How to Find the Right Therapist For You
BY TAYLOR VEST
Therapy, or counseling, is the process of meeting with a licensed therapy provider to process problematic tendencies, beliefs, feelings, and relationship issues. Therapy can be transformational for several reasons, like responding to trauma or navigating life transitions. Regardless of the reason for exploring therapy, the pursuit can serve as a significant step in developing into the healthiest version of yourself. Working on yourself is not only helpful for yourself but will also enhance your interpersonal relationships. Through consistency and open-heartedness, therapy has the ability to allow you to process experiences, adjust behaviors, develop positive coping skills, increase personal insight, and more.
A variety of licensed professionals can provide psychotherapy: psychiatrists, psychologists, licensed clinical social workers (LCSW), licensed professional counselors (LPC), licensed marriage and family therapists (MFT). Psychiatrists are the only from this list that can write prescriptions since they are doctors of medicine (MD) or doctor of osteopathic medicine (DO).
One main reason individuals do not pursue therapy is not knowing how to find a therapist or fear that the therapist may not be a good fit.
Here are some considerations when considering therapy and establishing a therapist:
1. What is leading you to consider therapy?
- Do you have specific experiences that you want to work through?
- Are you having difficulty maintaining relationships and want to gain insight on potential patterns?
- Are you working through childhood experiences?
- Are you having difficulty at work?
- Are you having panic attacks or trouble sleeping?
- Do you need a third-party person to talk through day-to-day struggles with?
Consider what is going on in your life that is leading you to consider therapy, and come prepared to explore those topics further.
2. Explore what’s important to you in a therapist.
- What are the characteristics of someone with whom you would feel most comfortable?
- Would you prefer a male or female therapist?
- An older or younger therapist?
On your insurance website or through websites like psychologytoday.com, you can filter by insurance, location, issues, gender, sexuality, faith, ethnicity, and types of therapy. Each therapist should have a bio where you can learn more about their styles and assess their goodness of fit for you and your needs.
3. Logistical considerations
- Are you hoping to engage in therapy in person, or are you able to utilize virtual therapy?
- Do you need a therapist who takes insurance, or can you pay out of pocket? For therapists covered by your health insurance, you will likely owe a copay, the set fee you pay at every medical session, including therapy. When you see a therapist who is in-network (covered by your insurance), you pay them a copay at each therapy session. Your therapist then sends a claim to the insurance company to receive the remainder of the fee they’re owed.
4. Stay the course!
Many therapists are at capacity or have waitlists (hello, we have all had a rough year) because mental health needs are on the rise and therapy is becoming more societally acceptable. Reach out to many therapists via email or calling their office and ask for referrals if they are not able to see you within your time frame. Finding a therapist is comparable to dating, it may take a few tries with different therapists to find a suitable fit, but I can promise you, the payout in personal growth and self-discovery will be worth it.