After years of service in the ADF, transitioning from full-time military to civilian life can present unique challenges for even the most accomplished veteran. Many Open Arms counsellors have a military background, and have also been trained to work with veterans, so they can help you make a successful transition into 'the real world'.

Some challenges faced during the transition to civilian life may be:

  • Finding a new job outside defence
  • Integrating into a new community
  • Navigating a different medical system
  • Finding appropriate housing
  • Enrolling kids in a new school
  • Establishing a different family dynamic.

Stepping Out is Open Arms' most popular program for personnel transitioning back into civilian life.

Stepping Out will give you information and skills to manage your transition to civilian life. You will learn about:

  • The experience of change as part of life
  • The transition from the ADF to civilian life
  • Skills for planning ahead
  • Skills for staying motivated and adaptable
  • Expectations, attitudes and troubleshooting
  • Maintaining relationships and seeking support.

The transition never really stops. Whether it’s 3 months, 1 year or 5 years after leaving the forces, we can help.

Call us: To learn more about managing the transition to civilian life, including information about the Stepping Out program, call 1800 011 046.


Stepping Out: Attention Reset trial (SOAR)

To augment the Stepping Out program, Open Arms will soon commence a trial of an innovative attention control training program – the Stepping Out Attention Reset (SOAR trial). The trial will include ADF personnel due to transition to civilian life.

SOAR uses computer-based attention control training. It's designed to re-calibrate an individual’s attention and threat detection system.

Open Arms is working with Phoenix Australia and Tel Aviv University to conduct a randomised control trial to evaluate the efficacy of attention control training to prevent and reduce existing anxiety, and traumatic stress symptoms in this high-risk cohort.

SOAR is based on more than a decade of research conducted by Tel Aviv University with the Israeli Defence Forces showing that the mental health of military personnel can be significantly enhanced by attention training.

If proven effective, the training program will offer a simple, affordable, accessible and preventative intervention for transitioning personnel.

Become involved

If you are a current full-time ADF member who is transitioning from service in the next 12 months, you can participate. Talk to your transition coach or contact the trial team directly.

Phone 1800 945 089 or email for further information.