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Upcoming Science Café to examine mental skills training for today's Warfighters

By Paul Bello, National Museum of Health and Medicine

SILVER SPRING, Md. – The National Museum of Health and Medicine (NMHM) continues its monthly series of Medical Museum Science Cafés with a discussion on the use of performance psychology for today's Warfighters. Entitled "Mental Skills for Energy Management," the presentation will be conducted by Dr. Tim Herzog, sport psychology education specialist with the Department of Defense's (DoD) Human Performance Resource Center (HPRC).

As Herzog will explain, mental skills are important, but they're only part of a performance psychology package. HPRC looks to improve performance by training skills to proactively address problems; help improve resiliency to avoid problems; enhance performance and reduce the stigma of getting help once problems are discovered.

"Sport psychology, or performance psychology as it's often called outside of sports, is a critical element of human performance optimization," Herzog said. "A major focus is on mental skills training based on sport science and clinical or counseling psychological techniques. These scientifically based methods can be applied to a Warfighter's performance, too."

In applying performance psychology to Warfighters, Herzog believes training can be customized to meet the needs of specific groups and focused on real-life applications. He said skills can be learned for optimal functioning both at work and at home.

"The Human Performance Resource Center (HPRC) currently in place serves as a hub for many organizations and is directly available to all men and women in uniform plus their families," Herzog said. "It supplies digestible, cutting edge information, including but not limited to sport/performance psychology and other aspects of human performance optimization."

NMHM's Medical Museum Science Cafés are a series of informal talks that connect the mission of the Department of Defense museum with the public. NMHM was founded as the Army Medical Museum in 1862 and moved to its new location in Silver Spring, Md. in 2012.

The upcoming discussion on mental skills training will be held Tuesday, November 18 from 6 -7 p.m. at the Silver Spring Civic Building – Fenton Room.