Healing help is available for Fort Belvoir community members dealing with personal issues such as domestic abuse and substance abuse through the Family Life Ministry and Training Center for counseling.
The program provides couples, Family and individual counseling services to help clients overcome their problems. The services are available to active-duty military members, retirees, Reservists, Guardsmen, Department of the Army civilians and Family members. The office adheres to the Chief of Chaplains Confidentially Policy which provides clients confidentiality during counseling sessions, according to Chaplain (Maj.) Chuck Scott, Family Life Ministry and Training Center director.
"There is no need to suffer alone when help is available," Scott said. "Come and get help because you may be helped in ways you didn't even know were possible."
In addition to domestic abuse and substance abuse problems, the office also helps clients with domestic disputes, depression, anxiety and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. In the initial session, counselors work with clients to assess the problem. Follow-up sessions are aimed toward finding positive measures to help the client overcome their issue or issues. During a marriage counseling session, for instance, counselors will teach couples to be active listeners, which helps both partners better understand each other's perspectives.
"We get them beyond that initial crisis and help them solve problems and other issues they've been wanting to work on," said Stephanie Bates, Family Life Center licensed clinical social worker. "This helps them live a much more fulfilling, happier and balanced life. With just a short amount of time with a trained counselor, anything is possible."
Counselors also provide referral services if a client presents a problem that another organization on post is better suited to handle. For example, a client dealing with the death of a Soldier may be referred to Survivor Outreach Services.
The Family Life Center regularly conducts programs and workshops in addition to its counseling services. One program is the Marriage Enrichment class, which helps pre-marital couples resolve potential marital issues such as managing money and handling deployment.
No matter what the program is, the center strives to provide high quality and ethical services, Scott said. The center also strives to provide quality training to graduate degree level interns. The office currently uses six students who provide counseling under the supervision of Scott and Bates. Each school year, the center usually employs six to 10 interns from schools such as the University of Southern California and Virginia Tech University. The students receive class credits for the internship and the extra help allows the Family Life Center to schedule appointments with more clients, Bates said.
The experience provides interns an opportunity to help servicemembers and Families deal with military-specific problems such as deployments and reintegration, according to Jordan Johnson, Family Life Ministry and Training Center therapist intern.
"You get a unique experience that you may not get elsewhere," Johnson said. "It's incredible and great to be riding on the journey along with servicemembers and Families."
Community members must complete and return a counseling intake form before receiving assistance. Once the form is complete, a counselor will contact the client to schedule the initial session.
"Our mission is to be the best pastoral counseling facility that we can be for the Fort Belvoir community and the National Capital Region," Scott said.
The Family Life Ministry and Training Center's hours for counseling are:
Mondays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.; and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call (703) 805-2742 to set-up an appointment. The office also accepts walks-ins.
"All they need to do is pick up the phone or walk in and ask to speak with someone," Bates said.

Page last updated Fri April 12th, 2013 at 16:05