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Military and Family Life Consultant Program begins at Vandenberg

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- The Department of Defense has recently expanded the Military and Family Life program to include the Air Force.

Beginning June 16, a military and family life consultant began a 45-day rotation here.

This is a non-medical counseling program, designed to address issues that occur across the military lifestyle and help Airmen and their families cope with the normal reactions to the stressful situations created by multiple deployments and reintegration, according to a Department of Defense, according to an article on www.military.com. 

A unique aspect of this program is that, while it is geared toward single Airmen, it is available for anyone connected to an Airman, whether that be a DoD civilian, retirees, a sibling or a parent. 

"The most important thing to remember about this program is that it is confidential and anonymous," said Sally Galligan, Vandenberg Airman and Family Readiness Center director. "There are certain stipulations that make the conversation confidential, like saying you were going to hurt yourself or other people." 

Another thing to keep in mind about this program is that the consultant isn't military and not from the Vandenberg community. 

"The consultant is not from the local community so you don't have to worry about running into them at work or around town," Mrs. Galligan said. "Also, that person is only here for 45 days and then another counselor takes over their position." 

All consultants have a master's degree or doctorate and are licensed clinical counselors who work with families, individuals, couples and children to provide non-medical problem identification counseling services. 

The consultant's responsibility is not to provide medical care but will refer you to other military sources if the problem cannot be resolved in a few sessions. 

"The program is designed to answer some of those immediate, short-term issues. It was never intended as a replacement or substitute for our mental health consultants or chaplains," the Airman and Family Readiness Center director said. "They are not here to provide therapeutic or medical counseling but will refer the individual to a another resource if need be." 

In addition to being a confidential, unbiased ear, the consultant all will meet on or off base, depending on what is more comfortable. 

"The flexibility to meet outside of the traditional office environment, on or off base, and after normal duty hours or on a Saturday is value-added," Mrs. Galligan said. "In a world of on-line services, people still want to speak to a real live person when confronting personal issues and the MFLC program is an answer to that felt need." 

For more information on the MFLC program, people can call the MFLC direct line at (805) 588-3302, or the Airman and Family Readiness Center at 606-0039.