Finding a therapist can feel discouraging, I know. Here are some tips that will (hopefully) make it easier:
- Ask a friend. A personal recommendation beats all because they can give you the nitty-gritty of that therapist’s style and how they work. And even if they love them, you may find out details that let’s you cross them off your list (maybe your friend doesn’t mind that their therapist always runs late but for you that’d be a deal breaker).
- Ask your favorite support group. I tell moms this all of the time because we have the wonderful group POEM here in town and the organizers there keep track of therapists who have training in postpartum. But the other thing is that the moms in the group talk about their therapists so you can get a better idea of who might be a good fit for you.
- Ask a therapist. I get a lot of requests for referrals and I’m happy to help when I can. I don’t always know who’s open or what insurance they take or if they work with that specific issue but if I can help you connect with someone I will. So will most other therapists.
- Ask your insurance. If you’re going to use your insurance for therapy then you can call and get a list of approved providers. Warning: that list is not always up to date but it can be a good start.
When you’ve got your list then you have to start contacting them and this can be super draining especially because so many of us are full or have limited hours or don’t work with that issue, etc. So yes, you may have to do some work to find the right person but it’ll be worth it once you do:
- Scour their website and/or Psychology Today profile. Make sure they have hours, expertise and practice policies that suit you.
- Contact them in whatever way you most like to communicate. I am terrible at phone calls, absolutely terrible. This is because to return a call I need to set aside a chunk of time and I don’t have many chunks of time during my business hours. But I email like a boss because I can shoot out an email in the ten minutes between clients no problem. I’m also ok with texting. Other therapists only like phone calls and will not respond to emails or texts. You get to choose a therapist who communicates in the way that is most comfortable to you and I always like when clients ask about that so we can make sure we’re all on the same page. (Note: HIPAA laws limit the ways in which we are able to communicate but if you initiate communication by one venue you’re establishing that you’re willing to assume the risk of using that venue. I use a HIPAA compliant email but your email likely is not as secure. Likewise texts and voicemails have limited security. Know that before you hit “send”.)
- Go ahead and ask whatever you need to ask to help you know whether or not they’re the right therapist for you. Research shows that it’s not just our training, not just our modalities, not just our philosophical backgrounds that matter; the most important aspect of therapy is the relationship we build with our clients. so go for someone you like first and foremost. Do you want a therapist who is ok with cussing in session? Or who has a particular spiritual worldview? Or agrees with you on politics? You can ask. How we answer (or if we answer at all because some of us will and some of us won’t) will probably give you a better idea of whether or not you’re going to click with us.