Military marriages can be especially challenging. Partners face situations that their civilian friends may not be able to understand. Frequent moves, deployments, parenting children and the demands of military life can test the strongest of couples. Military life is a unique way of living.
While it isn’t necessary that the therapist has served, it is important that the therapist understands the dynamics of military life and marriage. You want a therapist who is experienced in marriage counseling. You also want someone who is knowledgeable about military marriage. Yes, it’s perfectly OK to ask what their training or experience is with military couples.
The good news is that all branches of the military have resources in place to connect military couples with therapists who can help. Each military installation has resources available through Family Support or Readiness Centers with therapists who are trained and specialize in counseling military couples. If you’re not close to an installation, you can contact your benefits provider for referrals.
The process of your couples therapy will be similar to that of civilian couples. Your therapist will help you to define and explore the issues bringing you to counseling. What will be different are the ways in which you discuss and resolve them because the military has a unique language and culture. You’ll work towards understanding and working together towards resolution.
One of the concerns many military couples have is how counseling may affect their military status or security clearance. Some of the services available to service members, such as consultations with Military Family Life Consultants (MFLC), are not reported and are confidential. Other types of counseling services may vary.
Being in a military marriage can sometimes feel overwhelming. It can be lonely when your civilian friends don’t understand the struggle. There is help available and there are marriage counselors who understand.