MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- In the old days of the military, a chaplain may be the only open ear available to help service members and their families through any problems, but today, there are many options existing for those in need.
Military and Family Life Consultants can help members of the military community with any number of issues. Highly qualified clinical counselors with at least a master’s degree or a doctorate, help provide quick, flexible non-medical counseling to service members having problems with general life issues or issues relating to the military lifestyle.
“They can help a Marine who’s looking for someone to talk to after he got upset with someone in his command and blew up at him, so he can understand why he did it,” said Daphne Knight, a clinical supervisor at the community counseling center. “They may get a call from a couple who had a disagreement and need a third party to talk to. They can help a parents understand how to deal with a teenage child who’s said or done something to upset them.”
The consultants can meet a client anywhere except their home or their personal vehicles. They use their versatility and mobility to reach any aspect of the community. Sessions can be held at fast-food restaurants, a park or in a quiet room at a library. The consultants can generally see somebody within 24 to 48 hours, and can help a participant in one session or multiple times.
“They are out in the field, in a way, and they go out to where a person needs them,” said Jennifer Prince, the manager of the community counseling center aboard the base.
Military and Family Life Consultants can speak to any member of the military community and can even help military children through predicaments. Consultants do not maintain any records of the sessions.
“It makes it very attractive to a lot of people,” said Prince “They like the fact there are no records being kept.”
However there are limits to their confidentiality. Before any session a consultant discusses what they are mandated to report. Despite any mandatory reporting, they can link patients to other services to can help them with issues.
The consultants are not local; they rotate through the base for a few weeks, before going to another installation. Many are veterans themselves, or seasoned clinicians taking a break from their practices to help the military community.
“(Consultants) love what they do,” said Prince. “There’s always somebody available to help.”
In addition to Military and Family Life Consultants, there a multitude of services and helplines available for any problem a member of the Camp Lejeune community may face.
“I want people to reach out at the first sign of stress, don’t wait for a crisis,” concluded Prince.
For more information, or to set an appointment with a Military and Family Life Consultant, call 546-1114 or 478-5039.