Frequently Asked Questions on Confidential Online Non-medical Counseling

Q. What is confidential non-medical counseling?
A. Confidential non-medical counseling is short-term (up to 12 sessions) and solution-focused. It is intended to prevent the development or exacerbation of lifestyle 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, and their families. Confidential non-medical counseling addresses issues such as improving relationships at home and work, stress management, readjustment following a deployment, marital problems, parenting, grief and loss.

Confidential non-medical counseling is available through both Military OneSource and the Military and Family Life Counselor program.

Q. Who provides confidential non-medical counseling?
A. Counselors 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.

Q. What is not addressed through confidential non-medical counseling?
A. 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 such as depression and anxiety. Non-medical counseling is also not suitable for those who have been prescribed psychoactive medication or who are currently receiving therapy with another practitioner. Nor is it appropriate for Family Advocacy Program cases, fitness-for-duty evaluations or court-ordered counseling.

Q: Who is eligible for online non-medical counseling?
A: Confidential online non-medical counseling sessions are available at no cost to active-duty, National Guard and reserve members (regardless of activation status) and their families. You must have a computer and Internet access to use this service.

Q: Can counselors be trusted not to report to commanders?
A: Military OneSource stands by its commitment to safeguard the privacy of users of counseling services. Information is not released to commanders or anyone else without the user's consent. 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.

Q: Can a family member use confidential online non-medical counseling sessions without the service member's knowledge? If so, does the limit of 12 sessions apply to the whole family or just to the individual using them?
A: 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.

Q: What happens after the twelve sessions are completed?
A: If you need a counselor for a different issue, you must speak with a Military OneSource consultant to receive authorization for that issue, and the consultant will help you find a different counselor. The consultant can also help you find and access other resources, including community services, installation services, or TRICARE, if appropriate.

Q: How is online non-medical counseling kept confidential when using the Internet to communicate?
A: Keeping online conversations private is the responsibility of both parties. Military OneSource uses the most up-to-date technology to securely transfer information over the Internet, but the confidentiality of your online conversations cannot be guaranteed, nor can the privacy of your location. Location privacy and keeping your email and passwords secure are your responsibility.

Q: What does online non-medical counseling look like?
A: Online non-medical counseling takes place using instant messaging, with the consultant and participant communicating in real time.

Q: How long is each online session, and when do the sessions take place?
A: Each online session varies in length. Sessions are available between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. EDT, Monday through Friday.

Q: Who provides the online non-medical counseling?
A: Online non-medical counseling is provided by a mental health professional who has earned a master's or doctorate degree in psychology, counseling, social work or marriage and family counseling and has a license to practice independently.

Q: How do I initiate confidential online counseling services?
A: You can arrange for online counseling by calling Military OneSource at 800-342-9647 or by logging in. If you do not have a Military OneSource account, you can check your eligibility or register online. You will be asked to describe the issues you are having (self-esteem issues, grief and loss, anger management, work-related issues, relationship concerns, etc.). Next, you will be asked to complete a brief questionnaire, filling in information such as your name, contact information, service history and anything else you want to express about the nature of your concerns to ensure your counselor has as much information as possible to help you. From there, you can set up a schedule with a counselor that works for you.



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