Q. I want to start seeing a therapist or counselor for myself. I don’t know where to go or who to talk to. I have a four year old daughter who has started seeing an occupational therapist because of behavior problems. And I pretty sure they stem from the envoirment she spent the first three years of her life. Her father and I used to fight all the time. It was very rare for us not to be fighting, so I’m sure that’s the way she learned how to communicate. Reading her evaluation and intake reports it makes me relieve that maybe I should confront the troubles I have in my life (past & present) so that I can be a good mother for her and be able to give her a safe and stable enviorment. I don’t know what to do. I don’t even know where to start. please give me any advise you have.

A. You are doing the right thing. Getting help for yourself will absolutely help your daughter. I commend you for your efforts. I cannot give you specific advice on exactly where to call since I am not familiar with the mental health facilities that exist in the state of Alaska. Generally, you can start searching for a therapist several ways. If you have health insurance, you can call the phone number on the back of your insurance card and ask your insurance company for names of therapists in your network. Your insurance company should be able to give you names and phone numbers of therapists, and may even have a website you can search. If you do not have insurance, inquire about any programs offered through community mental health centers. Community mental health centers can often provide therapy services to those who do not have insurance.

Another way to find a therapist is to look in the phone book and make calls to therapists in your area. Be prepared to discuss the issues you want help with. It might be helpful to have prepared a summary of what you think your issue is. For example, you can say that you are interested in entering therapy to learn how to communicate without arguing. You should call around and ask questions to the therapists such as, what kind of problems do you treat? What type of treatment modality do you use? How can you help me improve my communication skills with my child? How much experience do you have working with families in similar situations? What do you charge per hour? How often would my treatment sessions be? Keep calling around until you find a therapist that you like on the phone that sounds friendly and would be someone you would like to meet. After you meet the therapist in person and if you do not like them, continue to make calls and meet therapists until you find one you like and are comfortable with. You will do best with a therapist you are comfortable with. I wish you the best of luck and if you have any more questions, feel free to write again.