Understanding Confidential Non-Medical Counseling for Service Members and Their Families

Confidential non-medical counseling is available to service members and military family members at no cost through Military OneSource and the Military and Family Life Counselor Program. Non-medical counseling providers protect their clients' privacy in accordance with federal, state and military regulations. Counselors understand that for counseling to be effective, it has to be built on trust and the client must feel safe discussing sensitive issues.

When you seek non-medical counseling, you can expect that all aspects of the counseling process, including scheduling your appointment and what you say during a counseling session, will be kept private except as noted in "Limits of confidentiality" below. You can receive non-medical counseling without anyone's knowledge, including the chain of command, your spouse or partner or your parents if you have reached age 18. You may decide that it's a good idea to tell certain people about your counseling, but if you want your counselor to provide information to a third party, you'll first be asked to give your permission by signing a release form.

Limits of confidentiality

Before non-medical counseling begins, your counselor will likely explain confidentiality, including its limits. Federal, state and military regulations allow your counselor to release information without your signed authorization if there is cause to believe that:

  • You are a danger to yourself or another person
  • You have been involved in domestic violence
  • A child has been or may be abused or neglected
  • An elderly or disabled person has been abused, neglected or subjected to financial exploitation

These exceptions are necessary to protect clients and others from harm. However, disclosures are made only to those with a need to know.

Your decision to seek confidential non-medical counseling

Non-medical counseling is an effective and well-established strategy for finding solutions to common emotional and interpersonal difficulties that may affect work and family life. It can help with issues such as adjustment after a deployment, marital conflicts, stress management, parenting challenges and coping with a loss. The decision to see a counselor is not always easy. Yet for many people, it is an important first step in preventing problems from developing into more serious mental health issues. Contact Military OneSource at 800-342-9647 to connect to a licensed counselor online, over the phone or face-to-face. You may also access face-to-face confidential non-medical counseling services with a licensed counselor through the Military and Family Life Counseling Program. To locate a Military and Family Life Counselor please contact your family center, the Child and Youth Program, the school principal or your commander.



Find programs and services at your local installation.

View a directory of installations

Service members, family members, surviving family members, service providers and leaders rely on Military OneSource for policy, procedures, timely articles, cutting-edge social media tools and support. All in one place, empowering our military community.