Foreign Service & Military Support

Virtual or In-person Therapy for Military & Foreign Service Families

Are You?

Special Challenges of Military Life

Relationships take work–whether finding them if you’re single, or tending them if you’re partnered. Parenting, while rewarding, also brings worries. Folks who have had adverse childhood experiences or past relationship trauma may be particularly vulnerable to anxiety and depression under relationship pressure.

Add in frequent moves, with the destination and timing largely out of your control, and handling it all can seem overwhelming.

Without support, many experience compromised wellbeing, including relationship problems, unhelpful coping behaviors, even infidelity or betrayal. These stressors, unique to military and foreign service families, can challenge mental health.

trailing spouse, therapy for foreign service and military families

Stressful Family Dynamics Unique to Military Life

Trailing Spouse

Whether you’re following a spouse in their deployment or staying home with your kids, you may feel good about your choice to support your family and simultaneously ambivalent about the effects on your own identity.

Even if you haven’t quit your job, it’s likely your work has been impacted or lessened to accommodate your partner’s deployment. If you have children, you’re often parenting solo. Frequent moves mean time-sapping logistics and emotional labor.

It’s common for spouses to feel lost, overwhelmed, and uncertain about their own purpose.

Geographical Separation

Meanwhile, trying to maintain a long-distance relationship with your deployed partner often involves complex negotiations in order to accommodate:

  • time zone differences
  • finding privacy to talk or video chat
  • maintaining a sexual and emotional connection
  • making parenting decisions as a united front

Many couples, while deeply in love, find themselves confused about how to create a sense of safety, security, and deep connection.


However longed for, post-deployment reunification can be tension-fraught. You may want a honeymoon; you may get the clamoring needs of kids and a household.

The experiences both partners have while separated can change them in unexpected ways. It takes work to get back in sync.

Loneliness and Unhealthy Behaviors

Whether you’re single or partnered, it can be difficult to establish healthy relationships and habits in a new living situation. Typical coping mechanisms may not be available–working out at your local gym or grabbing dinner with familiar friends.

Without go-to stress relievers, individuals often turn to stress relievers at hand that can become out-of-control, going against their core values and undermining who they really want to be. Numbing habits patch over a void in the short term, but tend to cause deeper rents in self-respect long term.

Help and Hope are Available

Many couples and individuals find a safe space in our virtual or Arlington, VA based in-person offerings. Clients are met with understanding and compassion as they make progress towards satisfying their personal and relationship goals. 

A Heartswell therapist might help you with:

  • Organizing and making sense of struggles
  • Changing unhelpful patterns of coping
  • Creating a safe and secure support network
  • Building new rituals to address new circumstances

How might you feel, working with a caring professional to enhance your emotional well-being individually and/or as a couple? Would you like support in navigating logistics, intimacy, parenting, transitions, and social networking as a team? 

What We Do at Heartswell

A Heartswell we understand the challenges for foreign service and military families that impact relationships and mental health. 

Each client can benefit from an individualized treatment plan which may include:

  • Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) and sex therapy for couples and individuals
  • Telehealth–so that even if you have to move suddenly, you can check in from wherever you are. Continuity.
  • In-person therapy sessions in Arlington, VA
  • Weekend intensives and workshops in the DC area
  • English speaking and Spanish speaking providers
  • Individual therapists and a couples therapist working as a team
  • Restorative retreats in the Shenandoah Valley
  • Relationship Coaching as an alternative to therapy
  • Virtual mindfulness sessions with an experienced meditation teacher and Mindfulness Based Life Coach
Coaching vs. therapy

At Heartswell, we offer both coaching and therapy, each with their own purpose and benefits:

  • Facilitates personal and relational development
  • Requires the capacity of the individual to manage their general safety and well-being
  • Uncovers the potential and capacity of individuals and their relationships
  • Not intended to diagnose or treat mental illness or replace counseling services
  • Not billable through insurance
  • Facilitates personal and relational development
  • Uncovers the potential and capacity of individuals and their relationships
  • Provides increased ability to help clients who are more vulnerable
  • Ability to diagnose and treat mental illness
  • A place to identify and process adverse life experiences
  • Billable through insurance

About Heartswell

Our therapists are trained in Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) as well as other models including Internal Family Services (IFS), somatic models, mindfulness, and somatic therapies. We’re equipped to help clients unravel negative relationship patterns, to connect better sexually, improve collaborative parenting, better understand individual qualities and aspirations, and gain a shared sense of purpose and meaning. 

We help singles and couples foster new ways to transform stress and life experiences into growth. This may involve elements of a familiar model, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), while integrating mindfulness and trauma informed approaches  to encourage deeper healing.  

Our group includes those in the military, divorced, married, single, parents, and expats. We’re here to help you on your journey.

Interested but Still Have Concerns?

Heartswell offers therapy for foreign service and military families virtually or in-person in our Arlington, VA office.

Q: This sounds like a great service, but I’d like to find someone in my insurance network.

A: There are services in place that are available in-network for families in need, however, it can be difficult to find an in-network provider that has the specialized training to most effectively help you to heal and overcome. 

At Heartswell, our services are out-of-network and private self-pay, however, may be eligible for reimbursement through your insurance..  

We are evaluative and goal-oriented to ensure you make the progress you’re investing in. 

Q: Will getting help create stigma or impact my security clearance? 

A: According to a recent Department of Defense (DOD) report, 60 to 70% of those employed by the military do not seek mental health services even when they feel they need them because of these concerns. 

Recognition of the stressors on military families is growing, however, particularly since the pandemic. Mental health support is offered to you as a government employee because your employer is invested in you. 

This fact sheet from the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency might help. 

Coaching, and in many cases therapy, does not need to be reported. The fact sheet also indicates that, “seeking mental health care is a positive course of action and a sign of sound judgment.”

Q: How can I discuss my unique concerns?

A: Heartswell offers a free 15 minute consultation which can be booked online – a brave and hopeful first step. Let us know how we can help!