Credit counseling is now required for all persons filing for bankruptcy. It costs about $50 and can be done in person, on the phone, or over the internet.
A credit counseling session generally lasts about 90 minutes. They'll review of your financial situation, give you information about your rights and options, and propose a repayment plan for resolving your debt problems, if possible.
Credit counseling organizations are now screened by the federal government and only approved organizations can be used in bankruptcy. (Click here for the list of approved credit counseling agencies.) This regulation is a good thing. The field rife with rip-off artists and the regulation has been welcomed by legitimate credit counselors.
The FTC also publishes a useful pamphlet on how to select a credit counselor.