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What is the Best Way to Find Low Cost Counseling?

Often problems can become overwhelming and, unless you can find Low Cost Counseling, the cost of getting help compounds the issue. Where can you find low-cost or free counseling? It turns out there are several places to try.

Look at your Health Insurance Policy.

You may have coverage for counseling, although it may be for a limited number of contacts or for a limited time. You should also check to see if there is a "network" of providers from which you must choose. This first step can be a lifesaver because if you need counseling beyond what your insurance will pay for, the therapist may be able to refer you to someone who offers Low Cost Counseling.

Call Nearby Universities to see if they have Graduate Training Programs.

The website "Go Ask Alice" suggests this tactic. Advanced degree programs often require student participation in community service projects like healthcare centers. They provide low-cost or even free services as part of their education. The downside to this is that you may not have continuity in care as students graduate.

Look for University-Affiliated Hospitals.

Similar to the graduate training programs, universities sometimes operate teaching hospitals. Therapists in these institutions may be licensed or seeking licensure through post-graduate supervised internship.

Check out Not-For-Profits

Community mental health centers offer counseling and charge on a sliding scale. You may qualify for greatly reduced fees. These centers may give you greater continuity of care than the university option, but professional turnover can be high here as well.

Try "Network of Care."

This resource, according to "Mental Health America" can help you find therapists in your area who have lower fees. The service has information for Arizona, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah, Virginia and Washington. Some of the states will offer details that are community-specific.

Ask Therapists about Cash Options.

Insurance forms are sometimes time-consuming to fill out and file. Therapists may be willing to lower your fee if you pay cash.

Try Support Groups.

Depending upon why you are seeking counseling, a support group may give you the help you need. There are groups for people dealing with addictions, and groups for the families of addicts. There are also support groups that help families cope with Alzheimer's disease, grief, childhood illnesses and other issues, There are even groups that help people through loss of a loved one due to homicide. Support groups typically have no charges, but accept donations.

Don't forget the Church.

While all pastors can console you , offer advice or do pre-marital counseling, some are trained counselors. Many seminaries and Bible colleges offer classes leading to certification as counselors. Ask your pastor if he has counseling credentials.

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Often, when you are "down," a heart-to-heart chat with a friend will cheer you, or offer new insight onto a problem. When you are dealing with really difficult issues like grief or addiction, or experiencing thoughts of hurting yourself or someone else, it is imperative to get help from a trained counselor. If these methods fail, go to a department of social services and ask for assistance into find Low Cost Counseling in your area.

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