Can I really help you - even if you only have a 'quick question'?
The likelihood is that you've landed on this page by clicking on a link in one of my emails (or via my blog).
Perhaps you were hoping that I could help you, because you're feeling hurt, let down, sad or just totally stressed out.
You may be worrying where it might all lead to and whether you, or your partner, can stick it out - your marriage, your job, your studies or even life itself.
On this page I'll help you find the right kind of free or affordable services for you. I'll also explain why I unfortunately can't offer you any personal support or advice myself, however much I'd like to.
Information needed for the best (marriage) counseling and advice
Every day I get requests from visitors to my site:
And many more requests like these.
I find it really hard that I can't respond to such calls for help with support and advice, because I so understand how frightened, hurt or angry you might feel.
However, there are a couple of key reasons why I can't...
Free or affordable counseling requires the same standards as fairly paid counseling
Counselling, whether it is free, low-cost or fairly paid, requires the same commitment and investment from the practitioner in terms of:
... training (many years at significant costs)
... maintenance of registration
... regular clinical consultation/supervision (also costly)
... and time to be available for - and of use to - each and every client, be that face-to-face or by email.
Even if just one of those things is missing, it's likely that any counselling you receive won't be as beneficial for you as it could be.
Many a (couple- or marriage counsellor) or psychotherapist offers time to a charitable organisation as well as running a private practice or working for a helping organisation. Or they spend time offering free quality information in some other way.
I personally spend most of my working days developing my website and regularly adding new articles with advice for all kinds of problems. The majority of the information here is freely available, but this does mean I don't have any time left over to give high quality personalised advice.
Here's what would be required if I'd offer you counselling...
Offering free marriage counselling?
I would need to get the full picture of your situation
I would need to know tons about you if I were to be able to help you personally.
I'd have to ask you many questions to really understand how you (and your partner) feel.
I would need to know how you manage in your own particular situation: how you cope or not, what your hopes and dreams are.
I would need to know the where, when and what of your behaviour (and that of your partner).
You can perhaps imagine how much time that would take to do per email!
- To get an idea of what I would ask my clients if they needed help with personal problems have a look at this article and the questions in my article on problem solving strategies.
- To understand better what's involved in marriage (relationship) counselling, read my article on couple or marriage counselling.
I hope this page helps you to understand why I really can't answer any questions by email or in any other way.
My time is best spent developing this website to the best of my ability, so that as many people as possible - across the world - can benefit from the free information and advice I provide.
With some help, you can be your own counsellor!
Helping and working on yourself (yes, I know it sounds boring, probably not what you want and possibly fluffy!) is the most affordable and effective way to bring about positive changes in your life! You may not even need any free or affordable counselling at all.
To be your own counsellor, all you need is - in no particular order:
- The willingness and ability to be dead-honest with yourself
- A non-judgemental attitude towards yourself, your partner and others
- To be able to separate the problem (behaviour) from the person (in other words: there is more to you, and your partner, than the issue)
- A willingness to accept that neither of you are necessarily 'wrong', but that you're both looking at the problem from a different angle
- A willingness to stop blaming
- Courage! You'll have to do something different if you want another outcome. If you keep doing the same things then nothing will change
- Accept that you do not have any control over someone else
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Here's how to get a head-start
Now, I suspect that you may need a bit of a head-start, and this is where I can help you because my website is packed full of information and advice.
So, do keep exploring the site!
Read all you can - even if you think it doesn't apply to you, because it can help 'embed' new knowledge. Reading and re-reading stuff helps you to remember it.
Spend time imagining how you'd apply the advice you read to your situation. Imagine yourself acting out the information in rich, detailed, movie-form - as if you're already in that situation.
Get additional help - connect with an online, professional, licensed therapist - you won't have to commit to lengthy ongoing sessions.
Whatever you do, do something! Don't keep putting it off - the problem won't go away by itself.
Where to get free or affordable counselling near you
Now you know that unfortunately I personally can't offer you the help you need, have a look at my page on getting the right kind of counselling for you.
Here are some other ideas on how you may be able to get free or low-cost couple or marriage counselling near you:
- You can get free or affordable help by googling your particular issue - be it a relationship problem like infidelity, or an alcohol addiction or any other specific mental health problem. There is soooo much information freely available. Be sure you check the credentials of the author, though.
- In addition, your place of work might provide free access to a counselling service.
- Your medical centre may offer affordable counselling sessions.
- Your insurance package may include 'free' access to a limited number of sessions with a counsellor or therapist.
- Your church or other religious center may have trained helpers - professionals or volunteers.
- Specialist, often free, services are available in many towns (and online) for you if you are in an abusive relationship (in which case specially trained police officers can be of huge help too).
- Someone in your own environment may be able to offer a listening ear, without feeling the need to start off-loading their own troubles! Have a look out for that one non-judgemental soul who's able to impart that little bit of wisdom that could just make all the difference to you. Be sure to read my article on getting trustworthy support first though.
I wish I could have been of more help to you, to have been able to reach out to you personally. I know from professional as well as personal experience how tough life can be and how much you need someone to be there for you, to have your back and support you.
Know that you are much stronger than you think you are. You've got this. I'm rooting for you!