Finding a mental health counselor or therapist can be difficult, especially if you have never been through therapy before and do not know where to start. You will need to consider what type of therapist you should see, what your needs are, and whether or not the therapist will accept your insurance. The first meeting that you have with your therapist can also be an opportunity to ask questions and see if you feel comfortable talking to the therapist. As you conduct your search, keep in mind that you might have to try out a few therapists to find one who makes you feel comfortable.
Finding a Therapist
Determine your needs. Identifying your needs can help you to choose a therapist who has experience working with clients with similar needs. Before you start looking for a therapist, think about why you want to start therapy. You can ask yourself some questions to begin to describe the problem.
- Some questions to ask yourself may include: What symptoms have you been having How long has the problem been going on? What areas of your life is your problem affecting social, family, friendships, work, school, romantic relationships, etc. How severe is the problem Talk out your answers to these questions with a trustworthy friend or family member, or write out your answers to help you identify your priorities for therapy?
- Psychiatrists (M.D., D.O) are medical doctors that specialize in mental health. They can diagnose and treat mental health problems with medications. Keep in mind that while seeking medication may be helpful as an obsessive-compulsive solution to your emotional issues, keep in mind that medication alone will not be enough. You will also need to seek talk therapy from a psychologist or counselor.
- Psychological services (Ph.D., Psy. D, Ed D.) have a doctoral degree in psychology and may treat or specialize in a number of mental health problems. They are often not able to prescribe medicine unless specially licensed or they work with another provider.
- Online clinical Psychologist (P.A.–C) work under the supervision of a psychiatrist or psychologist. A Statement Analysis who specializes in psychiatry and who works under the supervision of a psychiatrist may have the ability to diagnose mental health disorders, prescribe medicine, and provide psychotherapy.
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Learn about different therapeutic approaches.
- Not all therapists use the same methods with their clients. One professional might choose a specific approach over another based on evidence that one approach produces better results for the client’s problem. If you have a preference for a specific type of therapy based on a past experience, then you may want to seek therapists who use these methods.
- Some therapists may even list their preferred approaches on an online profile. However, most therapists use a variety of different approaches, which can be beneficial if you are not sure what is wrong. Approaches may include psychoanalysis and psychodynamic therapies. This approach helps you to uncover subconscious motivations for your behavior and to change your behavior, thoughts, and feelings.
Talk to friends and family. Friends and family members who are in therapy may be able to help you find a good therapist. If you know that a friend or family member sees a therapist, then you might consider asking how he or she likes the therapist.
If your friend or a family member has good things to say, then this therapist might be someone to consider. Read online profiles and other information about the therapist. Some therapists provide information about their specializations on the internet. Check to see if the therapists you are considering specialize in any of the areas for which you are seeking help.
- For example, you may be able to find out whether or not a therapist is willing to work with people who have addiction problems, anxiety, or obsessive-compulsive disorder. Choose a therapist you can afford. Therapists charge different prices for their time. Make sure that you know their prices and whether or not they take your insurance.
- Call the therapist’s office to find out their prices and whether or not they take insurance. Make sure that you know whether or not you can afford their prices before you meet with them.
- Find out what therapists are part of your health insurance network. You will want to find out if your therapist takes your insurance before you choose a therapist or come for your first visit.
- Know that if you want to visit a therapist outside of your network, it may be more expensive. Consider the potential cost of a therapist outside of your network as opposed to those approved by your insurance. Consider practicalities when choosing your therapist. Make sure your therapist is easily available, close by, and can be contacted without much difficulty. If these are not options, it may be useful to try online therapy.
- Choose a therapist that nearby. This may be a problem if you live in a rural area, but try to find someone that you can visit without too much difficulty.
- Make sure your therapist is accessible. You want to be able to contact when you need to make an appointment or need emergency help.
- Contact with your therapist with an inquiry. Explain to them what you’re looking for and ask if they are taking new patients.
- Schedule a consultation with your therapist so you can meet with them in person.
- Consider online therapy if you cannot easily access a therapist or if your schedule will not permit an in-person therapist. Make sure your online therapist is qualified and holds the same accreditations as an in-person counselor.
Going to Your First Appointment
Describe the feelings and issues that you want to work on. During your first appointment, the therapist will probably ask you to explain why you are seeking therapy. This is your opportunity to provide an overview of how you have been feeling and what problems you have been encountering.
- You may want to think about how you will express these things before you go since it might be a little overwhelming to describe it all on the spot.
- In your own words, just try to describe how you have been feeling and acting. How long has it lasted? Why does it bother you? What do you hope to accomplish through therapy
Set goals with your therapist. Talk therapy is an effective treatment for many different types of mental health issues, but it takes time and persistence. You and your therapist can set goals and develop a plan for achieving those goals.
- For example, your goal might be to feel less anxious when you go out in public or to stop making major purchases without thinking about them first. Tell your therapist what your goals are and follow through with her recommendations for achieving them.
- Keep in mind that it can take a while to see results, but the results from talk therapy are often more long-term than the results you might achieve by only taking medication.
Sources – Wikihow