20:46 GMT +324 September 2017
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    Psychologist Tatiana Yeryomenko giving a lesson to fresh recruits of the anti-aircraft brigade, Western Military District. File photo

    Russian Soldiers Complete Psychologist-Guided 'Team-Building'

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    Over 25,000 Russian conscripts in the Eastern Military District performed team-building exercises guided by psychologists.

    Russia's Eastern Military District completed "socio-psychological training" for servicemen, the district's spokesman Alexander Gordeyev said on Saturday.

    It is not clear if the military psychologists engaged troops the kind of exercises used by private companies, although the language used by Gordeyev appeared to suggest it. "Personal growth training" sessions such as those developed by Landmark Forum, have been criticized in the past for their questionable benefits although they have been sought out by corporations for team-building activities.

    "Non-standard forms of socio-psychological training, in part, the situational role game 'Conflict situation' psychological exercises 'Acquaintance,' 'Circle of Trust,' and 'Lifting the Body,' as the work of Eastern Military District psychologists showed, lead to greater cohesion and the more effective formation of military teams, preventing and overcoming military [adverse] situations and [leading to] correct individual and group decisions," Gordeyev said.

    Although exercises with similar names are used by "personal growth" companies, they are also known to be used by psychologists outside of strictly-guided seminars led by private firms. Gordeyev did not elaborate on whether private companies were contracted for the exercises.

    The Russian military has enlisted psychologists since 1994, although their numbers are relatively modest compared to the number of military psychologists in the US military. Psychologists in the Russian military were previously mainly tasked with mental health evaluations of prospective enlistees and officers, as well as tasked with preventing suicides. This appears to be the first large-scale activity outside the scope of mental health and aimed toward group cohesion.

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    psychology, training, Eastern Military District, Russian Armed Forces, Russia
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