Dear Annie: I notice that often the advice you offer is to "get counseling." But what happens in counseling? Can you explain how it helps? — L.
Dear L.: The point of counseling or therapy is to help you determine what it is you want to accomplish and how to get there. This could be a career goal, a marital dispute, a problem with family members or anything that is causing difficulty for you and that you cannot resolve on your own. A good counselor/therapist will help you set appropriate goals and work with you to achieve them. Counselors (e.g., psychologists, licensed social workers) are generally well trained and licensed. Therapists (e.g., psychiatrists and psychoanalysts) usually have additional training and can prescribe medication.
When choosing someone to see, we recommend getting a referral through your physician, a friend or relative, or an accredited licensing association such as the American Psychiatric Assn. (psych.org), the American Psychological Assn. (apa.org) or the National Association of Social Workers (socialworkers.org). It may help to find one who specializes in your particular problem. Not all counselors will be a good match, and it may require a session or two before you decide whether you are comfortable with this person or need to find someone else.
When you first see the counselor/therapist, you may be asked what you wish to accomplish or what you want to work on. Some problems can be resolved in a few sessions, but more complicated ones can take longer. It is important that you be totally honest with the counselor, as anything else is a waste of your time and money. And if the counselor makes suggestions, do the work. Nothing will change if you don't make the effort.
Dear Annie: Our daughter is getting married soon. We have paid for all the usual services at a wedding, but we have a question about the photographer and the disc jockey.
Both of these people own their businesses. These owners will be the ones providing the services at the wedding, with no other employees present. Some people say we should tip them for their time and services. We feel that since they own their businesses, their profit includes their tip. Right or wrong? — To Tip or Not To Tip
Dear Tip: You do not need to tip the owners of the photography studio or the disc jockey who is self-employed. They don't expect to be tipped. However, should they go above and beyond what you hired them for, you may wish to add a gratuity as a way of saying "thanks."
Dear Annie: The letter from "Very Blessed, But Hurt" expressed bewilderment that she was not named in her mother-in-law's will, despite she and her mother-in-law having a close and wonderful relationship.
I'm a retired lawyer who wrote many wills over the years. I hope this dear lady listens to your advice that she should not feel slighted. Her mother-in-law's will sounds pretty standard to me. The testatrix leaves her estate to her son and, should her son not survive her, then to the son's children. Most wills that I wrote went along those same lines.
Perhaps "Blessed" herself comes from a family in which testators name everyone they love, but my own experience is that such a tradition would be far from the norm. Many people, when planning the disposal of their estates, work hard not to let emotions impinge on what they view as a simple business transaction, and they bequeath scrupulously equal amounts to both the faithful, favorite child and the black sheep who disowned the family decades ago. — Voice of Experience
This Classic Annie's Mailbox column was originally published in 2014. To find out more about Classic Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit Creators Syndicate at www.creators.com.
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