Dear Dr. Romance

I am in a relationship of a year and 3 months. My girlfriend Phyllis and I have a constant communication problem that we want to address.

Neither of us are currently working. I do get unemployment but my bills out weigh my income. Do you know how we can find low cost counseling?

Dear Reader:

If your bills outweigh your income, you are wise not to pay high fees for therapy. There are low-cost options for counselling:

(1) If you're a student, or there is a nearby university, check to see if they have graduate programs in psychology or social work. Schools that prepare counselors often have a clinic affiliated with their school, or know of community clinics that may be appropriate for you to call. Some major teaching hospitals may also have mental health clinics where they see people at low cost. Such a clinic may be open even during isolation.

(2) If you live in a large city, there may be training institutes for postgraduates in psychology and social work. The interns at these organizations see individuals and couples, usually at low cost. Students are supervised, which helps assure quality care. In addition, you can check out the American Psychological Association, or the National Association of Social Workers, to find counselors in your area.

(3) Church-run and not-for-profit organizations exist in many cities that either offer low-cost counseling or offer referrals and can help you find a therapist who sees people on a sliding scale. Mental Health America has tips on locating providers and paying for care. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Association (SAMHSA) has a National Helpline – 1-800-662-HELP (4357) Even for people who are not suicidal, the Suicide Prevention LIfeline can direct you to low-cost or free counseling in your area.

(4) Many counselors with private practices offer sliding fee services, and are doing sessions via phone or video.  Your primary health care provider can make a referral for you. Friends who live in the area you're moving to may have recommendations.

(5) Books can also help.  "Guidelines for Finding and Using Therapy Wisely" has steps to follow to find a suitable counselor at a reasonable fee.  There are many free articles  on my website which can help you solve relationship problems.  

How to Be Happy Partners: Working it out Together  can help you learn the skills you need to work together to solve problems.

 

Happy Partners cover

For low-cost counseling, email me at tina@tinatessina.com

Author's Bio: 

Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D. is a licensed psychotherapist in S. California since 1978 with over 30 years experience in counseling individuals and couples and author of 13 books in 17 languages, including It Ends With You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction; The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again; Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Fighting About the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Marriage, The Commuter Marriage, and her newest, Love Styles: How to Celebrate Your Differences. She writes the “Dr. Romance” blog, and the “Happiness Tips from Tina” email newsletter.