The Department of Defense makes confidential non-medical counseling available free to service members and their families to help them work on issues such as adjustments, marital problems, parenting, stress management, or grief and loss. Non-medical counseling programs provide confidential, short-term counseling to active-duty members, National Guard and reserve service members, their families and survivors. Telephonic non-medical counseling provides an option for those who are unable to attend in-person counseling sessions because they are overseas or due to other circumstances.
Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about non-medical counseling:
- What is confidential non-medical counseling? It's a short-term, solution-focused provision of up to 12 counseling sessions designed to help prevent or exacerbate any issues 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 non-medical counseling. All counselors have either a master's or a doctorate degree in a mental health field, and all are licensed or certified to practice independently.
- Are there any issues that confidential non-medical counseling does not address? Counseling services do not address issues involving active suicidal or homicidal thoughts, sexual assault, child abuse, domestic violence, alcohol and substance abuse, or mental health conditions, like depression and anxiety.
- Who is eligible for telephonic non-medical counseling? Active-duty, National Guard and reserve members of any activation status, their family members and survivors are all eligible for counseling services.
- Can counselors be trusted not to report to commanders? Counselors respect the privacy of those who use their services. They will not release information to commanders or anyone else without consent. The only exceptions to confidentiality protection are legal and military requirements to report child abuse, spouse abuse, elder abuse, sexual assault, threats of harm to self or others, and any present or future illegal activity.
- Can a family member use confidential telephonic non-medical counseling sessions without the service member's knowledge? Family members (18 or older) can use non-medical counseling services without their service member's knowledge. They are granted the same confidentiality protection and are subject to the same legal and military exceptions as their service member.
- What happens after the 12 sessions are completed? If you need further counseling or counseling for a different issue, a Military OneSource consultant will help you find a counselor. The consultant can also help you find and access other resources, including community services, installation services or TRICARE, if appropriate.
- Is telephonic non-medical counseling meant to replace in-person non-medical counseling? Telephonic counseling increases access to support options for those who are unable to attend in-person counseling sessions because they are overseas or due to other circumstances. But, it does not replace in-person non-medical counseling.
- How do I initiate confidential telephonic non-medical counseling? Contact Military OneSource at 800-342-9647 to determine if this type of counseling is appropriate for you and your current living situation.
- Can military children receive confidential telephonic non-medical counseling? Children cannot receive over-the-phone non-medical counseling services. However, Military OneSource does provide other forms of confidential help for them. Children over the age of 5 can receive in-person non-medical counseling for issues concerning family relationships, school challenges, separation adjustment, and grief and loss. Children from ages 6 to 12 can participate in family counseling where at least one parent attends each session. Teens from ages 13 to 17 are eligible for individual, face-to-face counseling through Military OneSource, but a parent must attend the first session.
Remember: Seeking confidential non-medical counseling will not affect your career or your status in the military. You deserve to get the support that you need.