepare, and adjust to the demands of academic and social life at Columbia. Andrew has supported veterans, on both an individual and group level, in improving coping skills such as managing anxiety and depression, effective communication in relationships, dealing with anger and tolerating frustration as well time management and difficulty with procrastination.

David Hittson, Psychologist

David spent 3 years training at Veteran's Administration hospitals within New York City. While working at those hospitals he aided veterans with a variety of concerns including adjustment to civilian life, medical issues, relationship problems, depression, anxiety, and PTSD. As a clinician at CPS, David is committed to aiding veterans as they navigate their academic, social, and personal efforts within the Columbia Community.

Adam Johnson, Psy.D.

Adam Johnson is passionate about working with veterans and their families, Adam first began working with veterans during his doctoral internship and postdoctoral fellowship at VA Caribbean Healthcare System in San Juan, Puerto Rico. His clinical work focused on providing individual, couples, and group therapy addressing many concerns veterans face. Adam worked in several units while in the VA, including outpatient mental health, blind rehabilitation, hospice/palliative care, and primary care. Adam has focused on providing services to veterans facing trauma, combat, functional loss, rehabilitation, chronic health conditions, sexual and relationship concerns, and adjusting to civilian life. Adam has also provided services sensitive to the needs of veterans of color and the LGBTQ community.    

Yaniv Phillips, Psychologist

Dr. Phillips served in the Israeli army in young adulthood before immigrating to New York. He brings experience and sensitivity to his work with military veterans, who sometimes grapple with the transition to civilian life, especially with traumas related to military service, as well as with a sense of otherness and the challenge of bridging their experiences in the military with their current lives as students among other, non-veteran peers.

James A. Pollock IV, Psychologist

James first began working with veterans during his internship at the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center in Charleston, SC.  His clinical work primarily focused on substance use disorders, providing individual, couples, and group counseling services to a diverse population of predominantly OEF/OIF/OND and Desert Storm veterans.  In particular, James developed a strong interest in treating co-occurring trauma and substance use disorders among combat veterans.  James also completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Clinical Health Psychology and Addictions at VA Connecticut Healthcare System/Yale School of Medicine in West Haven, CT.  

Rush Williams, Psychologist

As the product of a “Navy family,” Rush is passionate about the issues faced by members of the armed services and their families. He spent two years as a member of the Military Sexual Trauma/PTSD research team at the VA North Texas Healthcare System, and still collaborates with this team on research projects related to the treatment of trauma and PTSD. He also completed his fellowship at the Washington DC VA Medical Center, where he worked with Veterans and their families on a variety of psychological issues. The brave men and women of our armed forces give so much to others, and Rush is committed to helping them receive the support they need to achieve their goals.

Susan Vitti, Psychologist

Much of Susan's career has been spent working with Veterans and their families. In her 10 year tenure in the VA system, she became intensely interested in the concept of moral injury as a central trauma of exposure to war and combat. She is very interested in the use of meditation practice and its by product, mindfulness and her work includes a focus on these avenues for cultivating a deeper relationship with one’s suffering and trauma experiences, and for developing coping skills in dealing with the emotional/psychological/behavioral consequences of trauma.

For the last 5 years, Susan has been a volunteer group facilitator at Omega Institute’s annual 5-Day Veteran’s retreat, hosted by a Vietnam Veteran who is also an ordained Zen Buddhist Monk.  She continues to cultivate a meditation practice and in her personal time works with a foundation focused on Peaceful and non-violent conflict resolution. She often incorporates these practices and ideas in her work as a clinical psychologist.

In addition to her VA experience, Susan also works with individuals who are interested in cultivating a healthier relationship with alcohol and other substances, which can include toxic relationships, high-risk behavior and anger.

Support Groups

When there is sufficient student interest, CPS also offers a Veterans’ Support Group. Please visit our Group Therapy page for more complete information about groups offered this semester.

 

 
 
Last updated August 25, 2017