Sooner or later, we all face challenges. Deployments, frequent moves and other stressors of military life can make things even more complicated for service members and their families. When you or someone in your family is struggling to cope, help is just a phone call or a few keystrokes away. The Department of Defense makes confidential non-medical counseling available for a wide range of issues from communication and parenting skills to anger management and relationship problems. This overview of available counseling services will help you better understand the kinds of issues that confidential non-medical counseling can help resolve and how you can get the help you need, when you need it.
What is confidential non-medical counseling?
Confidential non-medical counseling is intended to prevent the development or exacerbation of conditions that may compromise military and family readiness. Non-medical counseling programs provide confidential, short-term counseling to active-duty members, National Guard and reserve service members (regardless of their activation status) and their families. Department of Defense civilian personnel designated as civilian expeditionary workforce members and their families are also eligible. Counseling is delivered by professionals who possess a master's or doctorate degree in a mental health field, and are licensed or certified in a state, territory or the District of Columbia to practice independently. Confidential non-medical counseling addresses issues such as improving relationships at home and work, stress management, adjustment difficulties (like returning from a deployment), marital problems, parenting and grief or loss.
Confidential non-medical counseling is available through both Military OneSource and the Military and Family Life Counselor program. Each person seeking counseling may receive up to 12 sessions per issue at no cost.
Confidential non-medical counseling is not intended to address such issues as active suicidal or homicidal thoughts, sexual assault, child abuse, domestic violence, alcohol and substance abuse or mental health conditions that have required recurring in-patient hospitalizations. Non-medical counseling is also not suitable for those who have been prescribed psychoactive medication, who are currently receiving therapy with another practitioner or for Family Advocacy Program cases, fitness-for-duty evaluations and court-ordered counseling.
Although discussions between you and your counselor are strictly confidential, counselors are required to report situations in which you may be a danger to yourself or to others or that involve domestic or other violence against another person, child abuse or neglect and any present or future illegal activity.
Face-to-face non-medical counseling
Face-to-face non-medical counseling may be provided in a variety of settings depending on the needs or preferences of the person seeking assistance, counselor availability or other factors. An individual seeking counseling may attend traditional 50-minute counseling sessions in an office setting with a counselor located in the local community, or sessions may be provided with counselors on assignments up to 180 days on an installation.
Non-medical counseling over the telephone and online
Counseling sessions are also available telephonically or online. Service members and their families can access counseling services from anywhere in the world by calling Military OneSource at 800-342-9647 (see the Military OneSource website for international phone numbers) or by visiting the Military OneSource website. Military OneSource is accessible by phone or online any time of the day or night, any day of the year, including holidays.