Community Counseling Center helps service members

4 Nov 2011 | Pfc. Jackeline Perez Rivera

There is an idea that exists within the military culture of the flawless service member or the flawless military family, a group of people who can handle the variety of issues that arise within the military lifestyle without difficulty or complaint.

However, reality is very different for the men and women in uniform than the picture painted by advertisements and fiction movies.

In reality, from the very top to the very bottom of the chain of command, service members face a variety of issues, from mundane problems to problems to those that are specific to the military lifestyle.

To counter these issues, service members have a variety of resources available to help from the Community Counseling Center.

The CCC offers individual, marital, family and group counseling. The sessions are held by licensed therapists that hold at least a graduate level in education.

"I think our clinicians are really great at listening," said Pam Alberti, the head of the CCC. "I think that's a really great thing because really the solution to most things don't lie outside of ourselves, they lie inside.

"The person already comes knowing the answer to what's going on, but sometimes they may be in the moment or so clouded or so frustrated or so hurt that they can't figure it out," she added. "And that's where it's really good for that person who's really neutral, who has no vested interest in the situation be able to help, and to be that sounding board. It really helps them to figure them out for themselves in many respects."

Some problems are based on youth. Seventy percent of the Marine Corps is made up of Marines under the age of 25. The prefrontal cortex, a region of the brain that dictates the ability to focus, control impulse and other important aspects needed for adult life, has yet to fully develop until one reaches that age, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Throughout these years, they are also developing the groundwork for their lives.

"It takes a lot for anyone to come to a place and become emotionally naked with a person, to unload your baggage, show all of your warts, bumps and bruises, and get real about the shape your life is in and to try to, with the help of another person, figure out for yourself where you'd like your life to go," Alberti said.

People may be hesitant to receive counseling due to the stigma associated with it and a concern for their privacy. But the CCC offers the same privacy and confidentiality one can expect in a civilian setting. With the exception of circumstances where there is a risk of abuse, or self harm, no information will be released.

For more information, call 451-2864 and schedule an appointment, or walk in to the CCC at building 798, behind building 40 on Brewster Boulevard. They are open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and are closed on weekends and holidays.