Confidential Non-medical Counseling Options for Service Members and Their Families

Military life is full of exciting and challenging times. Take advantage of free confidential non-medical counseling to help you cope through the challenging times in healthy ways.

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 free 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.

We all need help sometimes, and the military wants to give you that support. Confidential non-medical counseling is available to help prevent the development or worsening of conditions that may compromise military and family readiness. This free, personalized support is available for everyday military and family life challenges.

ELIGIBILITY: Non-medical counseling programs provide free, confidential, short-term counseling to active-duty, National Guard and reserve service members (regardless of their activation status), Department of Defense civilian personnel, their family members and survivors.

CONFIDENTIAL HELP FOR CHILDREN AND YOUTH: Military OneSource offers confidential help for children and youth, too. Kids from ages 6 through 17 are eligible for face-to-face counseling with a parent (13- through  17-year-olds just have to have their parent in the first session). Counselors can help children with issues that include family relationships, school, adjustment to deployment or separation, and grief and loss. Counseling services are not available for very young children.

QUALIFIED COUNSELORS: Counselors are experts 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.

ISSUES ADDRESSED: 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.

ISSUES NOT ADDRESSED: Counseling services don’t address active suicidal or homicidal thoughts, sexual assault, child abuse, domestic violence, alcohol and substance abuse, and mental health conditions that require recurring in-patient hospitalizations. What’s more, counseling isn’t suitable for individuals prescribed psychoactive  medication, receiving therapy with another practitioner, Family Advocacy Program cases, fitness-for-duty evaluations or court-ordered counseling.

CONFIDENTIALITY: Don’t be afraid that seeking counseling will negatively affect your career or your spouse’s career. Non-medical counselors can be trusted to keep your information private. However, they’re required to report situations where you could 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. A family member or a legal guardian of a service member’s dependents can use non-medical counseling sessions without the service member’s knowledge. The service member or other eligible family members would still be able to use their own 12 sessions.

You can seek non-medical counseling assistance through both Military OneSource and Military and Family Life Counseling programs. There are four different ways to speak with a non-medical counselor: face to face, over the telephone, online and through video chat. Please keep in mind that only the face-to-face counseling option is available through the Military and Family Life Counseling program.

FACE-TO-FACE NON-MEDICAL COUNSELING: Military OneSource offers face-to-face non-medical counseling in a variety of settings depending on your needs or preferences, counselor availability or other factors. You may attend traditional 50-minute counseling sessions in an office setting with a counselor located in the local community, or with military and family life counselors on assignments up to 180 days on an installation.

NON-MEDICAL COUNSELING OVER THE TELEPHONE, ONLINE AND THROUGH VIDEO: Counseling sessions are also available telephonically, through secure online chat or via video through Military OneSource. Service members and their families can request counseling services — any time of the day or night, any day of the year, including holidays — from anywhere in the world by calling Military OneSource at 800-342-9647 (for international phone numbers). Feeling overwhelmed? Help is as close by as your phone or keyboard through Military OneSource. You’ll always get a real person, not a computer or a long phone menu. So schedule your counseling session today by calling 800-342-9647 or logging in to Military OneSource.

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