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Family Advocacy offers FAST counseling

Kim Vehige, 21st Operational Medical Readiness Squadron family advocacy intervention specialist, hands a pamphlet with a list of family advocacy resources to an Airman Nov. 3, 2020, at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado. The FAP’s Strengths-based Therapy (FAST) is a resource Airmen can use to proactively manage stressors they may have within their family. (U.S. Space Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jonathan Whitely

Kim Vehige, 21st Operational Medical Readiness Squadron family advocacy intervention specialist, hands a pamphlet with a list of family advocacy resources to an Airman Nov. 3, 2020, at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado. The FAP’s Strengths-based Therapy (FAST) is a resource Airmen can use to proactively manage stressors they may have within their family. (U.S. Space Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jonathan Whitely)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. --

The 21st Operational Medical Readiness Squadron Family Advocacy Program offers free therapy to Airmen, space professionals and their families at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado.

The FAP’s Strengths-based Therapy (FAST) is a resource Airmen can use to proactively manage stressors they may have within their family.

“FAST counseling provides support for any type of marital, couple, relationship, family or individual stressors that have a family nexus,” said 1st Lt. Ryan Barney, 21st OMRS family advocacy officer.

FAST counseling is confidential and voluntary, meaning an Airman’s chain of command cannot mandate the therapy and will not be notified of their attendance unless there is a major safety risk involved.

“There is no shame in asking for help,” said Kim Vehige, 21st ORMS family advocacy intervention specialist. “Being in the military has its own stressors that non-military families don't have to deal with. We want folks to act proactively before things cross over into something that can be a much bigger issue.”

Stressors involved with working in the military can include shift work, deploying and a permanent change of station.

Therapists who conduct FAST counseling are licensed clinical social workers who are credentialed through the 21st Medical Group.

“Given all the stress with COVID[-19] and uncertainty this year, people are struggling,” Barney said. “We want Airmen to know there are services available to them so they don’t have to bear all that stress on their own.”

The counseling can be as many or as few sessions a client feels is necessary, with a typical session lasting one hour.

“If you’ve never seen a counselor before, it can be intimidating,” Barney said. “Our goal as providers is to make you feel at ease and help you understand what we’re here for. We don’t want to push people to talk about things they don’t want to.”

The FAP is open weekdays 7:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. for appointments. If Airmen and their families cannot attend counseling during those hours, the FAP team will connect them with services in the community that are available on evenings and weekends.

“We're not able to solve everyone’s issues,” Vehige said. “But we want to give [families] more skills and tools to be able to manage conflict.”

To schedule an appointment with FAP, call 556-8943.

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