Military and Family Life Counseling – The Essentials

Counselor speaking with group

The Military and Family Life Counseling Program supports service members, their families and survivors with non-medical counseling worldwide. Trained to work with the military community, military and family life counselors deliver valuable face-to-face counseling services, briefings and presentations to the military community both on and off the installation.

Here are the essentials:

Issues addressed

Confidential non-medical counseling addresses issues such as improving relationships at home and work, stress management, adjustment difficulties, parenting, and grief or loss. It does not address active suicidal or homicidal thoughts, sexual assault, child abuse, domestic violence, alcohol and substance abuse, or serious mental health conditions.

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Confidentiality

Non-medical counselors can be trusted to keep your information private. However, they are required to report situations where you could be a danger to yourself or to others, situations involving domestic violence or violence against another person, child abuse or neglect, and any present or future illegal activity.

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Child and youth behavioral counselors

Child and youth behavioral military and family life counselors are available to meet with military children and their families to discuss self-esteem issues, relationships at home and school, behavioral issues, and changes at home such as deployment, reunion, divorce and grief. Child and youth behavioral counselors also support camps that create a safe and fun environment where children and teens can learn how to put their military-life strengths to use in their everyday lives.

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Eligibility

Military and family life counseling services are available to active-duty service members and their family members, National Guard and reserve service members (regardless of activation status) and their family members, designated Department of Defense expeditionary civilians and their family members, and survivors.

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Briefings and presentations

Adult military and family life counselors offer briefings and presentations for service members and their families in addition to in-person, confidential non-medical counseling. Explore the wide range of topics available through the Military and Family Life Counseling Program, such as anger management, assertiveness training, deployment survival, grief and loss, building healthy marriages, reintegration, and stress management.

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How to access support

To access military and family life counselors, contact Military OneSource at 800-342-9647, or if you’re overseas or OCONUS, click here for calling instructions. You may also contact your installation’s Military and Family Support Center. To access a child and youth behavioral military and family life counselor, you may contact a child development center, installation-based youth or teen center, an installation public school, your child’s military youth summer camp, or the commander or unit training point of contact.

The Military and Family Life Counseling Program

Counselor speaking to group

Need support for issues like preparing for a move or nurturing a relationship with a deployed spouse? The Military and Family Life Counseling Program assists service members, their families and survivors with flexible non-medical counseling when and where needed. Military and family life counselors are highly-qualified professionals trained to understand the unique challenges you encounter and deliver face-to-face counseling services, as well as briefings and presentations to the military community both on and off the installation.

What is the Military and Family Life Counseling Program?

The Military and Family Life Counseling Program offers free short-term, non-medical counseling to:

  • Active-duty service members
  • National Guard members
  • Reserve members (regardless of activation status)
  • Department of Defense expeditionary civilians
  • Immediate family members or surviving family members of any of the above

One-on-one, couple, or group – counselors help you manage issues like:

  • Deployment adjustments
  • Stress management
  • Moving preparations and getting settled
  • Relationship building
  • A problem at work
  • The grieving process following the death of a loved one or colleague

If you’re facing something that a counselor can’t address, you will receive a referral for medical counseling services in your community through a military treatment facility or TRICARE. In general, military and family life counselors do not address:

  • Abuse cases
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Other mental health issues that may require long-term attention or medication

If you are in immediate crisis, call the Military Crisis Line at 800-273-8255, and press 1, chat online, or send a text message to 838255.

Contact Military OneSource 24/7.

You can get personalized help 365 days a year by telephone and online.

Overseas? See OCONUS calling options.

Prefer to live chat? Start now.

Confidentiality

You don’t have to worry that seeking help will impact your service member’s career. Services offered through the Military and Family Life Counseling Program are confidential, not reported to the command, and do not impact a service member’s security clearance.

Exceptions to privacy include duty to warn, suspected family maltreatment (domestic violence, child abuse or neglect), harm to self or others, and illegal activity.

How to reach a military and family life counselor

When you are ready to focus on your emotional health, reach out for support. Contact your installation’s Military and Family Support Center.

You can also find support for the youngest member of your military family. Contact a child and youth behavioral military and family life counselor through:

  • A child development center
  • Installation-based youth and teen centers
  • On- and off-installation public schools
  •  A youth summer camp sponsored by your military Service
  • The commander or unit training point of contact

Nearly all of those surveyed about the Military and Family Life Counseling Program would use counseling services again and would refer the program to a friend. Make an appointment with a military life counselor to improve your skills to manage military and family life.

Child and Youth Behavioral Military and Family Life Counselors

MFLC Group Discussion

Child and youth behavioral military and family life counselors provide support to military children for a variety of issues, including low self-esteem, behavioral problems and changes at home. These counselors, who are part of the Military and Family Life Counseling Program, understand the issues military children face and can be especially helpful during challenging periods, including deployments and PCS moves.

Counselors are licensed with a master’s degree or higher, and have a positive effect on:

  • General behavior
  • Performance in school
  • Relationships with family members and teachers

Topics covered

The licensed counselors in the MFLC Program address:

  • Self-esteem issues
  • Communication and relationships at home and school
  • Life skills, such as problem solving and adjustment
  • Behavioral issues, including bullying and anger management
  • Changes at home, such as deployment, reunion, divorce and grief

Conversations in these sessions stay between your child and his or her counselor. The only exceptions to this rule are cases of domestic violence, abuse, and suicidal or homicidal threats. If your child is in immediate crisis, call the Military Crisis Line at 800-273-8255, and press 1, chat online, or send a text message to 838255.

Contact Military OneSource 24/7.

You can get personalized help 365 days a year by telephone and online.

Overseas? See OCONUS calling options.

Prefer to live chat? Start now.

Eligibility

As long as you or your spouse are an active-duty, National Guard or reserve service member or a designated Department of Defense civilian, your child is eligible. Surviving children are also eligible. If your child is 18 years old or younger, you must give consent for counseling sessions.

Get in touch

Ask if there are child and youth behavioral counselors at these locations near you:

Let your child build resilience and life skills with a trusted individual who understands. Schedule a one-on-one session with a child and youth behavioral military and family life counselor before your next deployment or PCS.

Military and Family Life Counseling Program’s Child and Youth Camps

Kids at camp high fiving service member

Children and teens learn flexibility, adaptability and resiliency through their life in a military family, but they may not understand how to apply those strengths to their current life situation. Child and youth camps create a safe and fun environment where children and teens can go to learn how to put their military-life strengths to use in their everyday lives.

Trained child and youth behavioral military and family life counselors and personal financial counselors are available to support child and youth camps. Military and family life counselors can do the following:

  • Help children and teens process their feelings
  • Engage in activities and field trips with children and youth
  • Model techniques for behavior management including feedback for staff
  • Provide additional resource support for child and youth programs staff
  • Conduct a training session called Age-Appropriate Practices – Challenging Behaviors
  • Deliver approved briefings, training and presentations for staff and parents
  • Assist specific families with parenting and child behavior issues.

Strength in numbers

Showing military children and teens they are not alone is empowering. Child and youth camps are a great way for military children to draw strength from shared experiences while building family readiness, which leads to mission readiness for service members. Camp themes cover everything from adventure to deployment and even bereavement.

Available camps include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • National Military Family Association Operation Purple Camps
  • National Guard and reserve camps
  • Operation: Military Kids camps

Request support Commanders and service leaders can request that child and youth behavioral military and family life counselors or personal financial counselors provide counseling support at a child and youth camp. Simply visit the Resource Request System and submit a child and youth camp request.

The program office accepts camp requests for counseling support year-round, and each camp requires a separate request submission. To request a counselor for a camp, please do the following:

  • Submit camp counselor requests at least 15 business days prior to the camp start date to provide sufficient time for the vendors to staff counselor assignments.
  • Do not specify the number of counselors on the request as the program office will determine the appropriate number for the camp. (The typical ratio is one counselor to 100 children.)
  • Indicate the number of hours the counselor will work each day so the program office may approve the appropriate number of resources. (Counselors work a 40-hour, flexible workweek.)
  • Submit a separate camp counselor request for personal financial counselors. They may support short-term camps for one day.

Enhance your service member’s mission readiness by supporting their family. Submit a request for child and youth behavioral military and family life counselor or personal financial counselor support for your installation’s youth camp today.