Are there free or low-cost therapy resources online?
August 31, 2009 11:13 AM   Subscribe

Low-cost and/or free therapy resources?

So I've decided I would benefit from seeing a therapist - mild blues/depression from time to time, along with some ongoing self-esteem issues - but the timing couldn't be worse, as we're about to switch to a health savings account plan at work, one that would make therapy prohibitively expensive for me.

Are there low-cost and/or free therapy resources online - therapists that will have email exchanges or chat sessions, supportive "group talk" groups/forums, that kind of thing?

(I'm aware that many therapists charge on a scale of what you can afford, and I'm exploring that too, but I'm still thinking that the traditional route may not be in the cards. But I really would like to talk some stuff out.)
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (6 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
There are a lot of fairly serious ethical concerns with doing things online in that format, so you will have a pretty tough time finding legitimate/competent therapists who will, but nothing is impossible. The only problem is that the therapists who are offering services like that aren't worrying about the ethical concerns (confidentiality, privacy, factors affecting the ability to build a strong connection between client and therapist, lack of necessary information about the presentation of the person seeking counseling, possible reinforcement of negative coping strategies like avoiding face-to-face contact with other people, ad infinitum), and that's what would worry me about being on the receiving end of that counseling. I'm sure there are a lot of peer-led sources for support online in group format, and depending on what your personal concerns/issues are, you might be able to find something exceptional. Peer-led online communities around depression (and bipolar disorder) and anxiety are very strong.

Here is a link to find in-person sliding scale counseling across the US:
posted by so_gracefully at 11:50 AM on August 31, 2009

There is Daily Strength - online support groups.
posted by cda at 12:01 PM on August 31, 2009 [1 favorite]

There is Mood Gym which has been mentioned on AskMe before.

Also a report on yesterday spoke about a free internet-based education and treatment programs for people with anxiety and depression. According to the report, this on-line treatment has been successful in its first trial. It is called Virtual Clinic. From their website: "VirtualClinic is a not-for-profit initiative of the Clinical Research Unit for Anxiety and Depression (CRUfAD) at St Vincent's Hospital, Sydney, Australia and the School of Psychiatry, University of New South Wales, Australia." These are both top-notch research centres.

They are now looking for participants for their second set of trials. There are online exercises, homework, a forum and email communication between the therapists and participants.
posted by Kerasia at 4:06 PM on August 31, 2009 [1 favorite]

Some locations in the United States offer human resources referrals over the phone if you call 211.

You might be able to find no-cost or low-cost local resources that way.
posted by Gorgik at 9:08 PM on August 31, 2009

You might be interested in checking out BlueBoard. It's a free and anonymous bulletin board for people who suffer from depression and anxiety disorders. It's run by the creators of the MoodGYM, e-couch and BluePages programs which are also free.
(MoodGYM is online CBT; e-couch offers a range of therapies, including CBT, for depression, general anxiety and social anxiety; BluePages offers evidence-based information about depression).
posted by new_dawn at 7:29 PM on September 2, 2009 [1 favorite]

oops - here's those links again BlueBoard MoodGYM ecouch BluePages
Sorry out that :)
posted by new_dawn at 7:34 PM on September 2, 2009

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