Career and Job Search Guide

Military Counselor

Just like civilians, people in the military often only need to meet with counselors to discuss minor problems or correct bad habits. Not every service member working with a counselor is struggling with post traumatic stress syndrome. In some cases, members of the military seeking help from a counselor resolve their problems after a few visits with a counselor.

Many service members working with counselors have more serious problems and need to improve their ability to cope with stress and improve personal relationships. Frequently, service members schedule appointments with military counselors to adjust to a new assignment or deal with emotional problems. For example, a private who is having a tough time adjusting to the rigors of military life may meet with a counselor a few times before adjusting to military life.

Military counselors frequently work with family members of military personnel. Family members frequently struggle when loved ones are ordered to serve multiple deployments or are constantly in dangerous situations. Young children whose parents are deployed overseas sometimes engage in anti-social behaviors to express their anxiety and frustration. Military counselors would assist any member of a service member's family seeking to cope with stressful situations.

Many veterans returning from war zones struggle readjusting to life at home. They often return to work immediately, must attend to family duties, and cope with any wartime mental or physical trauma. As a result, many veterans seek the assistance of military counselors. Likewise, family members of veterans struggle with the fear that their loved ones will be sent back to war.

Military counselors spend a lot of time working with disabled veterans. This is not only challenging for veterans, but families as well. Oftentimes, counselors working with family members who lose loved ones in combat will refer these individuals to psychologists capable of providing extended or specialized treatment.

Military counselors deal with many different types of issues. However, most issues they deal with are somehow related to military service. Therefore, it is a good idea for people wanting to work as a military counselor to understand issues members of the military deal with and the culture of the armed forces.

In many circumstances, military counselors provide cognitive-behavioral or other more extensive therapies when working with their patients. This is usually the case when working with veterans suffering from severe mental trauma. Military counselors treating severe problems are usually required to complete specialized training programs or have extensive experience.

Many opportunities exist for people interested in military counseling careers. Depending on the branch, tuition reimbursement is available for people intending to work as military counselors who are completing graduate programs. Opportunities also exist for civilian counseling professionals interested in working with service members.

People interested in military counseling careers usually complete counseling master's programs. After graduation, candidates can become licensed after completing a state certification program. Civilians interested in working for the military must be licensed counselors.

People currently enrolled in PhD counseling programs can find plenty of internship opportunities in military hospitals. In order to obtain an internship, a military service commitment is required. Following graduation, there will be plenty of opportunities available for those who have successfully completed internships.

Since there is a difference between counseling and clinical psychology, (counselors specialize in helping people overcome bad habits while clinical psychologists work with people struggling with serious mental or emotional health problems), people interested in working as military counselors should be aware of the differences before pursing this career.