What is the difference between military counseling and civilian counseling?

By Kendra Penski on January 22, 2018 in Blog

<< Back to Blog home

The health of our military is critical for maintaining it as the best in the world.  When we refer to the well-being of our military personnel, mental health professionals play a very important role in this.  There are special military counselors, trained to provide a wide range of mental health services for all our branches of the U.S. Armed Forces.

The reason why a member of the military might pursue treatment could be for a number of reasons.  Many times, these reasons are similar to why non-military personnel seek treatment.  These can include anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and more.  However, the difference can be how these conditions arose or that they were placed on them within the military culture.  There are counselors that work overseas, on bases, as well as right here at home – in hospitals or private clinics.  These counselors know and understand the military culture and the immense pressure that is associated with it.

A military counselor is trained to look for signs of emotional distress.  There are many physical manifestations of stress, which are included but not limited to rapid heartbeat, headaches, sleep disorders, IBS, stomach disorders, muscle aches and more.  Stress affects the body in many ways.  A trained military counselor will teach effective strategies to cope with the stress and counter the physical effects.  This can include relaxation techniques, time management planning, physical exercise, meditation techniques and more.  All of these could be recommended or discussed during therapy.

Individual counseling for service members could help pinpoint an event that created the stress or ongoing problem.  Therapists can help reveal any attitudes or behaviors that contribute to negative mental health – and will go on to lead the client into more healthy, positive responses to it.

Unfortunately, there can be a negative stigma associated with military counseling.  It can be wrongly seen as a weakness; however, it is the exact opposite.  Counseling is a sign of strength and courage.  Reaching out to someone for help is not easy.  You are not alone in this, getting the support and counseling you need as outlined in this article will make you healthier and stronger.