Local counseling centers can be found in most cities with a population of 5000 or more. The difficult part is finding a counselor who is qualified and experienced in the particular area for which one is seeking counseling. It is important to do a little research. A good place to start is to ask for a referral from a friend, doctor or pastor. This should be followed up with a call to your insurance company. If you plan to use insurance, you will want to know if the provider is covered under your plan, since most plans now have a managed care network which typically has a list of counselors who have contracts with them to provide services to their clients at a reduced rate. Alternatively, one may call the insurance company first to get a list of local counselors in their network and later check with friends, doctor or pastor for a recommendation from the list. In any case, the first call to the center or counselor should be an inquiry about the practice. A mental health counseling center will likely have available psychiatrists, licensed psychologists and social workers. The psychiatrist, a medical doctor, usually limits his practice to the management of psychotropic medications which are prescribed for more severe mental illnesses such as major depression, schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder and other debilitating mental illnesses. Licensed psychologists and social workers may provide counseling services in a number of areas such as eating disorders, grief counseling, marriage and substance abuse counseling. Licensed psychologists are also trained in testing for problems that may not be readily apparent such as intelligence or personality disorders that may impact treatment recommendations. Licensed psychologists and other licensed counselors are typically generalists who provide counseling services for a variety of disorders, including grief counseling and marriage counseling, career and change of life counseling. Substance abuse counselors and eating disorders counselors may have specialized in these areas and acquired additional knowledge and expertise. It is important to find a counselor who has the particular skills, training or experience required to guide a person to recovery. Eating disorders counselors, for example, may have additional training in nutrition and medications or have providers in these disciplines available for consultation or referral. This is a very serious and sometimes fatal illness and it requires a great deal of skill on the part of the counselor.