FORT BENNING GA - The Family Life Chaplain Training Center recently welcomed a new group of five Soldier and five civilian resident counselors.

One of three chaplain training centers in the Army (the other two are at Fort Bragg, N.C., and Fort Hood, Texas), Fort Benning’s is the longest-running training center, said Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Jeff Voyles, director.

The number of resident counselors varies, but they typically stay for about 18 months, said Karen Linden, administrative support assistant for the Family Life Chaplain Center.

It’s good for the community, she said, since those seeking counselors have a range of people to choose from, including the resident counselors, the director and deputy director of the training center and the Family Life Chaplain.

“We have 13 people here who all have different personalities, all have different skills … and when they come together as a team, which they do everyday, they are unstoppable,” Linden said.

When Linden and her husband PCSed to Fort Benning in January, she was surprised to find out all the center had to offer.

“It’s a hidden jewel,” she said. “I’m blown away by how amazing this place is. There’s so much knowledge and experience. The confidentiality we have here is great. That’s a huge thing I find when I talk with people; people are so afraid about coming to a counselor because they’re afraid of either being judged or someone finding out. We do not keep records. We don’t have a reporting system. No one will judge. They can come here safe and confident.”

The center offers individual, couple, family and group counseling in 13 subject areas: premarital, marital, divorce recovery, blended family, communication, conflict resolution, parenting, anger and stress management, spiritual, addiction, child therapy, combat and grief.

There’s no cost, no pre-approval process and unlimited sessions, Linden said.

Counseling offers an opportunity for dialogue, which helps a person grow, versus monologue which isn’t helpful and keeps the person alone, Voyles said.

“When an individual seeks help through counseling, they are opening up that dialog with someone who cares,” he said.

“Dialogue can help validate a person’s thoughts and feelings. The person " through dialogue with a counselor " realizes their issue is common life struggles that many others are also facing. They are not alone. This gives a person hope which builds their emotional resiliency.”
All the counselors, including the students, have professional experience and they “truly understand and really listen,” Linden said.

“We also offer customized workshops and support groups,” she said. “We can work with units to develop a workshop to assist their Soldiers and Family members. We’re looking into offering different training programs for individuals … marriage classes, parenting classes, leadership and personal development.”

Those interested in a support group, workshop, class or counseling are welcome to stop by the Family Life Chaplain Center in Building 2606 in Soldiers’ Plaza.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 706-545-1760.

Page last updated Wed July 6th, 2011 at 09:10