How To Find A Therapist

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Site Contributor. Motivated to do most things by food.


In an attempt to continually engage in and assess self-care, I’ve been seeking out a new therapist. For those who have never done this and are intimidated by the prospect, here are some helpful hints to get you in with the right fit quickly.

1) If you have insurance, find providers who are in network. This can be as easy as calling the 1-800 number located on your insurance card or finding the information on your insurance company’s website.

2) If you do not have insurance, determine if there are places with sliding scale fees. Often big agencies will have the ability to do this more than private practitioners in small offices. This may mean you will end up working with someone who is not independently licensed or who is a graduate student – try not to let that scare you away. Often these individuals have the freshest knowledge, are hungry to help, and get a great deal of support through clinical supervision. Some of the best therapists I’ve worked with in my career have been students or brand new professionals.

3) For out-of-pocket expenses, consider how often therapy would be beneficial to you and how much you can afford. Sometimes going every other week is still helpful but can help lower the monthly cost.

4) Ask around. Do you have a friend or family member who likes their therapist? Or perhaps a suggestion from a primary care doctor?

5) Remember: Therapy is about relationships. A therapist who is adored in the community you live in does not mean he/she/they will be the perfect fit for you. Consider what you are looking for – would you like more of a conversation with the therapist or would you prefer to be talking most of the time? Do you need a gentler or tougher approach?

6) With that said, it’s also helpful to be open to new ideas. Just because someone makes a remark on their Psychology Today profile about the benefits of mindfulness and you cannot stand the idea of this does not mean the therapist is a poor fit. Therapists will take your feedback and try to make the sessions work best for you as the client.

7) Don’t feel bad about not choosing someone based on their voice. Seriously. I know many people who have called looking for therapists, got the machine, didn’t like how they sounded and chose not to follow up. Could that therapist have ended up being really good for them? Sure. But sometimes we have gut feelings that we should honor and respect.

8) Take the leap. Make a call, set up an initial appointment, and see how it goes. At the very least, having a scheduled hour in your week that is devoted entirely to you and your needs is healing in and of itself.

In the hectic lives we lead and especially in the current political climate, we need to turn inward and care for ourselves first. This is not selfish – it is essential. As Audre Lorde states, “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” I can’t think of a better argument than that.