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Military Marriage Counseling & Therapy in Tennessee

Military Marriage Counseling & Therapy in Tennessee

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Marriage & Couples Counseling for Military Service Members

Military marriage counseling is a therapy that focuses on improving communication, resolving conflicts, and strengthening relationships between military service members and their spouses or partners. Marriage counseling provides a secure, unbiased setting where you and your partner may talk about your emotions and any issues you face.

Military couples face unique challenges due to the demands of military life, such as frequent deployments, long periods of separation, and the stress of living in a high-stakes environment. These challenges can place a strain on even the strongest relationships.

Counseling for military couples aims to address these challenges and help couples build and maintain healthy, supportive relationships. The therapy typically involves identifying specific issues and working collaboratively to develop strategies to address them. The therapist may use various techniques, such as cognitive-behavioral, problem-solving, or emotional-focused therapy, to help couples overcome their difficulties and improve their relationship.

Marriage counseling for military couples can be conducted individually or as a couple. It may be provided through military treatment facilities, private practitioners, or programs offered by military family support organizations. Many military couples find counseling a valuable resource for navigating the unique challenges of military life and building strong, resilient relationships.

A study published in the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy found that military couples counseling significantly improved relationship satisfaction, communication, and conflict resolution skills.1 In addition, a survey by Blue Star Families found that those who received military couples therapy reported higher levels of overall well-being and improved family dynamics compared to those who didn’t receive counseling.2

Common Reasons Military Couples Seek Therapy

Military couples seek therapy for various reasons. Some of the most common reasons include the following:3

  • Communication issues: Military life often involves extended periods of separation and frequent moves, making it difficult for couples to communicate effectively. Counseling can help couples improve their communication skills and develop strategies for staying connected despite the challenges of military life.
  • Stress and anxiety: The demands of military life can be stressful and overwhelming, which can take a toll on relationships. Couples may seek therapy to learn coping skills and strategies for managing stress and anxiety.
  • Infidelity: The stresses of military life can sometimes lead to infidelity, and couples may seek therapy to address issues related to trust, forgiveness, and rebuilding the relationship.
  • Adjustment to civilian life: Military service members often face significant challenges when transitioning from military to civilian life, which can strain relationships. Counseling can help couples navigate this transition and support each other through adjustment.
  • Parenting issues: Military couples who are parents may seek therapy to address the problems related to parenting and co-parenting, such as discipline, communication, and managing the stress of parenthood while serving in the military.
  • Deployment-related issues: Deployments can be stressful and traumatic for service members and their families. Counseling can help couples address issues related to the stress of deployment, separation, and reintegration.

Knowing when it’s time to seek military marriage counseling can be challenging, as every couple and situation is unique. However, some signs may indicate that therapy could be helpful, such as:

  • Communication breakdown: If you and your partner have difficulty communicating effectively or feel like you’re constantly talking over each other, therapy can help you improve your communication skills and resolve any misunderstandings or conflicts.
  • Frequent arguments or fights: If you and your partner are arguing more often than usual or your conflicts seem to escalate quickly, therapy can help you identify the underlying issues and develop strategies for managing conflict more effectively.
  • Emotional distance: If you and your partner feel disconnected or emotionally distant, therapy can help you rebuild your connection and improve your intimacy.
  • Infidelity: If one or both partners has been unfaithful, therapy can help you work through the challenges of rebuilding trust, addressing the underlying issues that contributed to the infidelity, and moving forward.
  • Stress related to military life: If you or your partner is experiencing significant stress related to military life, such as frequent deployments, moves, or other challenges, therapy can help you develop coping skills and strategies for managing the stress.

If you’re experiencing challenges in your relationship that you cannot resolve on your own, or you feel like your relationship is not as strong as it was, it may be time to consider seeking military couples counseling. You and your spouse may be able to overcome your difficulties and improve your relationship in therapy’s secure, supportive environment.

What Happens in Therapy for Military Couples?

In couples therapy for military couples, a licensed therapist works with you and your partner to address specific concerns and challenges. The treatment may involve a combination of individual and joint sessions with each of you.

Here are some common elements of military couples therapy:

  • Assessment: The therapist will typically begin by evaluating you and your partner to understand your concerns, challenges, and goals. This may involve asking questions about your relationship history, communication patterns, and experiences with military life.
  • Education: The therapist may provide education on topics such as effective communication, conflict resolution, and coping with the challenges of military life. The therapist may also provide resources and referrals to other services, such as financial or career counseling.
  • Skill-building: The therapist may work with you to develop new skills and strategies for managing the challenges of military life. This may include learning to communicate more effectively, managing stress and anxiety, and developing problem-solving skills.
  • Support: The therapist provides emotional support and encouragement as you work through your challenges. This may involve validating your feelings and experiences and helping you to build a sense of connection and support within your relationship.
  • Goal-setting: The therapist may help you set specific goals for therapy and guide you on how to work together to achieve those goals. This may involve developing a plan to improve communication, strengthen your relationship, or address specific concerns.
  • Follow-up: The therapist may schedule follow-up sessions to check your progress and adjust therapy as needed.

The specific type of therapy that is best for you and your partner will depend on your unique needs and concerns. A qualified therapist can help you determine the type of therapy most appropriate for your situation.

However, below are several treatment types commonly used for military marriage counseling:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT): CBT is a type of therapy focusing on changing negative thought patterns and behaviors. It can be particularly helpful for military couples experiencing anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).4
  • Emotionally focused therapy (EFT): EFT is a type of therapy that focuses on identifying and working through emotional patterns in relationships. It can be helpful for military couples who are experiencing difficulties with communication or emotional distance.5
  • Solution-focused brief therapy (SFBT): SFBT is a type of therapy that focuses on developing solutions to specific problems. It can be helpful for military couples who are looking to address specific challenges in their relationship, such as communication breakdowns or infidelity.6
  • Trauma-focused therapy: Trauma-focused therapy is a type of therapy that focuses on addressing the impact of trauma on individuals and relationships. It can be helpful for military couples who have experienced trauma related to military service or other life events.7

While medication is not typically involved in military couples therapy, it may be used with therapy for certain mental health conditions, such as depression or anxiety. For example, suppose a military couple is experiencing significant mental health symptoms impacting their relationship. In that case, a mental health professional may recommend medication as part of a comprehensive treatment plan. However, medication is not a substitute for therapy, and therapy is often a critical component of effective treatment for mental health conditions.

Things to Consider When Seeking Therapy for Military Couples

When seeking therapy for military couples, there are several things to consider, including:

  • Credentials and experience: It’s important to choose a therapist who is experienced in working with military couples and has the appropriate credentials and training. Look for one experienced in working with issues common among military couples, such as deployment, frequent moves, and separation. You’ll probably find a string of letters following mental health professionals’ names while searching for a therapist. Licensing authorities require physicians to indicate their degrees in addition to their license to practice. Each degree varies in terms of requirements. For example, a practicing clinician with LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker) credentials in Tennessee has completed a master’s degree in social work and at least 3,000 hours of clinical experience. At least 100 hours included direct supervision, and 60 were one-on-one.8 A psychologist (usually with a Ph.D. or PsyD) has training in many forms of psychotherapy and psychological assessment.
  • Approach to therapy: Different therapists may use different treatment approaches, so it’s essential to find one whose approach resonates with you and your partner. Some therapists may focus more on individual therapy or cognitive-behavioral therapy, while others may focus on couples therapy or family therapy.
  • Accessibility: Military couples may have unique scheduling and location needs, so it’s important to find an accessible and flexible therapist. Therapists who offer teletherapy or online sessions can benefit couples who are separated by distance or have busy schedules.
  • Cost: Couple’s therapy can be expensive, so consider whether it’s covered by insurance or military benefits. Many military families are eligible for free or low-cost mental health services through the military healthcare system or other resources.
  • Confidentiality: Military couples may be concerned about privacy, especially if one or both partners are currently serving. It’s important to find a therapist who understands military life’s unique challenges and concerns and can ensure that sessions are confidential and secure.

Benefits of Therapy for Military Couples

Military marriage counseling can provide many benefits for couples, including:9

  • Improved communication: Communication is a key component of a healthy relationship. Therapy can help you and your partner learn new ways to communicate effectively and express your needs and emotions.
  • Better problem-solving skills: Military couples often face unique challenges, and therapy can help you develop better problem-solving skills and coping strategies to deal with these challenges.
  • Increased intimacy: Therapy can help you strengthen your emotional and physical intimacy, essential for maintaining a healthy relationship.
  • Reduced stress and anxiety: Therapy can help you manage stress and anxiety and improve your and your partner’s well-being.
  • Better understanding of each other’s experiences: Military couples may have different experiences and perspectives, and therapy can help you better understand each other’s experiences and support each other through challenges.
  • Stronger support system: Therapy can provide a safe and supportive environment where you can work together to build a stronger support system, which is helpful with navigating military life’s challenges.
  • Prevention of future issues: Therapy can also help prevent future relationship issues by identifying potential sources of conflict and developing strategies to address them.

Cost & Coverage for Military Couples Counseling

Counseling costs can vary depending on many factors, including the provider and the specific services needed. Some providers offer sliding scale fees based on income, and some may offer discounts for military families. The out-of-pocket cost for military marriage counseling varies without insurance. However, the average cost of psychotherapy in the US is between $100 and $200 per session.10

Various sources can cover military couples counseling, depending on the specific situation. Some potential sources of coverage include:

  • Military healthcare benefits: Active-duty service members and their families are eligible for TRICARE insurance, which provides coverage for mental health services, including military couples counseling.11
  • VA benefits: Veterans may be eligible for VA benefits that include services like military marriage counseling.
  • Non-profit organizations: Some non-profit organizations, such as Give an Hour and Military OneSource, provide free or low-cost marriage counseling for military couples and families.12
  • Insurance: Some insurance plans may cover mental health services, including military couples counseling. Check with your insurance provider to determine what services are covered and the cost.

Athena Care makes it simple to verify your insurance benefits. Our multiple therapist offices in Tennessee are in-network with most major insurance plans. Filling out our free, no-obligation online insurance verification form is the best way to determine if your insurance covers military marriage counseling.

Allow our highly experienced, expert care coordinators to handle the difficulties of contacting your insurance carrier for more information about marriage counseling for military couples in Tennessee. After completing the form, a care coordinator will review your policy and thoroughly explain your options. You can rest assured that all submitted and discussed information is kept confidential.

Couples in the military are not required to exclusively visit therapists who have received military approval or to seek treatment in a military facility. Some may feel more comfortable working with counselors unassociated with the military.

Additional Service Member Resources for Marriage & Couples Counseling

There are various resources available to service members for marriage and couples counseling, including:13

  • Military and Family Life Counseling Program: The Military and Family Life Counseling Program (MFLC) provides confidential, free non-medical counseling services to service members and their families. MFLC counselors can provide short-term counseling for various issues, including marital and relationship problems.
  • Chaplain Services: Chaplains can provide spiritual support and counseling to service members and their families. They can also provide military marriage counseling and support.
  • TRICARE: TRICARE provides coverage for mental health services, including military couples counseling. Service members and their families can access TRICARE benefits.
  • Military OneSource: Dial 711 or call 800-342-9647. Military OneSource provides free, confidential counseling services to service members and their families. They offer a variety of counseling services, including marital and relationship counseling.
  • Give an Hour: Give an Hour is a non-profit organization providing free mental health services, including couples counseling, to service members and their families.
  • 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline: Free, confidential assistance to those in need 24 hours a day.
  • Family Advocacy Program: Helpful tool for military and their family members.


  1. Piercy, Fred P. “Best Articles of 2016: A Reflection of Our Values.” Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, Wiley-Blackwell, July 2017, https://doi.org/10.1111/jmft.12253.
  2. Blue Star Families. “Military Family Lifestyle Survey 2023 – Blue Star Families.” Blue Star Families, 31 Mar. 2023, bluestarfam.org/research/mfls-2023.
  3. Saccoia, Ellen F. “Understanding the Increase in Military Couples Seeking Counseling Throughout the Military Lifecyclecounseling Throughout the Military Lifecycle.” Walden University, 2020, scholarworks.waldenu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=9918&context=dissertations.
  4. “Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.” Mayo Clinic, 16 Mar. 2019, www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/cognitive-behavioral-therapy/about/pac-20384610.
  5. “Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy | Society of Clinical Psychology.” Society of Clinical Psychology | Division 12 of the American Psychological Association, 3 May 2019, div12.org/treatment/emotionally-focused-couples-therapy.
  6. Carlson, Jon, and Shannon B. Dermer. “The SAGE Encyclopedia of Marriage, Family, and Couples Counseling.” SAGE Publications, Inc. eBooks, SAGE Publishing, Jan. 2017, https://doi.org/10.4135/9781483369532.
  7. “Trauma-Focused Psychotherapy for PTSD.” PTSD-Repository, ptsd-va.data.socrata.com/stories/s/Trauma-Focused-Psychotherapy-for-PTSD/y38q-zpnj. Accessed 9 Apr. 2023.
  8. Writers, Staff. “Social Work Licensure in Tennessee | Find Accredited Programs.” SocialWorkLicensure.Org, 1 July 2019, socialworklicensure.org/state/social-work-licensure-tennessee.
  9. Fletcher. “Relationship Support for Military Couples.” Military OneSource, 13 Apr. 2021, www.militaryonesource.mil/relationships/married-domestic-partner/military-relationship-support.
  10. Lauretta, Ashley. “How Much Does Therapy Cost?” edited by Alena Hall, Forbes Health, 2021, https://www.forbes.com/health/mind/how-much-does-therapy-cost/
  11. “About Us.” TRICARE, 2018, https://www.tricare.mil/About
  12. Rfletcher. “Free, Confidential Face-to-Face Non-medical Counseling.” Military OneSource, 27 July 2022, www.militaryonesource.mil/confidential-help/non-medical-counseling/military-onesource/free-confidential-face-to-face-non-medical-counseling.
  13. Dorner, Jessica. “Mental Health – Resources.” Military OneSource, 14 Nov. 2022, www.militaryonesource.mil/health-wellness/mental-health/mental-health-resources.

If you suspect that you or someone you love suffers from mental health disorders, contact Athena Care today.

One of our friendly associates will help you get the help you need. Take this first step to feel better and take control. 

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