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Therapy Treatment & Counseling for Military Spouses

Therapy Treatment & Counseling for Military Spouses

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Statistics on Mental Health & Military Spouses

  • A recent study demonstrates that military spouses had higher rates of depression and binge drinking.1
  • According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), 6.5% of military spouses who experienced a major depressive episode with significant impairment, and 11.8% of military spouses who experienced at least one major depressive episode had mental illnesses.2
  • Empirical research has shown that military spouses experience higher rates of unfavorable outcomes during wartime, including general discomfort, disturbed parenting, substance abuse, secondary traumatization, and mental health diagnoses.3
  • During their partner’s active-duty service, 44% of spouses have visited a counselor.4
  • One study found that among military spouses, less education, unemployment, and big family size were all independently related to increased risk for major depressive disorder (MDD).5
  • During the Covid-19 pandemic, there was an increased sense of isolation felt by military spouses.6
  • Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is diagnosed in 25% of active-duty spouse responders, substantially higher than the projected prevalence of GAD in the general population.7
  • In the previous year, 5% of respondents who were active-duty spouses reported having suicidal thoughts.

Common Reasons Military Spouses Seek Therapy Treatment

Below are common reasons why military spouses seek therapy treatment:8

  • Unaddressed mental health issues
  • Separation from loved ones and uncertainty
  • Broken or unfinished career paths
  • Frequent moving/relocation
  • A partner being repeatedly deployed
  • Living in constant fear of spouse’s well-being
  • Trouble sleeping

If something feels off and you need help, the relevant resources are prepared to meet you where you are. You don’t need to know what to say or do, only that you could use some help.9

What Happens in Therapy for Military Spouses?

The idea of going to your first therapy session may make you uncomfortable. You might believe that getting help will make you or your military partner appear weak or that others won’t believe in your strength. However, it’s important to recognize that reaching out exhibits courage. Early medical intervention can result in positive outcomes for you and your family.10 Do not worry that seeking military spouse counseling may harm your or your partner’s career.

Additionally, counseling for military spouses is considered protected information and kept private. However, there are some restrictions on privacy, including anything related to child abuse or domestic violence. Even then, only those who require notification will receive it.

Experienced psychologists or licensed therapists collaborate with military spouses closely throughout the therapy treatment. Your psychological health professional may inquire about your symptoms and other personal details throughout the assessment phase, typically the first, sometimes the first couple of sessions. Your answers to these questions will assist in creating a treatment plan tailored to your needs. In addition, you’ll likely be asked to fill out paperwork.

Topics covered in this stage include:

  • Your symptom history
  • General well-being and any prescription drugs you take
  • Relationships with family, friends, and peers
  • Heath practices, including eating and exercise routines
  • Previous therapies and results
  • Substance use, if any

Following the assessment, your provider will create a treatment plan for you. Medication may fall under this treatment plan. In addition, you might be asked to put your newly acquired abilities to use between sessions and keep a log of your symptoms.

Sessions typically last for 45 minutes. Depending on the need and availability, these could occur weekly or every other week. Depending on your concerns, you can seek the help of several medical professionals to help with your treatment. For some mental health conditions, longer and more frequent visits are required.

Once your symptoms improve, therapy sessions will be stretched over a more extended period. This gives you more time to apply what you’ve learned without the help of a therapist. Sessions may then end or go on as needed after that.

At Athena Care’s multiple mental health treatment centers throughout Tennessee, military spouse counseling services include the following:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
  • Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT)
  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
  • Family Therapy
  • Prolonged Exposure (PE)
  • Social Skills Training (SST)
  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
  • Couple’s Therapy

Insurance may be able to help cover the cost of therapy. Find out if your insurance provider can help with the costs by filling in our confidential insurance verification form below.

Things to Consider When Seeking Therapy for Military Spouses

You may struggle throughout the process. Not everyone is motivated to attend appointments when dealing with depression, anxiety, or other issues. Discuss your situation with your therapist.

To move closer to your objectives, your therapist can assist you in processing and navigating that fear. Your therapist isn’t there to fix you; you’ll be expected to play your part. Don’t let your inability to fully commit to military spouse therapy discourage you from seeking help in the future.

Keep in mind that working with a therapist who is a veteran or who has treated the spouses of military personnel is not required. However, it could be beneficial to find one familiar with the barriers military spouses and their families face when seeking mental health care. Military spouse counseling is most effective when you feel secure, at ease, and accepted.

In addition, you’ll probably find a string of letters following mental health professionals’ names while searching for a therapist. This is because many licensing authorities require physicians to indicate their degree (Masters, Doctorate, or Medical Doctorate) 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.11 And a psychologist (usually with a Ph.D. or PsyD) has training in many forms of psychotherapy and psychological assessment.

In addition to their credentials, below are a few other points you may want to consider when seeking military spouse therapy:

  • Years of experience working with military service members and/or their families
    • More importantly, do they have experience treating individuals with your specific issue(s). For example, have they treated military spouses with anxiety, depression, etc.
  • Specialties and services offered
  • Treatment methods and philosophies
  • Insurance companies they work with
  • Hours
  • Pricing
  • Session duration

Here you’ll find a list of practitioners organized by city, along with information about their backgrounds and specialties.

Benefits of Therapy for Military Spouses

Military spouse counseling boasts many benefits, including, but not limited to, the following:12,13

  • Increased sense that you are not alone
  • Increased awareness and concentration that improves your ability to engage with others and experience the present completely
  • The capacity to define your values and take action to realize the goals that are most important to you
  • Gain in confidence
  • Decrease in negative feelings and ideas
  • Decrease in symptoms related to your mental health issue(s)
  • The capacity to transform challenging projects into attainable successes
  • Increased involvement in pastimes and social gatherings, possibly even ones you liked before
  • Development of communication and problem-solving skills
  • Improved relationships with family and others
  • The ability to cope with cravings and social pressures that can lead to the use of stimulants
  • Learn new abilities to help you reach your goals and handle challenges, enhancing your overall quality of life
  • Create better, more balanced perspectives of both yourself and other people
  • Alleviate stress
  • Use mindfulness and relaxation techniques to help you stay present and manage emotions healthily
  • Create efficient coping mechanisms to reduce impulsive actions

Cost & Coverage for Therapy for Military Spouses

Managed by the Department of Defense (DOD) health agency, TRICARE insurance is a global healthcare program for active-duty service members, retirees, and their families.14 Military mental health, including counseling for military spouses, is a top priority with three TRICARE facilities across Tennessee.15 Your relationship with a member of the military or your specific plan will determine how much you pay for therapy.

In addition, for assistance with military and family life difficulties, including planning for and managing a move or fostering a connection with a deployed spouse, Military OneSource offers free, confidential, face-to-face non-medical therapy.16

Keep in mind that you are not required to only go to military-approved therapists or a military treatment facility. Some might feel more comfortable working with counselors who are not in or associated with the military in any way. However, the out-of-pocket cost for military spouse counseling varies without insurance. The average cost of psychotherapy in the United States is between $100 and $200 per session.17

Athena Care is in-network with most major insurance plans. Filling out our free and confidential online insurance verification form is the most efficient method to determine if your insurance covers therapy for military spouses.

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

Behavioral Health Resources for Military Spouses

The following resources can assist if you are struggling with mental health concerns.18


  1. Hilliard, Jena. “New Study Shows Depression and Binge Drinking Is More Common Among Military Spouses.” Addiction Center, 9 Oct. 2019, www.addictioncenter.com/news/2019/10/depression-binge-drinking-military-spouses.
  2. Lipari, Rachel, et al. Spouses and Children of U.S. Military Personnel: Substance Use and Mental Health Profile From the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. SAHMSA, Nov. 2016, www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/NSDUH-MilitaryFamily-2015/NSDUH-MilitaryFamily-2015.htm.
  3. Sullivan, Kathrine S., et al. “Mental Health Outcomes Associated With Profiles of Risk and Resilience Among U.S. Army Spouses.” Journal of Family Psychology, vol. 35, no. 1, American Psychological Association (APA), Feb. 2021, pp. 33–43. https://doi.org/10.1037/fam0000702.
  4. Military OneSource. “Military Spouse Survey and Findings.” Military OneSource, 9 Feb. 2023, www.militaryonesource.mil/data-research-and-statistics/survey-findings/spouse-voices.
  5. Malta, Danile. “Researchers Determine Factors in Military Spouse Depression.” www.army.mil, 1 Mar. 2019, www.army.mil/article/217900/researchers_determine_factors_in_military_spouse_depression.
  6. U.S. Department of Defense. “DOD Survey Delivers Data on Well-Being of Military Spouses.” U.S. Department of Defense, 10 Feb. 2023, www.defense.gov/News/Releases/Release/Article/3295629/dod-survey-delivers-data-on-well-being-of-military-spouses.
  7. Syracuse University. “2021 Military Family Lifestyle Survey Comprehensive Report: Spouse Health and Well-Being.” Bluestarfarm.org, 2021, bluestarfam.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/BSF_MFLS_Results2021_Spouse-Health-and-Well-Being_03_10.pdf.
  8. Centerstone.org. “The Stresses of Military Life on Marriages and Families.” Centerstone, 10 Nov. 2022, centerstone.org/our-resources/health-wellness/the-stresses-of-military-life-on-marriages-and-families.
  9. Ryan-Edger, Kim. “You Are Not Alone – Mental Health for Military Spouses.” National Military Family Association, 9 May 2022, www.militaryfamily.org/you-are-not-alone-mental-health-for-military-spouses.
  10. Defense Centers of Excellence. “What to Expect in Therapy.” Military.com, 13 July 2022, www.military.com/benefits/veterans-health-care/what-to-expect-in-therapy.html.
  11. Writers, Staff. “Social Work Licensure in Tennessee | Find Accredited Programs.” SocialWorkLicensure.Org, 1 July 2019, socialworklicensure.org/state/social-work-licensure-tennessee.
  12. VA.gov | Veterans Affairs. www.mentalhealth.va.gov/get-help/treatment/ebt.asp.
  13. Love, Cary. “Why Therapy Might Be Your Saving Grace.” Military Spouse, 21 Feb. 2020, www.militaryspouse.com/military-life/coping/why-therapy-might-be-your-saving-grace.
  14. “About Us.” TRICARE, 2018, https://www.tricare.mil/About
  15. “Find a Military Hospital or Clinic.” TRICARE, 2022, https://www.tricare.mil/mtf?country=-1&state=46&pageNo=1&pageSize=5&view=mapx
  16. 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.
  17. 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/
  18. 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. 

(615) 320-1155