It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you are taking the first steps to begin therapy. You might be wondering if now is the right time to start therapy; or you may have already made the decision to move forward with therapy but are not sure how to find the right therapist for you.
It’s true that there are a lot of options and a lot of things to consider when you are finding a therapist.
Let’s look at 3 areas you can address to find the right therapist and achieve the results you desire.
How do you know when it is a good time to start therapy?
We all go through hard times and it can be easy to chalk them up to normal life stressors; but when is it more than normal stress? We all have a threshold of distress and it is different for everyone. Your threshold may be higher than the threshold of your family and friends, and only you know when you have met it.
How will you know you met that threshold? Maybe your emotions are getting the best of you on a regular basis. Maybe you are turning to unhealthy coping skills such as drinking or overeating. Or maybe you always feel uncomfortable, find yourself in the same patterns or struggles with your loved ones and like you have nowhere else to turn.
These might be reasons to take that first step towards therapy. Talking with someone can help you deal with your emotions and find ways to manage stressors that work for you.
There are also times in your life that you will have to deal with major life events that can be overwhelming. These events might require extra support and guidance from a professional because you’ve never had to deal with similar situations.
The impact of major life events are sometimes beyond what your normal support system can help you through.
If you are looking for more information on beginning therapy you can check one of our previous posts HERE where we discussed when it’s time to go to therapy and how to get the most out of it.
Once you know it’s the right time for you to start therapy you may feel lost on how to find the right therapist.
There are directories online that you can use to search for a therapist like psychology.com and psychologytoday.com. These sites make it easy to search, filter and refine results based on your specific needs.
These directories can also tell you if the therapist accepts insurance or not. You may not have thought about whether or not you will be using your insurance for therapy but it’s important to research and consider all your options.
Do you want to use your insurance?
There are pros and cons to using your insurance for therapy so it’s important to consider them all and make the best decision for you. Let’s talk about a few things to consider.
A therapist who accepts insurance may be overwhelmed with referrals and it may take months to get an appointment. If it took you a while to take that first step towards therapy, waiting several months for an appointment may cause you to lose the momentum you built up to take that step.
A therapist who takes insurance may be a more affordable option for ongoing care but it still pays to ask what the charge will be if they don’t accept your insurance just in case your insurance changes.
People tend to value what they pay for and will usually be more invested in the process if they are paying more.
In turn, you may be more likely to reach your goals if you are paying out of pocket because, as humans, we are more committed when we have invested something.
If you want to use your insurance you can do a search for a therapist in your area and cross reference with Psychology Today profile using the filters to search. You can also pick a few names from the list of therapists your insurance provides and search them on Google to see if they have a website.
It is not uncommon for therapists who primarily work with insurance not to have a website, so don’t be discouraged by that. However, it’s helpful to look and see if there is any additional information online so you can get a sense of fit so you are not just picking from a list of names.
Consider the level of investment, on all levels, and then move forward with finding a therapist that is a good match for you.
What to look for in a therapist
When you are searching for a therapist you want to look for one that aligns with your beliefs/philosophy on life, feels relatable to you and has experience helping people with the issue that prompted you to begin looking for a therapist.
Going to therapy can be intimidating because you will be talking about things that are uncomfortable to talk about. If you find someone that you feel comfortable with you will be more likely to open up about those things and get to the root of the issues you are facing. Your relationship with your therapist can play a big role in whether or not you see the results you desire.
Think about your preferences. Will you feel more comfortable with a male or a female? Do you want to work with someone who is older than you or are you okay with someone who is younger? Is it important to you that your therapist has certain religious beliefs? These are all things to consider when looking for a therapist.
If you are struggling with a specific issue you may want to search for a therapist that specializes in that area. Some may focus on anxiety or depression, or even a specific age group. This may help you narrow down your search and help you find the therapist that is right for you.
All therapists are different and that’s a good thing. That means there is one out there that is right for all of us, because we all have different needs.
If you have questions about finding a therapist that is right for you, or you are ready to take the first step and begin therapy contact us and we will be happy to help!