TRICARE Beneficiaries can Get Counseling without Doctor’s Referral

Military service is one of the most challenging occupations in the world. The men and women who put their lives on the line to protect their communities and country are exposed to trauma and pain. Similarly, their families can be overwhelmed during times when soldiers are deployed to stressful scenes. Oftentimes, military personnel (on active duty and veterans) and their families seek guidance and healing through counseling to address the unprecedented emotional and psychological injury caused by the difficult situations of military life.

Overcoming the Barrier to Private Psychological Health Service

TRICARE is the collective medical program of the Department of Defense (DOD) for all active-duty military members, retired military personnel, active and reserved National Guard, and the dependents of these service men. TRICARE services and facility networks are distributed all over the United States, and many beneficiaries opt to be seen in private, confidential settings off post by private practitioners. Finding a provider that serves TRICARE policy holders, can sometimes be a challenge.

Thanks to the effort of the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC). In its commitment to provide quality psychological health care to service members, veterans and their families, NBCC advocated for the inclusion of professional counselors in the DOD list of providers, which already includes LCSW and LMFT.s (Licensed Clinical Social Workers, and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists). It pursued numerous legislative priorities to open military health systems to independent counselors under TRICARE.

In collaboration with other counseling organizations, NBCC passed legislation to remove the burdensome requirement of obtaining physician referral before TRICARE beneficiaries can get counseling. In December 2011, the DOD authorized independent practitioners within the military health system. The final rule was announced on July 14, 2014, setting the standards for the participation of counselors in the TRICARE program.

Coverage of TRICARE Health Program

It is important to know what TRICARE health care services are available for you and your family. Care services vary by beneficiary type, location, and psychological health counselor. TRICARE is offered in Standard or Premium package. As the most flexible, TRICARE Standard allows beneficiaries to seek counseling from any authorized provider in which referrals are not required, but needs prior authorization from the regional contractor.

Most TRICARE beneficiaries have TRICARE PRIME, where the member pays no copay or deductible when the go off post to a civilian provider. Carolina Counseling Services independently contracted therapists are TRICARE Prime providers. They are able to take either Tricare Prime or TRICARE Standard packages.

TRICARE beneficiaries who are dependents and retired service members can always seek civilian behavioral health care (counseling/therapy) without obtaining a doctor’s referral for a medically diagnosed and covered condition. Just call and make the appt! Carolina Counseling Services will do the rest!

Treating the Invisible Wound

When service members and their immediate family seek counseling to treat their invisible wound caused by combat-related events or stressful situations, psychological health providers face a difficult challenge to address their condition. Unlike physical wounds, the effect can ripple for months and can remain invisible to the patient, family, and society.

But, recovery is not farfetched when you seek treatment from Carolina Counseling Services – Southern Pines, NC. Our team of caring TRICARE approved counselors can help you and your family. With Carolina Counseling Services – Southern Pines and TRICARE, you are in good hands.


There are no referrals required for dependents or retirees! Just call and make an appointment.

Tricare Prime: You have no copay or deductible, so there is no cost for you.

Tricare Select: You have a deductible that must be met each fiscal year. After you meet your deductible, you will be responsible for a $31 copay.

Tricare Prime Retired: You will be responsible for a $30 copay.

Tricare Select Retired: You have a deductible that must be met each fiscal year. After you meet your deductible, you will be responsible for a $41 copay.

Serving Areas: Carolina Counseling Services

Counties: Moore county, NC, Lee County, NC, Montgomery County, NC, Richmond County, NC, Randolph County, NC, Chatham County, NC

Cities: Southern Pines NC, Pinehurst NC, Aberdeen NC, Taylortown NC, Pinebluff NC, West End NC, Seven Lakes NC, Eagle Springs NC, Ashley Heights NC, Ashmont NC, Five Points NC, Wind Blow NC, Jackson Springs NC, Whispering Pines NC, Vass NC, Cameron NC, Carthage NC, Eastwood NC, Lakeview NC, Narrow Ridge NC, Robbins NC, Roseland NC, Tramway NC, Troy NC, Zion Grove NC, Biscoe NC

Confidential / Private Sessions

Carolina Counseling Services – Southern Pines, NC contracts with Licensed professional counselors/therapists/psychologists who provide a friendly, caring, and relaxed atmosphere in the Southern Pines/Pinehurst/Aberdeen/Raeford area. These independently contracted therapists/counselors assist adult individuals, couples, families, and children with resolving issues and getting back to enjoying their lives. Whether you are non-military or military, the independently contracted therapists with Carolina Counseling Services – Southern Pines, NC are able and happy to assist you!

We are located at:

Carolina Counseling Services - Southern Pines, NC
780 NW Broad St. Suite 210
Southern Pines, NC 28387

How Do I Set Up my FIRST Appointment?

  • Call: (910) 246-0827 (Fastest way to schedule)
  • Text: (910) 308-3291 (Reply will be via phone)
  • Click here and use our Contact Form (You must include your phone number, because replies will only be made by telephone to ensure security/privacy)
  • Call or Text for your New Patient Appointment Anytime!
  • Appointment scheduling for NEW clients: Mon-Fri 8:30am-5:15pm
  • New client appts may be scheduled when therapists have openings, which may include daytime, evenings and weekends.
  • Established/Standing Appointments are made directly with your therapist!
  • Referrals: MOST beneficiaries do NOT need a Referral!

Choose your Therapist

  • Kristin Vernon, MSW, LCSW

    Specializes in: (Ages 5+) Children, Adolescents, Couples, Families, Anxiety, Depression, Self-Esteem Issues, Grief and Loss, Communication Skills, Divorce, Adjustment Disorders, Mood Disorders, Coping Skills, Parenting, Family Conflict, Marital Conflict, Relationship Issues
    Insurance: BCBS, Tricare, Medicare, cash
    Location: Southern Pines, NC
  • Gretchen Montesanto, MA, LPC, NCC

    Specializes in: (Ages 14+) Teens, Individuals, Anxiety, Depression, Self-Esteem Issues, Grief and Loss, Stress, LGBT, Adjustment Disorder, Motivation, Life Transitions, Mood Disorders, Military Spouses

    Credit Cards: Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express

    Location: Southern Pines, NC
    Insurance: BCBS, Tricare and Cash
    Location: Southern Pines, NC
  • Jaime J. Fitzpatrick MS, LPCS, LCAS

    Specializes in: (Ages 18+) Adults, Families and Couples, Anxiety, PTSD, Trauma and Abuse Recovery, Depression, Military Life Issues, Adjustment Disorder, Relationship Issues, Marriage Counseling, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Trauma Focused Therapy, Addictions, Emotional Disturbance, Coping Skills, Impulsivity, Grief and Loss, Self-Esteem
    Insurance: BCBS, Tricare, NCHC and Cash

    Credit Cards: Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express

    Location: Southern Pines, NC
  • Gail Gustafson, MSW, LCSW

    Specializes in: (Ages 3+) Adolescents and Adults, Individuals, Couples and Families, PTSD/Trauma, EMDR, Adoption, Drug/Alcohol/Substance Abuse addiction, Anxiety, Depression, Bi-polar, Life Transitions, Grief and Loss, Parenting, family, couples and marriage counseling
    Insurance: BCBS, Tricare, Medicare,Cash, HRA and FSA accepted

    Credit Cards: Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express

    Location: Southern Pines, NC
  • Tracy Goldberg, MSW, LCSW

    Specializes in: (Ages 3+) Individuals, Adolescents, Adults, Couples, Children and Families, Attention Deficit, Oppositional Defiance, Behavioral Issues, Peer Relationship, Coping Skills, Family Conflict, Depression, Anxiety, Parenting, Christian Counseling
    Insurance: BCBS, Medicare, Tricare,Cash, HSA and FSA accepted

    Credit Cards: Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express

    Location: Southern Pines, NC
  • Kelly ErkenBrack, LCSW

    Specializes in: (Ages 3+) Children, Teens, Adults, Couples and Families. Anxiety, Depression, Grief and Loss, Mood Disorders, Trauma, Adjustments and Life Transitions, ADHD, Behavioral Issues, Parenting, Relationship Concerns, Self Esteem
    Insurance: BCBS, NCHC, Medicare Tricare Select and Cash

    Credit Cards: Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express

    Location: Pinehurst, NC and Southern Pines, NC