There are a number of centers in the Washington area for Vietnam veterans, male and female, to talk about their experiences. All offer both individual and group counseling, but some provide additional services.

The Patapsco Avenue Vet Center in Baltimore, for example, offers marriage counseling and sessions for spouses. Other centers are developing "family nights."

Back In The World is a fixed 12-week program, led by psychologist Jeffrey Jay and a co-leader who is also a veteran. The same group meets each week, with sessions structured to cover the veteran's total experience, from Vietnam and his return home to where he is today. Veterans are invited to join a follow-up program to discuss certain issues at greater length. (Non-governmental program with a minimal, pre-negotiated weekly fee.)

The Vet Center programs last from 8 to 20 weeks, and contain from 6 to 15 members. In some cases veterans are allowed to join a group already in progress. Vet Centers are led by "team leaders," Vietnam veterans with some background in counseling. There may or may not be a licensed psychologist. (Government program, no charge.)

Although there are some differences in the programs, their goal is the same: a therapeutic catharsis for veterans. Program administrators point out that the groups are primarily forums: It is up to the veteran to speak out in order to deal with his experiences.

Some veteran counseling centers in this area:

Back In The World, 3701 Connecticut Ave. NW, (202) 362-0063, (202) 546-3700.

Vet Centers

709 8th St. SE, (202) 543-4701.

402 H St. NE, (202) 543-5225.

Vietnam Veterans of America, 329 Eighth St. NE, (202) 546-3700.

Disabled American Veterans, Outreach Office, 941 North Capitol St., Rm. 1211B, (202) 275-1360.

1420 West Patapsco Ave., Patapsco Plaza Shopping Center, Baltimore, (301) 355-8592.

1153 Mondawmin Concourse, Mondawmin Shopping Center, Baltimore, (301) 728-8924.