Dear Dr. Romance
I am in a same sex 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 unemploymnet but my bills out weigh my income. Do you know how we can find low cost counseling?
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.
(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 (formerly the National Mental Health Association) has tips on locating providers and paying for care. Even for people who are not suicidal, the Suicide Prevention LIfeline can direct you to low-cost or free counseling in your area. If you have a local GLBTQ center, they can also refer you.
(4) Many counselors with private practices offer sliding fee services. 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.
Love Styles: How to Celebrate Your Differences is full of information and exercises that can help you learn to work together to solve problems.
For free relationship tips and courses, and low-cost video counseling, see LoveForever.com
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