July 13, 2012 at 11:39 pm #33667
I’ve never been to therapy before, but for a long, LONG time, I’ve been very aware of issues that I very much think I require professional help (self-esteem related things, mostly). I never went to therapy before because I was on my parents’ health insurance plan and didn’t feel comfortable approaching either of them with any of this. I recently got my first legitimate job and have a great health care plan that will be kicking in mid-August, which means I can finally see a therapist (or psychologist? (or psychiatrist?)) without worrying about what I’d need to tell my parents. Even though my coverage is still a month in the future, I want to start doing my research about what kind of professional I should see, and how to pick one that is right for me. I wasn’t sure where to ask, so I thought that any DWers who have been to therapy before may be able to help me figure out where the heck someone like me should start.July 14, 2012 at 12:02 am #33668
Well, the first place I’d start is your new insurance company’s website, get the list of who their providers are so you’ll know who is covered. Then, I’d start looking for recommendations. If you have a regular primary care physician that you like, you should ask them for recommendations. Sometimes insurance companies have helplines or other services that can offer information and recommendations on local providers (although if you aren’t in a large metro your mileage may vary on that) Also look at professional organizations that are active in your area to see who has awards and who has complaints. Definitely check better business and online for complaints as well.
Once you’ve got a somewhat narrowed list, then it’s largely a matter of calling the office. Usually the office staff can tell you the basics, if they’re accepting new patients, how soon you can get an appointment, how they bill insurance, how they bill you and if the therapist has any particular issues or therapies that they specialize in (or if it’s a larger office with multiple practitioners if they have anyone who specializes in your particular types of issues). Sometimes you can set up a type of informational interview that’s either free or at a reduced rate so that you can meet the therapist and see if you like each other and what types of therapies he/she recommends for your types of issues.July 14, 2012 at 12:05 am #33669
I’d also just like to note, if the office staff can’t answer basic questions about billing and appointments or seem dodgy, look elsewhere. I haven’t had that problem with therapists thank goodness, but I have with dentists and it’s a royal pain to get things straightened out if their business practices are either disorganized or shady.July 14, 2012 at 12:55 am #33670
I really recommend using http://www.PsychologyToday.com to search for a psychologist, psychiatrist, therapist, or a counselor. Since you’re using insurance, I would recommend looking up therapists through your insurance first, and then seeing if those names have a profile on Psychology Today for more information to see if you want to then call their office–I think it helps with the weeding out process, plus you get a lot of really great therapists on that site. The therapists themselves make their profiles and pay for it, so you are getting some basic information directly from them. Of course there are other sites like it, but I think this one is the best for finding therapists. Sometimes it takes a few sessions with different therapists to find one that suits you. But don’t be afraid in asking over the phone what kind of style or approach they often use in therapy, and basic things like that, to see if that’s what you would be interested in.July 14, 2012 at 4:07 am #33673
You could also ask your main physician for a recommendation or a referral. He or she may know someone in the area that other patients have been to.July 14, 2012 at 11:39 am #33676
Your insurance company will have a list of providers, and may have that information online. That list will usually indicate address and contact information. My insurance company’s providers list also indicates the name of the clinic at which they practice. From that, you can narrow the list to those within a convenient traveling distance.
Next, you can check to see if they have their individual profiles listed at psychologytoday.com (as already suggested). You can also Google the provider and clinic names; often they will have websites. Usually their online listings will include a brief bio, their area of specialty, and their therapeutic approach. From that, you can limit the list and make calls to those you think might be a good fit.July 14, 2012 at 11:45 am #33677
Also, does anyone have any advice for what kind of therapy I should be seeking out? I’m really not sure about any of this but know I want to find a good fit.
I don’t know if I should be looking for a therapist (like, for instance, with a social work background as opposed to something else), psychologist, or psychiatrist, or even what KIND of therapy I should be looking at or how to know what’s right for me. (If necessary I can delve a little bit more into the issues that I want to address by pursuing this.)July 14, 2012 at 12:48 pm #33680
There is talk therapy, which is one of the most popular types of therapy, where the therapist will listen while you talk, and help pinpoint events or unconscious thoughts and reasons in your life for various problems to help you to recognize it. There is also Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), which is useful for changing your behavioral patterns, and also enhancing positive thinking. Many therapists use a combination of different types of therapy in their practice. In addition to individual therapy, there is also group therapy. There are lots of lesser known types of therapy as well, some of which I’ve tried. Depending on what your issues are, acupuncture and acupressure can be really great healing methods, if you’re open to that sort of thing.
In my experience, psychiatrists don’t listen enough and would rather push pills than help me without drugs. I personally prefer psychologists (though I admit I’m biased because my dad is one) and having been to many other counselors and therapists, I just don’t see them as knowledgeable or helpful to deal with the issues I have had. But that may not be true for you. And as mentioned, therapists will often list their specialties in what they treat, so that can often help you choose one.July 14, 2012 at 2:35 pm #33686
I had good luck finding a psychologist by searching the ones that are provided by my insurance then I pulled up the names and googled searched each therapist. I called the ones that had a website and only made n appointment with a psychologist that I was able to talk to and get a feel on their personalities. If I was only able to speak to a receptionist to set up an a appointment then I didn’t bother. I’m very happy I did that because I am very pleased with my psychologist.July 14, 2012 at 5:12 pm #33690
Thanks or the input. I’m really nervous about going to any kind of therapy at all, so I’m trying to prepare a lot beforehand. I’m scared of crying in front of whoever I wind up with because the idea of unloading a TON of emotional baggage onto someone makes me anxious, but it’s nice to see that a lot of you seem to have had positive experiences from this.July 15, 2012 at 8:11 pm #33707
Don’t be nervous! I used to be so anti-therapy that I couldn’t even go to the office by myself to make an appointment, but I got lucky with a really great therapist, and they’re good at helping you calm your nerves, especially the first time you go in. And from the stories my dad has told of his clients, crying is not the worst thing, and I’m sure they’re used to it.
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