The Department of Defense makes confidential, non-medical counseling available to service members and their families to work on issues such as adjustments, marital problems, parenting, stress management, and grief and loss. Non-medical counseling programs provide confidential, short-term counseling to active duty service members, National Guard and reserve members, their families and survivors. You can receive confidential, non-medical counseling through several formats, including online using real-time instant messaging with a consultant.
Here are the answers to some commonly asked questions about confidential, online non-medical counseling:
- What is confidential, non-medical counseling? This short-term (up to 12 sessions) and solution-focused approach is intended to prevent the development or worsening of lifestyle conditions that may compromise military and family readiness.
- Who provides confidential, non-medical counseling? Both Military OneSource and the Military and Family Life Counseling program provide confidential, non-medical counseling.
- What isn't addressed through confidential, non-medical counseling? Issues that aren't addressed include active suicidal or homicidal thoughts, sexual assault, child abuse, domestic violence, alcohol and substance abuse, or mental health conditions (such as depression and anxiety).
- Who is eligible for online non-medical counseling? Online sessions are available free of charge to active-duty service members, National Guard and reserve members (regardless of activation status), their families and survivors.
- Can counselors be trusted not to report to commanders? Yes. The only exceptions to confidentiality are legal and military requirements to report child abuse, spouse abuse, elder abuse, threats of harm to self or others, and any present or future illegal activity.
- Can a family member use confidential, online non-medical counseling sessions without the service member's knowledge? Yes, family members are awarded the same confidentiality and have the same option of receiving 12 sessions.
- What happens if you need more support after the 12 sessions are completed? A Military OneSource consultant can help you find and access other resources, including community services, installation services, or TRICARE, if appropriate.
- Can children receive online counseling? Although online non-medical counseling isn't available for children, Military OneSource has some support options. Children over age 5 can receive help with issues such as family relationships, school problems, adjustment to deployment or separation, and grief and loss. Military children from ages 6 to 12 may be seen in a family counseling context with at least one parent attending each session. Youths from ages 13 through 17 are eligible for individual, face-to-face counseling through Military OneSource, but a parent must attend the first session.
- How is online non-medical counseling kept confidential when using the Internet to communicate? Military OneSource uses the most up-to-date technology to securely transfer information over the Internet, but the confidentiality of your online conversations or the privacy of your location can't be guaranteed. You're responsible for keeping your location private and your email and passwords secure.
- How does online non-medical counseling work? You and the consultant have a real-time conversation using instant messaging.
- How long is each online session, and when do the sessions take place? The length varies based on the discussion. Sessions are available between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday.
- Who provides online non-medical counseling? Counselors are mental health professionals with a master's or doctoral degree (in psychology, counseling, social work or marriage and family counseling) and a license to practice independently in the state/territory where services are received.
- How do I initiate confidential, online counseling services? Call Military OneSource at 800-342-9647 to arrange your online counseling session, or log in to your Military OneSource account.
Extra support might be just a few clicks away. Confidential, online non-medical counseling makes it possible to get the help you need, even if you can't attend counseling sessions in person.