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.
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.
- 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.
For an overview of therapy …
has a great article that defines therapy and its purpose, and explains what happens during a therapy session. Don't be put off by the fact that the information from this site is geared toward teenagers. The overview is sound and helpful to anyone.
briefly describes the different types of therapists, psychologists and psychiatrists who provide counseling and therapy.
For help determining if you should seek counseling …
has created a simple test that can provide a preliminary basis for determining whether you should seek help from a therapist. This site also features a “Diagnosis Dictionary
” to help you understand therapy terms and conditions, as well as several "Topic Centers," which delve deeper into issues like anxiety, relationships, stress, and work problems.
The American Psychiatric Association
presents HealthyMinds.org, which addresses mental health issues for individuals and families. Review the "Let's Talk Facts" brochures for information on specific mental health problems. The site also has several "Special Sections" discussing mental health needs for various demographics.
has a “Test your relationship” quiz, a short interactive quiz that offers advice on how to proceed with your relationship.
For questions to ask your therapist …
For help recommending counseling to a family member or friend …
features “Children of Divorce,” which offers advice for teachers who feel they may need to recommend counseling for children whose parents are in the middle of a divorce. It also offers a list of suggested books to help deal with this difficult time.
For help finding the right therapist …
The Mental Health Association of Westchester
has an excellent introduction to finding a therapist that covers the types of medical professionals who are qualified to provide therapy, what to expect from therapy, and a general overview of what mental health treatment will cost and whether it is covered by health insurance. Some of the information is specific to Westchester County; to find a therapist in your area, the site recommends contacting your health insurance company for a list of providers.
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.
- 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.
For marriage counselors …
here presents “Marriage counseling: Working through relationship problems,” an article that discusses what marriage counseling is, who can benefit from marriage counseling, and how to choose a marriage counselor. The article links to other topics such as addressing family conflicts, and the types of mental health providers available.
introduces psychotherapy, and relationship and marriage counseling, pointing out the differences and discussing the many types of therapy approaches. Scroll down this lengthy article to read sections devoted to couples, group therapy, telephone and online counseling.
The National Board for Certified Counselors
is an independent, not-for-profit body that certifies counselors who meet its standards for training, experience, and performance on a standard exam. The NBCC has credentialed 42,000 counselors across the country, and its examinations are used by many states for their own credentialing practices. The NBCC maintains a directory of certified counselors, searchable by specialty and city or state.
For family counseling resources …
Rochester Marriage Counseling
includes advice on stepfamilies, parent-child relationships, coping with divorce, marriage, and other issues affecting families. Also look for information on ADHD and facts on anxiety and depression, anger management, and stress.
The Stepfamily Foundation
is dedicated to helping stepfamilies make their new family structure work. The “Articles and Resources” section is loaded with helpful articles for specific family members (moms and dads, grandparents and children) as well as advice on how to navigate holidays like Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. Looking for a counselor in your area? The site offers a directory
of counselors and coaches in the United States and several other countries.
For group therapy resources …
has published an overview of group therapy, its benefits, what you can expect in group therapy, and how to tell if you might be a good candidate for this type of therapy.
For online counseling/e-therapy …
ABC's of "Internet Therapy"
found on metanoia.org, an online therapy site hosted by Psych Central, explains what you should know about seeking online therapy. This site helps you determine whether e-therapy will work for you, how to protect yourself from scam artists, and how to compare e-therapist qualifications.
explains the advantages, disadvantages, and safety issues related to online counseling. This article is a few years old but much of the content is still pertinent.
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.
- 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.
- Counseling and therapy are good places for people to talk about problems before they interfere with daily life. For some, problems are more significant and may require additional treatment, such as medication. To learn more, see the findingDulcinea Mental Health Web Guide.
For help dealing with depression …
has an article about depression, its causes, signs and symptoms, and methods of treatment, with advice about seeking professional help. Keep an eye out for the linked text throughout the article; these provide much more extensive information on specific topics.
has established a “Depression Health Center” that provides an overview of depression symptoms and contains articles, blogs, and message boards about depression. The "Support & Resources
" page includes links to a support group and a tool for finding a therapist near you.
was created by a writer and depression sufferer and aims to help individuals who are connected to someone with clinical depression or bipolar disorder. Learn ways to cope with the impact these disorders have on you and your relationships. A message board is available for support; use of the message board is free but registration is required.
For grief counseling …
The Center for Grief Recovery
explains various types of grief in its "Grief and Loss Resources" section. For advice on how to manage grief in the workplace or during the holidays, visit the “Grief Recovery Articles” area.
For anger management counseling …
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.
- 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.
To find resources for kids …
is a companion site to KidsHealth and has a wide range of articles on the mental health and emotional issues affecting teenagers. The articles are written in a friendly tone and offer teens advice on how to solve their problems and how to talk to parents or other adults.
To find resources for parents …
helps parents and children cope with the changes brought on by divorce. Parents will find tips about raising children with their former spouses, helping children adjust to divorce, acclimating children to living in two separate homes, and more. A link is provided for a 30-minute complimentary telephone consultation
The National Institute of Mental Health
provides advice for parents wondering how to help a child cope with violence or some sort of disaster. The article explains what trauma is, how different age groups respond to an upsetting event, and offers parents suggestions for how to help.
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.
- 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.
For out-of-pocket payment …
The Relationship Resource Center
has an article about the benefits of paying for mental health care out of your own pocket, including flexibility of treatment schedules, confidentiality in your medical records, and the ability to see the therapist of your choosing.
is a site run by a family therapist in Minnesota who does not accept health insurance. This page explains some of the problems associated with using insurance coverage to pay for therapy, and offers a list of benefits of paying for it yourself.
For health insurance information …
The National Mental Health Information Center
is a service of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Here you’ll find a list of frequently asked questions to get you started in finding mental health services and appropriate insurance coverage.
explains some of the problems associated with using insurance coverage to pay for therapy and offers a list of the benefits you’ll experience when you pay for therapy yourself.
For low-income resources …
runs the National Mental Health Information Center, offering suggestions for uninsured individuals who would like to use mental health services but are limited in their options because of financial restrictions. Links to other helpful resources that can aid you in paying for mental health care are also provided.
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.
- 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.
For message boards …
All About Counseling
addresses drug and alcohol abuse in families, troubled children, codependency, and methods of improving family life. Check the "Meeting Directory" link to find in-person meetings in your area or participate in an online meeting.
has message boards for all kinds of emotional health and addiction issues. Simply enter the topic you’d like to discuss, like depression, in the search box and click “Go!". Registration is required to post your own messages.
For blogs …
The Washington Post
reports that for many people struggling with a major (or minor) issue, writing about it in a blog often feels therapeutic.
The Reality of Anxiety
is a blog by a young woman named Aimee who suffers from social anxiety. She offers a detailed look at how a variety of daily activities can affect her anxiety problems, how she addresses the problems, and how she copes with her feelings when she fails to have an anxiety-free day. This blog has won an award for its helpfulness and usefulness to others.
The Eating Disorders Blog
provides information about current studies and research on eating disorders. Contributors of content for this blog include The New York Times and ScienceDaily.
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