contributed by Melissa Lucas, senior staff writer
The Military and Family Life Counselling (MLFC) Program provides short-term, non-medical counseling services at no cost to service men and women and their families. Military and Family Life Counselors are psychologists and therapists specially trained to work with the military community. As such, they have a clear understanding of the day-to-day struggles faced by this unique population. MLFC counselors can provide group, couples, and one-on-one counseling both on and off the installation.
Additionally, the program provides education to help military families understand the impact of living a military lifestyle. In the event that medical intervention is required, counselors can also help navigate the military healthcare program and provide resources to assist in the process.
The work done by our service men and women, and their families, is vital to the safety and security of our Nation. It’s no secret that military life is quite different than civilian life, and that it comes with a unique set of mental, emotional, and social challenges. The goal of this military family counseling program is to prevent or mitigate the development of mental health conditions that could impact military and family readiness.
Deployments, PCS moves, service-related illness and injury, reintegrating after deployment, loss of a loved one, and so much more can have an impact on service members and their families. Over time, these issues have the ability to interfere with work and personal routines of the entire family. Which is why it’s so important that military families are provided with opportunities to discuss and manage potential concerns as they arise.
MFLC counselors are available for group, couples, and one-on-one counseling for both adults and children. Confidentiality is an important part of the program, so counselors can be trusted to keep information private. Up to twelve sessions (per person, per issue) are available to adults and children, alike.
These counselors are available to meet with military children and their families to address concerns that may impact their well-being. Counselors are trained to handle a variety of mental health issues involving self-esteem, behavior, relationships at home or school, and grief.
In addition to traditional counseling, support is available in other ways, such as developing classroom intervention plans, modeling behavior, and providing feedback to parents and educational staff.
In addition to traditional counseling, MFLC counselors are trained to provide assistance developing and improving upon skills such as communication, anger management, parenting, and conflict resolution. Counselors are also well-versed on concerns specific to the military lifestyle: dealing with deployments, homesickness, adjusting to new environments, and much more.
The military counseling program includes briefings or presentations on some of the most common concerns affecting military families. Presentations are available on the following topics.
Counselors who provide these briefings are found at installation Military and Family Support Centers. If an installation isn’t nearby, events can be requested by visiting the support request page at Military OneSource.
The MFLC requirements are minimal. Services are available to all active-duty service members, National Guard and reserve service members, designated DoD expeditionary civilians, and the families and survivors of each of these populations.
To access this program, contact Military OneSource or your installation’s Military and Family Support Center. Child and Youth Behavioral Counselors can be accessed by contacting installation-based youth or teen centers, installation-based public schools, or the unit training point of contact.