Print Posted on 05/01/2017 in Community Counseling

The Mission of OpenCounseling

The Mission of OpenCounseling

If you’re reading this looking for the answer of how to find counseling that’s actually affordable and effective, you are in the right place. Across the country, in every city large and small, Americans are facing an arduous journey – locating mental health care necessary that’s for themselves and their loved ones. Despite multiple professional designations, thousands of licensed practitioners, and a growing public focus on the importance of this issue, people everywhere face obstacle after obstacle in actually reaching those trained clinicians who can help them make a real difference in their lives.

And why is this? At OpenCounseling, we think we know the reason. Trained counselors face their own journey, often undergoing years of education, supervision, training, and examination before receiving the honor of working with the country’s most vulnerable. Counselors deserve a fair compensation for the service they perform, and many work with insurance companies to make therapy an affordable process for their clients.

However, we’ve also seen the other side of this, especially in certain areas where therapists are less numerous or the cost-of-living is much higher. In these cases, affordable therapy may be out of reach for those living with a need for counseling, especially for people who lack mental health coverage or health insurance. For those most in need, often they are forced to go without counseling, or seek out services with long wait-lists and less experienced practitioners. We believe that this issue, the idea that a person’s income and ability to pay would restrict their access to needed mental health services, is an injustice.

When we made the decision to become counselors, we probably did it not for the money, or the prestige, but for the desire to help other people. These ideals are even embedded into many of the codes of ethics from which we are professionally obligated as well. For clinical social workers, they “are encouraged to volunteer some portion of their professional skills with no expectation of significant financial return (pro bono service)… [and] when setting fees, social workers should ensure that the fees are fair, reasonable, and commensurate with the services performed. Consideration should be given to clients’ ability to pay.” Marriage and Family Therapists are held to a similar standard: “Marriage and family therapists embody these aspirations by participating in activities that contribute to a better community and society, including devoting a portion of their professional activity to services for which there is little or no financial return.”

As professional counselors, we all have the ethical responsibility to help ensure that a client’s ability to pay doesn’t impact their ability to get mental health treatment. That’s the purpose of this directory – our mission is to help link consumers, at no cost to them, with qualified and affordable professionals who can help them with their needs. We believe everyone has this right, and we are working every day to spread this message to both consumers and mental health professionals across the United States. 


 

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