“How long are you going to wait before you demand the best for yourself?”Epictetus
So you’ve been thinking about starting therapy for a long time, but you don’t know where to start. Google, PsychologyToday.com, and your insurance company can all generate a list for you… but how do you pick? Consider these tips for finding the perfect therapist for you.
about your goal
- Is your goal to feel less depressed or anxious? Are you seeking resolution in a family conflict? Are you wanting to quit using drugs or alcohol? Have you survived a trauma? For as many reasons one might seek out therapy, there are therapists expertly trained in their field. Every licensed therapist completes continuing education in their specialty, and since they’re experienced in working with particular issues, they will also be able to borrow interventions used successfully with other clients to help you.
use insurance or not to use insurance?
- Many people seek out counselors who accept their insurance, but this isn’t always the best option. Your insurance company may still deny coverage if your therapist doesn’t diagnose you with an approved mental health condition. For example, I’ve had clients denied coverage for the diagnosis of adjustment-disorder because they didn’t meet the critera for a covered diagnosis like generalized-anxiety-disorder. Others may have an approved condition, but don’t want it on their permanent health record for privacy reasons. Another consideration is copay. I’ve had clients with insurance plans which still required a $50 copay for telehealth sessions. Finally, if you do want to use insurance but can’t find anyone in your network, ask your insurance company what they will reimburse for an out-of-network therapist. You may be able to see someone who doesn’t work with insurance by simply requesting a “superbill” and submitting it to your insurance company.
is the New Normal
- When I started House Call Counseling in 2018, I only offered in-home therapy. Telehealth was certainly around, but it was not typical, and most people at the time didn’t feel like it would offer the same experience as in-person therapy. Today, 100% of my current caseload is telehealth clients. Perhaps the greatest part of telehealth’s offering is the fact that you can meet with a therapist located anywhere in your state. So if you’re seeking a specialist and don’t live in the area of one, you may still have plenty of options. Some states, such as Florida, even recognize therapy licenses in other states, so research your local regulations.
feel bad shopping around
- Did you have high hopes for a therapist that didn’t deliver? Or did the two of you just not vibe? If you haven’t already stopped seeing them, consider this your permission to break up. There’s nothing wrong with having a session with a few different therapists to find one you really connect with, especially if you are interested in working on issues that may require long term treatment.
despair if you’re struggling financially
- If you don’t have insurance and can’t afford a therapist’s private pay rate, consider asking if they offer a sliding scale. Licensed therapists are ethically required to make a reasonable effort to provide services to those who cannot afford their full rate. These slots typically fill up quickly, so you may need to reach out to multiple therapists. Also consider meeting with a therapy intern if one is available. While interns may lack as much experience as a fully licensed therapist, they have completed nearly all of the coursework in their master’s program, and meet regularly with multiple sources of clinical support. So technically when you meet with an intern, you’re likely receiving the expertise of multiple professionals.
Have you found the perfect therapist? Share your experiences in the comments below.