Anyone who reads my blog for any amount of time knows that I see great value in professional counseling.
I personally go to a counselor about once a month, because I appreciate having a sounding board who is objective.
My friends and my husband are awesome support, but there also is value in hearing the wisdom and insights from someone who does not have a personal relationship with me.
She helps me “think out loud,” particularly about some of my goals and angst. Counseling simply offers a lot to life’s journey, whether it is for personal reasons or marriage struggles.
Honestly, I think the world would be a kinder and better place if everyone sat across from a counselor on a regular basis.
Obviously, I think it’s best to find a professional counselor who is the right fit for you and shares your values.
All that being said…
I know that professional counseling can be expensive, especially if you don’t have insurance that will cover all or part of the charges.
Some counselors do offer sliding fee scales, on a case-by-case basis, based on your situation or income level, but not all do. You have to ask if such sliding scales are available.
Here are three ideas if you can’t afford professional counseling:
1. Check with your church or another local church.
I realize you may feel trepidation to talk to your pastor or another person on a church staff about your marriage.
Sometimes that trepidation is well founded. Just because pastors have been to seminary, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are equipped to counsel on some of the more difficult aspects of marriage (including sex). Even some pastors would agree with what I just wrote.
But if you can’t afford a professional marriage counselor, don’t rule out courageously approaching your pastor, someone else on the church staff who you trust, or even someone at another church.
Tell them you and/or your spouse need to talk to someone about some struggles in your marriage, but you are limited on funds.
They may indeed be equipped to talk with you and your spouse OR they may know of other community resources OR they may have a line in the church budget specifically for subsidizing counseling needs of church members.
And even if they can’t help you find one-on-one counseling, they may know of marriage classes, DVD series, workshops and seminars that offer specific and sound marital wisdom to heal and grow your marriage.
Discouraged to have to ask? I get that.
But it’s also discouraging to have your marriage suffer without any effort to move it in a healthier direction.
2. Consider resources through local colleges and universities.
When people are studying to be counselors, they often have to complete internship hours or practical hours. In other words, they are still students, but they need to get experience counseling people.
Sometimes they do these hours at an office set up at the school. And sometimes they work under a local licensed counselor.
These services are often offered free or for a reduced charge.
If you want counseling, this is a route to at least explore in your own community or neighboring communities.
3. Find a mentor.
Do you know of a couple who has been married longer than you and your spouse who seem to be wise and compassionate?
There is a lot to be said for marriage mentoring, where more experienced couples speak into couples who have been married for a shorter period of time.
Certainly I think it is wise to make sure such a couple shares your values.
Not sure where to find a couple like this? What about at your church or in your neighborhood or through other connections you have? Some churches even have mentoring ministries specifically for marriage.
Even if you can’t find another couple who fits what you need, consider you and your spouse each having your own mentors. As a woman, you should have a female mentor, and your husband should have a male mentor.
What you are looking for is someone who is a mature Christian, will pray for you and your spouse, will listen non-judgmentally, will keep all conversations in confidence, and will encourage you biblically.
If you can’t immediately think of mentors of this sort, pray that the Lord would reveal someone to you.
When it comes to counseling, all of the above options are worth exploring.
And even if you can afford a professional counselor, the above options could be amazing supplemental ways to also strengthen your marriage.
The old cliche that “You’ll never know unless you ask” has a lot of truth behind it.
The older I get, the more I discover resources and insights right at my finger tips, all because I asked.
Copyright 2015, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog. Links may be monetized.
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13 thoughts on “3 Ideas if You Can’t Afford Professional Marriage Counseling”
Good advice, Julie. I wish I hadn’t waited so long to seek counseling. The downside is I’m doing this on my own as my bride doesn’t think we need it.
Good read. Please explain why it should be this way (same gender)… “Even if you can’t find another couple who fits what you need, consider you and your spouse each having your own mentors. As a woman, you should have a female mentor, and your husband should have a male mentor.
I agree with what Charles said, above. If your spouse won’t go to counseling together, do some research and find a good counselor and go yourself. This is what I had to do. Finally, years later, my husband finally agreed to go because he saw how unhappy I was in the marriage and he finally came to the place where he wanted us both to be happy again. While the counseling was short lived and at first, I don’t think it did us a whole lot of good, it finally has paid off as we have both been working on issues that were pointed out in counseling. At first, I honestly didn’t feel like my husband’s heart was in it, that he was just going to appease me. But he did learn a lot about himself from the short 9-10 month period we went to years ago. Even though we stopped marital counseling, I am still seeing my own counselor about once a month to every 6 weeks.
Sometimes you do have to go it alone whether your spouse agrees to go to marital counseling or not and definitely get help for yourself. Sometimes, often times, getting help for yourself and making changes in yourself, has a ripple effect in your relationship as I have noticed my spouse working on certain issues himself even though he is no longer going to marital counseling and never wanted to seek individual counseling for himself to deal with his issues.
@Kiley… I just think that if a wife has a male mentor; or a husband has a female mentor, the risk of miscommunication or misunderstandings is greater. This is especially true if someone is struggling in their marriage. Sympathy and compassion can easily start to look like romantic interest.
In my opinion, just better to have women have female mentors and men have male mentors. This greatly reduces the risks of temptation and impropriety.
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It really is amazing that one should focused really on the relationship wit his/her spouse.
If you are suffering with any kind of problems in your relationship, then you would regret your decision of neglecting it.
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None of these suggestions are possible or suitable really. If you can’t afford it, you can’t afford it and that’s that. You have to go without therapy, remain in the situation you are in and just try to work things out for yourself. Sometimes there is no human support.
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In the UK our churches are even more backward when it comes to discussing sex. There is no way on earth (or any other planet for that matter) that most of us here could go to our church leaders for counselling on sex. The thought actually makes me laugh.