Psychological Self-Help

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46
Social Workers, are commonly listed in the Yellow Pages, but so are
counselors with questionable qualifications. Thus, it is important to get
recommendations from people who know the available practitioners--a
School Counselor or Psychologist, a therapist at your Community
Mental Health Center, an EAP counselor at work, or the psychiatrist
who is prescribing your psych medications. These people's
recommendations are more likely to be on target if they know a little
about the nature of your problems. Sometimes, Primary Care
Physicians, Ministers, and friends or relatives who have been in
therapy know something about local therapists but often they do not.
(A therapist who is seeing or has seen a relative or a close friend is
usually not a good choice for you.) 
If you are "on your own" looking for a therapist in private practice,
of Psychologists (http://www.nationalregister.com/), which does a
good job of checking each practitioner's credentials. The site is
searchable so you can find psychologists by state and by types of
problems treated. Another approach is to find the Psychological
Association Web site in your state using a search engine or by going to
the New York Psychological Association (http://www.nyspa.org/) site,
which has links to most other states. Many states provide a phone
number to call for a free referral service based on the problem and the
specialization of the therapist (all licensed). 
There are many places on the Internet where you can get
psychotherapy entirely online. I have three personal opinions about
that: (1) if I had a choice of seeing a therapist face to face vs. writing
to him/her by email or in a chat room, I believe I'd benefit more from
the face to face experience, (2) while there are excellent therapists
available both face to face and online, it would by my guess that there
is a higher percentage of inexperienced, poorly trained, and
unqualified practitioners online than in offices, and (3) since most
HMOs and Insurance Companies do not, yet, pay for online
professional services, the expense to you is likely to be higher than
your co-pay for face to face therapy covered by insurance. Yet, for
some people there are important advantages to having their therapist
online. Here are a few fairly large sites which seem to select their
therapists pretty carefully: HelpHorizons.com
(http://www.helphorizons.com/), Metanoia
(http://www.metanoia.org/) (this offers a free checking of credentials
and a listing of online providers), Online Clinics.com
(
http://www.onlineclinics.com/), and others. Be aware that there are
hundreds of therapists who have their own Web sites and offer therapy
and advice--find them through your search engine and check their
credentials yourself. 
There are also a few Web sites that simply help you find a therapist
(of course, the therapist usually pays for this locating service): 1-
800-THERAPIST(http://www.1-800-therapist.com/) (this site provides
personal assistance in matching you with a therapist and also offers
some good advice about how to handle a person who is reluctant to
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