Sunday, July 17, 2016

Finding a Therapist: Because You're Worth It!

Earlier this week I wrote about what to expect when you’re put on an involuntary hold.  Today I want to write more about long-term help.  I hope that none of you ever get to the place where an emergency hold is necessary.  But if you do, taking the mystery out of the process may make it a little easier.  At least that was my goal.
So now let’s get into the subject of seeking more long-term help.  I wrote yesterday about my psychiatrist and my therapist.  Both of these professionals have been invaluable to my mental health and well being.  Finding the right professional for yourself can be a daunting process.  I strongly suggest to start this process when things are going well.  it makes dealing with any frustrations or setbacks that much easier.  Also, if you are already seeing a professional when things start to go wrong, you already have an established relationship.  When I am not doing well, it’s so much harder to describe my background, and what got me to where I am.  If you already have a therapist and/or psychiatrist, the foundation is there.
So, to go about finding one of these helpers, here are some starting points.  Your milage may vary:
If you are working, see if your employer has an Employee Assistance Program (EAP).  My former employer’s EAP pays 100 percent for three sessions with a therapist.  These three sessions are great for you and the therapist to get to know each other.  It gives you time to start digging into why you are there, and how they can help.  It also gives you some time to find out if that person takes your insurance, and how much they charge.
Your insurance carrier will be able to tell you therapists in your network.  This can be done over the phone, or on the carrier’s website.  This is great if you know you’re going to need for insurance to cover some of the cost.  Understand that some therapists have limits for how many people they will take with certain insurance plans.  Insurance companies also may not have up to date information.  Please try not to get discouraged.  Take a deep breath, and call the next one.
Your primary care doctor may be able to refer you to a therapist.  If they do and you like the person, make sure to let your primary care provider know.  Also let them know if it’s a bad match, if the therapist isn’t taking new patients, or if any other issues arise.  
There are several different websites to help you find a therapist.  If you have unique circumstances, like needing a therapist who speaks a different language, many of these websites will allow you to search by that criteria.  The websites often list specialties of the particular therapist.  These may be things like anxiety, trauma, or substance abuse.
Word of mouth can also be a great way to find a professional.  If you call a professional who is currently treating someone you know, they cannot disclose anything about you to the person who referred you, and vice versa.  In fact, don’t be surprised if they don’t seem to know who you’re talking about if you tell them who referred you.  If whomever referred you tells you how much they are paying, remember that every situation is different.  Some therapists who take insurance will allow you to pay the whole fee out of pocket.  Others have sliding scales.  It is not uncommon for a therapist’s fee to go up over time, but for them to allow existing patients to continue paying the same rate. 
If you find a professional through other means, let me know so I can add it to the list.  This can be a challenging process, but it’s so important to mental health.  Please don’t give up, and remember to stay safe in the mean time.

Be well.

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