There are many things to consider after you’ve made the decision to find a good therapist. This article will show you the steps to take to ensure you find the therapist who is most likely to be able to give you the help you’re looking for.
1Decide What You’re Looking For in a Therapist
Before you can start a list of possible therapists to use, you need to have a more specific idea of what you want in a therapist.
What Type of Therapy
The first thing you need to decide upon is whether you are looking for individual therapy, group therapy, couples counseling or family therapy depending upon the types of issues you are experiencing.
If you are unsure of the type of therapy you want, you should add this question to the items you will ask them about when you schedule an initial consultation.
Sex of the Therapist
If you are typically more comfortable with men or with women, you may want to include the sex of the therapist as one of your requirements.
There are many different avenues that can be taken for someone to call themselves a therapist. Before you start seeing someone, you should carefully consider the credentials you want them to have.
Some therapists receive all of their education from a few weekend seminars they attended. However, most therapists you find will hold an graduate level degree in their specialized field.
Although an advanced degree does not guarantee you will receive better treatment, it is certainly an indication that the therapist has received much more training, practical experience and they have met the more rigorous standards needed to earn a degree.
You also need to decide if you have any requirements for your potential therapist based on their number of years of experience.
A therapist who has practiced for many years has more experience to draw upon and may have skills that are better developed. However, the reality is that a therapist who recently graduated is likely to be less expensive. They may also be a better fit if you are younger and would prefer someone closer to our own age.
Most people start their search for a service provider by looking in the area that is most convenient for them. You should decide if you want their office to be closer to your home or your work.
However, you should also be aware that finding the perfect therapist who can help you find ways to deal with your problems is more important than driving a few extra miles.
2The Expected Costs
The first thing you should check out when you are thinking about therapy is to determine if it is covered by your insurance plan. There is a big difference in plans and how they handle therapy costs. Some will only require a co-pay, but others may not cover your therapy at all.
Pay close attention to the language in your insurance plan. If you have any doubts, you should contact your insurance provider before you schedule an appointment to see how much of the costs it will be covered.
3Questions to Ask Your Insurance Company
- How many sessions are covered
- Is there a co-pay?
- Are there only certain types of therapy covered?
- Is the coverage limited to certain providers?
A good therapist can literally change your life and they will be worth every penny you have to pay them. However, you do still have to make sure you can afford to pay them.
You should expect to pay between $60 – $200 for each therapy session. The exact amount will depend upon where you live and the cost of living in your area. The experience and education level of the therapist will also influence their fees.
If your insurance does not provide coverage, you should find out if the therapist has a sliding scale. In many cases, their charges are dramatically reduced for people who don’t have any insurance.
4Make a List of Therapists Who Fit Your Criteria
Your next step is to start searching for therapists who meet the requirements you have set. A recommendation from friends or family is the best place to start, however, many people are reluctant to share these details.
Other sources for recommendations are references from your clergy, doctors or other health care providers.
You can look for online resources or do a Google search for “therapists in (city)”. You can alter that search if there is a particular type of therapist you are looking for.
5Contact Potential Therapists
At this point, you are ready to contact the therapists on your list. You should meet or talk to several of the therapists on your list before coming to a decision.
The best way to do this is to contact them directly by phone. If they are with a patient or are otherwise unavailable, you may have to leave your name and number and wait for a return call.
You should prepare a list of questions and have them with you when you actually talk to the therapist. It’s also a good idea to make notes of their answers to help you remember. You should also pay attention and make notes about your gut reaction when you’re talking with them.
Questions to Ask
- What is the cost for each session?
- Is there any estimation for how many sessions will be needed?
- How frequently and for how many weeks do you typically see people?
- What type of therapy do you specialize in?
- How long will it take to make a treatment plan?
- Are you available on nights or weekends for emergencies?
Things to Look For
- Is it easy to talk to them?
- Do they seem prepared and professional?
- Do you feel safe and comfortable in their office?
6What Else You Need to Know
It’s important to understand that the reason you are seeking therapy probably isn’t an easy issue to solve. Don’t expect your therapist to know exactly how the treatment will be handled or how long it will take after your initial consultation. Most types of successful therapy require repeated sessions before any progress can be seen.
Your initial consultation should be spent talking in general terms about your issues and to find out if you’re comfortable with the therapist.
7How to Make a Decision
Making a decision on a specific therapist will usually be based upon how you felt about the initial consultation. You already took the steps to make your requirements, so anyone you met with should be qualified to help you.
You just have to decide which of the therapists you met with gave you the feeling that they will be able to help.
What Do You Think?
Do you have any other advice about how to find a good therapist?