Free counseling, does it exist? Maybe you would like to go for counseling, but in today’s economic climate that might not be possible. Products and services that are not a necessity might be some of the first to go. Keep in mind that as with most things in life you really do get what you pay for and when you are dealing with your emotions and psyche you should be very careful.
With that being said, the good news is there are some places you can go for reduced fee or even free counseling. This article will explain your options.
1. Internet. There are many internet sites that promote free counseling and some of the reviews I have read say that it is pretty helpful. I am not personally recommending any of these sources, necessarily, but they might be worth a try:
www.newhopenow.org/counseling/liveperson.html – Christian based and free
www.nineline.org/ – for kids
www.myshrink.com/online-crisis-counseling.php – website with info, some help
www.kidshelp.com.au/home_KHL.aspx?s=6 – in Australia, but free
www.elderwisdomcircle.org/ – mentor type advice
www.angelfire.com/planet/lostsolace/ – peer advice at a type of forum
www.freewebs.com/freecounselling/livecounselling.htm – seems like free counseling by ICQ chat
www.befrienders.org/helplines/helplines.asp?c2=USA – help lines organized by state
2. Phone. There are many organizations that have phone numbers that you can call with many being toll free. The counseling or advice is usually free. Again, the quality cannot be guaranteed, so be careful:
1-800-SUICIDE – deals with more than just suicide
There is some controversy concerning online counseling and/or telephone counseling in that many feel that is might be unethical or even illegal. Most counselors, other than those in churches, must be licensed by their respective states. Counseling over state lines, whether by phone or internet, cannot be regulated, so that is the controversial part. As with most things, be cautious.
3. University graduate school counseling programs. Another alternative for free counseling is to go to a local university with a counseling graduate school. Look in the Yellow Pages or do a search on the internet by entering the terms “counseling department,” “university,” and your town or city name. This free counseling service will most likely be staffed by graduate students who will most likely do an excellent job. A licensed and trained supervisor will assist the students in assisting you.
4. Churches. One of the best sources of free counseling is at a local church. They often have free classes and assistance as well as free counseling. The church will need to be large and they sometimes give preferential treatment or prime access to their church members. Again, as with the local graduate school counseling programs, do an internet search and enter: church, counseling, and your town or city. Keep in mind that most churches will counsel you even if you do not share their particular religious faith. Just keep an open mind just as you would expect them to do the same.
Finally, if you know of any other free counseling resources that are on the net, accessible by phone, and/or in your town, please let me know.