What is Counseling?

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Counseling and Therapy: Finding Emotional Support on the Web

Life's events can occasionally lead to an array of complicated feelings and emotions. Sometimes we're able to sort out these feelings ourselves, or with the help of family or friends. Other times, it might be necessary to talk to a trained counselor or therapist who can help us get to the root of our difficulties. If you or someone you know needs this specialized assistance, the Web sites in this guide can point you in the right direction.

What is Counseling?

Sharing problems with someone you've never met isn't always easy. Or maybe you want help, but the issues are so overwhelming you don't know where to start. If you're thinking about talking to a therapist or counselor, or want to determine whether professional help is for you, the Web's information can assist in your decision-making.

Dulcinea's Insight

  • If you are seriously considering harming yourself or someone else, dial 911 for help immediately.
  • The Web can be a good tool for getting some preliminary information about emotions and other disorders, but your best bet is going to a medical professional to get accurate, prompt care. If you suspect that someone is in real danger, contact a physician or emergency services to get help right away.

Dulcinea's Picks

For an overview of therapy …
For help determining if you should seek counseling …
For questions to ask your therapist …
For help recommending counseling to a family member or friend …
For help finding the right therapist …
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Types of Therapy

A variety of counseling/therapy options exist today and the help you choose depends primarily on your needs and preferences. The following Web sites teach you about some of the options available to those who need someone to talk to.

Dulcinea's Insight

  • Remember to be patient in your search for a mental health provider, whether you're looking on the Web or speaking with another physician for recommendations on professional assistance. Choosing someone to help you with your problems is a big decision and it's not one you want to make hastily.
  • Online counseling (also known as "e-therapy") is a growing trend among mental health providers. If you don't have access to suitable mental health resources in your area, or you'd prefer to speak with a professional located in another area, it's possible to find a therapist or counselor who would be willing to visit with you online or via telephone.
  • If you're interested in online counseling, check on a therapist's Web site to see if this option is available with that particular professional.

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For marriage counselors …
For family counseling resources …
For group therapy resources …
For online counseling/e-therapy …
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Problems Addressed in Therapy

Many times, counselors and therapists are trained to deal with a variety of mental, emotional, and social problems. If you need help finding a counselor who deals with a particular issue, the Web can get you started.

Dulcinea's Insight

  • Any problem or event that is causing you significant distress may be worth discussing with a professional. We've selected some common reasons people choose to attend therapy and provided relevant Web sites below. If your problem isn't mentioned below, the American Psychological Association has an extensive list of topics and information about mental health and emotional problems people encounter.

Dulcinea's Picks

For help dealing with depression …
For grief counseling …
For anger management counseling …
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Children and Therapy

Sometimes children have problems that go far deeper than what you might normally attribute to just being a "phase." If your child isn't talking to you and you wonder if someone else could help, the Web can direct you to professionals who are trained to help children sort out their feelings.

Dulcinea's Insight

  • If you are unable to find a counselor for your child using the Web, consider asking the clergy at your house of worship or trusted counselors for help. Your child's doctor may also be able to offer recommendations.
  • Consider what may be the cause of your child's need for counseling services. For example, if the problem is alcoholism (be it an adult relative with a problem or the child's own problem), a national or local organization such as Alcoholics Anonymous may be able to help or connect you to the right resources. Many national assistance organizations have local branches around the country and can recommend counseling help.

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To find resources for kids …
To find resources for parents …
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Paying for Counseling and Therapy

Financial considerations may affect your decision to seek therapy. The Web can tell you what you need to know about paying for therapy or counseling and whether you can expect your insurance company to chip in.

Dulcinea's Insight

  • Make sure you have verified the legitimacy of any online (or in person) counseling you receive in order to protect yourself from being subject to scams or fraud.
  • If you find a therapist's site online, you'll likely find a fee schedule somewhere on the site.

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For out-of-pocket payment …
For health insurance information …
For low-income resources …
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Mental Health Peer Support

If you'd like support from an online community in addition to any advice you're receiving from a counselor or other therapist, the Web has several message boards and blogs where you're likely to find people chatting about the same situations you are facing.

Dulcinea's Insight

  • Remember that your safety is paramount when discussing personal issues on the Web. If you join a message board, consider using a nickname you've never used elsewhere. See our findingDulcinea Internet Security Web Guide for more tips about staying safe online.
  • Blogs written by people struggling with an emotional problem or other disorder may have infrequent updates. Sometimes the authors have to focus more on handling their own difficulties than on updating their blogs.

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For message boards …
For blogs …
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