Dear Annie: I want to do therapy, but I don't think I can afford it right now. I've done a few sessions in the past, but I don't want to keep hopping from doctor to doctor; I want to find someone I vibe well with and stick with that person. So, my problem is this: How do I afford a good therapist?
In my experience, the cheaper therapists aren't as good at their jobs (or at least haven't worked for me). I know there are lots of online counseling options, but they don't feel as effective as meeting with someone in person. I figure I'll just have to see which therapists have availability and take my insurance, but I'm hoping there's some way to make that process easier. — Thinking of Therapy
Dear Thinking of Therapy: Your decision to have face-to-face therapy is a great one. If you live near a medical school, you should check to see whether it offers counseling from student residents and interns. Many medical schools offer such services at reduced rates. If you have a specific problem that you are dealing with, you could ask the psychiatry department for recommendations to help you with your issue. Instead of online groups, you could also try to find group meetings with people who are facing challenges that are similar to yours. Keep trying and a solution will appear.
Dear Annie: Your response to "Holding the Chair Down," the gentleman who recently lost his mother and is finding himself depressed and uninterested in his old hobbies, may have missed something. He mentioned that he no longer has many friends whom he keeps in touch with, and you said that his old interests and friendships will come back in time.
It may be that the loss of his mother has affected him more profoundly. Caring for his mother may have filled his retirement and given him meaning that he is now looking for. It may be that his old solitary hobbies do not give him the social interactions he needs. I would suggest that he make an effort to find a couple of places where he could volunteer his time in the company of other people. He also could take some classes in new subjects. Political parties always need help at the polls, and he might find like-minded souls that way. He could volunteer at his house of worship. And are there local libraries that need someone to volunteer time with student groups? Are there tutoring or literacy groups he could help? Maybe he could volunteer at a hospital. Maybe he could teach a continuing education course in car repair or assist in an ongoing course. He could try dance lessons; many clubs are always looking for men willing to learn.
He should try to do something soon, and he should make a commitment to himself to stick it out for at least three months before quitting. There are many places where he could make new friends and feel useful again. I wish him success and happiness. — Esther
Dear Esther: Thank you so much for your wonderful suggestions. I think "Holding the Chair Down" will appreciate them, too.
"Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie" is out now! Annie Lane's debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to [email protected]