If you’re reading this, I’m assuming that you chose to make the step to go to therapy! That alone takes a lot of strength and courage. No matter what you are seeking therapy for, you are already on the path to recovery! However, finding a therapist that is right for you can be a daunting task. Personally, I went through many therapists until I was able to find one that I really like and feel comfortable with. Let me try to take a load off of your shoulders and provide you with a step-by-step guide to finding a therapist that is right for you!
Know what you want to get out of therapy
Do you want a diagnosis? Do you want help with something you are already diagnosed with? Are you experiencing situational stress and need short-term help? Knowing what you are going to therapy for is definitely the first step.
Check with your insurance (if applicable)
Therapy can be expensive. The cheapest that I’ve seen (without insurance coverage) is about $100 per session. If you are going once a week, that’s $400 a month! Most insurance providers have websites where you can search for doctors in your area that accept your plan. Once you have a list of eligible therapists, keep it pulled up.
See what those therapists specialize in
Pretty much all therapists have a specialty. Some focus on eating disorders while other are experts on anxiety. If your insurance company doesn’t have this information about them, a quick Google search should provide you with it. This is where knowing what you want out of therapy comes into play. If you want to seek help for your depression, going to someone who specializes in marital issues might not be your best bet. Now it’s time to narrow down the original list!
Figure out who you’re comfortable with
Do you prefer a male or a female therapist? Do you want someone with the same racial or religious background as you? All of this information should also be available via the insurance provider or a Google search. If you are only comfortable with certain people (which is totally normal & okay), narrow down your list further!
Time to make some phone calls
After reading about the therapists, rank them in the order of who you would like to see. Call your #1 first and hope that they’re taking new patients! Unfortunately, a lot of therapists are booked up. If they don’t pick up, leave a voicemail with your name, phone number, and reason for calling. Leave voicemails with as many therapists as you can. Like I said, a lot currently do not accept new patients.
Make an appointment
Now someone has either answered the phone on the first try (woo!) or has called you back. Now it’s time to make your first appointment! Usually, they will ask you a couple of questions about yourself and your reasons for seeking therapy first. If they think they can help you, the two of you will figure out a time to meet. Make sure to confirm that they accept your insurance and check what the co-pay will be (if applicable).
Attend your first few appointments
Let me be clear, therapy does not help if you just attend one session. Therapy is usually a long process. However, you can probably tell within your first few sessions if the therapist is right for you. If you don’t like the way they are treating you, feel uncomfortable opening up to them, or just get a bad vibe, there is nothing wrong with finding a new one.
If you liked them…
Yay! You found yourself a great person to help. I wish you luck on your path to recovery!
If you didn’t like them…
Time to go through the steps again. It’s very common not to like your first therapist or even your first few. Don’t give up, there is someone out there for you!
If you have any further questions, leave a comment below! If you want more private advice, don’t hesitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.