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How to Obtain Free Couples Counseling

by Kelly Morris

Couples counseling can help couples, married or not, improve communication skills, learn to compromise, solve problems, support each other and strengthen their relationship. Counselors also help couples with problems related to parenting, infidelity, substance abuse and domestic violence. Some couples find the cost of counseling prohibitive, though, especially if they don’t have health insurance that covers it. But resources exist that provide free or low-cost counseling for those in need.

Local Mental Health Departments

Most counties have departments of mental health or similar agencies that provide funding for counseling services for people who need free or low-cost services. Contact your county department of mental health to find out about this. If there is no department of mental health in your country, try your local health department.

Nonprofit Social Service Organizations

Many nonprofit social service organizations, such as Catholic Social Services, Lutheran Social Services, Jewish Social Services, Family Services and others, offer low-cost or free couples counseling. Organizations such as Catholic Social Services and Jewish Social Services provide services to people of all religions. Often these agencies use a sliding fee scale, so they base your fee on income. The nearest United Way might also point you to social service organizations that offer affordable or free counseling in your area.

Employee Assistance Programs

Designed to benefit both employees and employers, employee assistance programs help employees with personal problems that might affect job performance, including marital problems. Not all employers offer employee assistance programs, and programs vary, but many offer at least a few free couples counseling sessions. Check with your human resources department to find out what your employer offers.

Talk to Your Clergy

Members of the clergy often counsel couples, though not all have formal training or education in the field of counseling. If you’re interested in counseling from a religious or spiritual perspective, check with your clergy. Ask about the counseling-related training, education and credentials of a religious counselor before deciding whether he is the right counselor for you. Even if you don’t attend worship regularly, you may be able to receive counseling from clergy. Some places of worship also pay for parishioners to see a professional counselor when needed, says the Rev. Michael Andrews of Mansfield, Ohio.

About the Author

Kelly Morris has been making a living as a writer since 2004. She attended the College of Mount St. Joseph with a major in social work and minor in women's studies. Her work has appeared in a number of print publications including Caregivers Home Companion, Midwifery Today and Guide.

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