Advice Columns

Dear Abby: Paying for help from a professional creates its own problems

DEAR ABBY: In many advice columns it is often suggested to “seek professional help,” such as a psychologist or psychiatrist. This is a practical solution but most often quite expensive to the point of being prohibitive.

Where else can one turn to find assistance that will be practical, ongoing and cost-effective rather than something that immediately throws up a roadblock to wellness? — Detoured by Finances

DEAR DETOURED: Some of these suggestions might be helpful:

▪ Contact a university medical school if there is one in your community and ask to speak to the department of psychiatry. Ask whether it has an outpatient clinic. If it does, inquire there. If not, ask whether someone on the staff deals with problems like the ones you’re experiencing.

▪ If you live in a town with a college, find out whether it has a graduate school. If so, does the graduate school have a psychology program and a clinic that charges on a sliding financial scale? If there is no clinic, ask whether someone on the staff of the psychology department sees people privately and what’s the person’s phone number. Then contact that person.

▪ People can get referrals from mental health organizations. The largest credentialed ones are the American Psychological Association, the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, and the National Association of Social Workers. These are legitimate organizations and have professional standards.

▪ You can locate government-funded agencies with psychiatric services by going on the Internet. Some hospitals refer to community service organizations. In any emergency room, you can contact the hospital’s outreach to community development programs as well.

The joke’s not funny

DEAR ABBY: My husband and a friend of mine joke about being an item. They do this in public and in front of me. They hug, hold hands or rub each other’s shoulders, but I don’t think anything more goes on.

These activities offend and embarrass me. My husband says that the jokes are innocuous, that I’m too sensitive and that I’m making a mountain out of a molehill. He says they certainly wouldn’t act that way in public if they were really seeing each other on the sly.

Do you think I’m being overly sensitive about this? — Disrespected

DEAR DISRESPECTED: I don’t think you’re being overly sensitive. That it’s “innocent” is beside the point. Because you have told them that their touchy-feely demonstrations of affection for each other offend and embarrass you, out of respect for you, they should cut it out.

Write Dear Abby at DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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