How to Find the Right Therapist
Hi, I am Dr. Laura! Finding a therapist can feel confusing and intimidating. This post is dedicated to providing you with tips on how to start your journey in finding the right therapist for you.
Mental health is an essential aspect of our overall well-being. It is important to take care of our mental health just like we take care of our physical health. One of the best ways to do that is by seeking the help of a therapist. A therapist is a trained professional who can help you deal with any mental health issues that you may be facing. Finding an available, well-trained, and appropriate therapist for you is an important step in accomplishing your goals of balanced, functional, stable mental health.
1. Determine What You Need Support With
A great place to start is to determine what your main concern is, and to find a therapist that has specialized training and experience in that area. Second, finding a therapist that offers the type of therapy that can help you. There are different types of therapy, and each one is designed to help with a specific mental health issue. For instance, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is often used to help people deal with anxiety and depression, while dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is commonly used to treat self-destructive behaviors and can be helpful in addressing our ability to tolerate distress. Knowing the type of therapy that you need will help you find the right therapist who specializes in that area. If you are not sure what type of therapy would benefit you, that's okay! A therapist can help you come up with a plan tailored to fit your concerns.
2. Ask for Recommendations
Another way to find a therapist is by asking for recommendations from friends, family members, or your primary care physician. If someone you know has been to therapy before, they may be able to recommend a therapist who can help you. Your primary care physician may also be able to provide you with a list of therapists in your area.
3. Check With Your Insurance Provider
If you have health insurance, you can check with your provider to see if they cover therapy services. If therapy is covered (or "in-network"), your insurance provider can provide you with a list of therapists in your area who accept your insurance.
Another option is private pay, which gives you the benefit of choosing a therapist best suited to your needs as opposed to who accepts your insurance. Further, there are no limits on the amount of sessions and a mental health diagnosis is not mandatory and is not submitted to your private health records, unless requested.
If you decide on a private pay therapist, it may be helpful to find out if you have "out-of-network" benefits through your insurance plan, as some therapists can provide you with a super bill to submit your insurance for potential partial reimbursement.
4. Look for Accreditation
When looking for a therapist, it is important to look for accreditation. Accreditation is an indication that the therapist has met the standards set by a professional organization. In the United States, the American Psychological Association (APA) and the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) are two well-known professional organizations. You can check their website to find accredited therapists in your area.
5. Schedule a Consultation
Before committing to a therapist, it is important to schedule a consultation. Most therapists offer a free consultation, which is an opportunity to meet with the therapist and ask questions about their experience and approach to therapy. During the consultation, you can also get a sense of whether the therapist is a good fit for you.
Questions to keep in mind during your consultation:
1. Do they have availability to take on new cases? If not, do they have any resources or referrals available to you?
2. Does the therapist have experience in working with your concerns?
3. Do they have formal training from an accredited and reputable institution?
4. What is their rate? Do they take your insurance? If not, will your insurance reimburse you for partial or full out-of-network benefits?
5. How do you feel? Did they listen and address your concerns?
In conclusion, finding a therapist may seem like a daunting task, but it is worth the effort.The main goal of therapy in the long term is to find a trained therapist that provides you with a safe, consistent, and collaborative environment to help you address the problems that have caused you to seek support. Remember, seeking help is a sign of strength, and there is no shame in seeking therapy.
Dr. Laura Bonnemort is a licensed psychologist.
She provides therapy and testing services to teens & adults.
Contact Dr. Laura for a free consultation to get support for your mental health.