Choosing The Right Kind of Therapist For You!

Given that there are so many different kinds of people and so many different kinds of therapists….How do you find the right one?  Use the information below to help you in your journey.

Do you prefer to use your health insurance plan mental health benefits?

If so, check the insurer’s website to see if they have an online directory of covered providers.  Start with providers that are near to where you live, work or go to school.  Make a short list and search their names on the web for more information.  Many providers now have websites where you can find their up to date address location and contact information, as well as a description of the services they provide.  You may be able to get an indication of the style in which they work, as well, from their website.  Use any and all information you can find to make a short list of therapist to call or email.  Call or email several regarding your specific problem or need, scheduling needs, and to see if they are taking new patients insured by your plan.  If possible ask other people who may know of that providers services, such as your doctor.

No Insurance?  Not Planning to Use Your Insurance Plan?

Many therapists have sliding scale rates available, for people who pay out of pocket.  You may choose not to use your insurance plan, even if you have one, if your need is not one of medical necessity, for example.  Or even if you just prefer not to have your mental health information on your medical records.  Compare the rates of several therapists and if you need one, ask directly if they have a sliding scale.  The rate you will pay for therapy should be negotiated before the first session, so you are sure of what you will be expected to pay before entering the therapy office.

Other things to clear up before the first session, either by phone or email….

If you have specific mental health condition or life situation, ask to be sure the therapist has experience in handling those matters successfully. Have a short conversation with the person in which you give him or her an opportunity to reassure you that you can be helped by coming in to see them for therapy.

If you had a specific type of therapy that had worked for you or not worked for you in the past, it would be helpful to discuss these preferences, and try to find your best match.

Is it important that you speak to either only a male or only a female?

In some kind of life situations one will only feel comfortable talking things over with someone of a certain gender or age group.  Decide if your situation is of that kind and write down your limitations.  Then begin to interview people who match what you feel you need first.  It is important in the healing journey to honor your basic needs and preferences when possible.

Do you need to speak with someone of a specific group, or specific orientation (cultural, religious, or sexual orientation)?
If you feel that differences having differences from your therapist in any of these areas, it is worth making sure ahead of meeting time that you are going to feel comfortable with your new therapist.  Usually, I can work with anyone, but I have met people who were not comfortable working with me due to some perceived difference in these areas.  I have a number of photos of the Buddha and of some really famous Yogis like Paramahamsa Yogananda in my office.  If people are going to be upset over the existence of those images in my office, for example, it’s best for us to find that out as soon as possible and spare us all the disconnect.  There are so many kinds of people who are psychotherapists in this community, you can surely find someone who you feel cozy with.

It is not always easy to reach out for help when we need it, especially with our inner lives, inner thoughts, inner pain and worries….  So give yourself the best opportunity for success by discussing your situation with several therapists and choosing the one you think and feel will be able to help you the best.  If your situation allows for it, even interview two or three therapists in person until you find someone you are comfortable with.   PUT IN THE EFFORT TO FIND THE BEST THERAPIST FOR YOU , You Are Worth It!