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Is free counseling crappy?

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Helen of Troy posted 9/12/2013 05:55 AM

Ok SI rules are no generalizing.
I will speak from my experience, yes. One public employer sponsored counselor only wanted to push religion, was uncomfortable when I discussed certain elements of xwh infidelity details. Another system that I reached out to for help for my kids feels like they stabbed me in the back, raped by the system that was supposed to help us.
In my case I got what I paid for.
In my case it felt like they want to cross the tick boxes, cover their asses and who cares who benefits or who it hurts or puts strain on.
There's no empathy, human kindness. If you get free therapy you are talked to as stupid.
I've lost my faith in helping professions that are free.
SI has given me wisdom into viewing my own actions, taking responsibility, and seeing things how they really are. I have benefitted here because in my opinion it seems like some people must go to high priced therapy and they are generous enough to share what they've learned, so the rest of us can use it if we need it.
What has been your experience with free therapy?
Or does anything really work? or is it just a band-aid, a feel good thing that doesn't amount to anything positive or long lasting for the person receiving it?
Please don't generalize, but I do want to know your experience.

NaiveAgain posted 9/12/2013 06:13 AM

It truly depends on the person. Counselors/therapists vary widely! Some can literally save your life and some can do pretty bad damage.

I had one for my DD that I quit going to, because even after I explained that he was a diagnosed psychopath, she kept asking my DD to talk to him about her emotions and how he made her feel! don't give psychos more ammo!

Our general mental health facility here does a sliding fee scale. I've gone to them when I had insurance that was paying a decent amount and I've also gone when I didn't and my portion would only be $13 (close to free!)

But again, it really depended on who I saw there. I had one therapist who treated me for my PTSD there who made a huge difference in my life and helped me to stop walking around like a robot with my emotions all bottled up, and my DD did get one that understood exactly what she was dealing with and helped her get her feelings and emotions out.

I've also gone to a religious based facility before when I lived elsewhere. That counselor was also wonderful and did NOT push religion on us....and also, surprisingly, did not try to help me "save" my marriage (this was years ago when I was married to the psycho.) She understood he was abusive and helped us adjust and understand that it would be better to get away from him.

Again, I have a lot of experience with counseling and in school to become one. I see the classes filled with other students that are also going to be out there in this field. Some of these students are going to make excellent counselors and some not so much.

[This message edited by NaiveAgain at 6:15 AM, September 12th (Thursday)]

InnerLight posted 9/12/2013 09:41 AM

12 step groups are almost like free group therapy. Obviously more like a support group than therapy as there is no trained therapist assigned to facilitate. I've been to great groups and groups I didn't resonate with. But they are an amazing system and pretty much everyone can find a 12 step group that applies.

I've done a lot of psychotherapy and I've learned its a good idea to shop around and try sample meetings to see how well you resonate. There are people who have life experiences and natural empathic ways that are great counselors and others, even if they are really well trained and charge a lot of money that are not good at what they do.

Free or not free you have to shop around and interview different therapists before settling on the one you resonate with the most.

I do think if it's free because there is NO training whatsoever that some basic guidelines of decent therapy might be overlooked, which will block healing. Such as making judgements and offering your opinion and advice when it's better to listen and ask questions to draw out the person so they understand themselves better.

[This message edited by InnerLight at 9:43 AM, September 12th (Thursday)]

traicionada posted 9/15/2013 10:38 AM

No. I run a community health center & all of our mental/behavioral health services are free of charge. I'm proud to say I have an outstanding team to counselors & behaviorists who are compassionate & highly trained. Please don't give up on free counseling; there's a group of us out there still trying to make a difference

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