The Right Therapist Is Out There
By: Michael P. Raymond
A new year means New Year’s Resolutions! We decide to exercise more, declutter our home, read one hundred books, etc. A common resolution – and the point of this blog post – is to get a handle on our mental health. Resolutions can be daunting without a plan. Don’t worry because I am here to help! I am Sandhill’s Practice Manager. I don’t have a degree in psychology, but I am passionate and knowledgeable about mental health.
Finding a therapist, especially when amid a mental health crisis, can be overwhelming. Any time I am daunted by a task, I break it down to manageable steps. I find comfort in knowledge. When I do research and am well-informed, I feel prepared for the unknown.
Start by thinking critically. What do you want to get a handle on? Have you experienced trauma? Are you feeling depressed? Maybe you have strained relationships in your life, or experienced a significant loss? Also start to think about what kind of therapist you’d like to see. Someone of the same gender? The same sexuality? Someone who is close to your age? I was a queer, twenty-seven-year-old when I started seeing a therapist. And the most important thing to me was finding someone who could relate.
Armed with my thought exercise, I started the practical part of finding a therapist. Cost was a major factor for me. Therapy can be expensive, but my mental health was a priority, even if it meant curbing my Starbucks habit. I was lucky to have health insurance. So, I figured out what my plan covered, and how I could find an in-network provider. The provider search engine on my insurance website was a lifesaver. It showed me providers who were in-network, where they were located, and their contact information. And then, I Googled, a lot.
Searching online for medical providers is a mixed bag. I’m a Millennial, so if someone doesn’t have an internet presence, I’m going to be hesitant. Psychology Today’s Find a Therapist function was my best discovery. Many therapists have a profile on Psychology Today that includes a bio, as well as, a list of areas and demographics they work with. And if you’re lucky, a picture as well. If you’re really lucky, it will have a link to their personal website. I selected four potential therapists from my research. I contacted them to confirm they took my insurance and if they were taking new clients. Based on timeliness of response and availability of appointments, I setup an appointment!
The first time I saw a therapist, I did not connect with them. I hadn’t thought critically about what I was looking for. I saw them for three months, and then stopped. Two years went by, and I needed to talk to someone. I was wary of going through the process again, but I learned from my previous experience, so I felt more confident. I followed the steps again. I read many bios to get a sense of their energy. I reached out to a therapist for an appointment in August of 2019. It is now January 2022 and I have been seeing him since. He is helping me change my life. Finding a therapist can be a daunting task, and I hope I’ve provided some useful tips to help you find the right therapist for you!
JENNIFER EULBERG, MA, LPC
Welcome Jennifer, our new blogger!
Jennifer is a counselor at Sandhill who specializes in depression, self-esteem, and grief & loss. Get to know Jennifer as she shares her perspectives on life, contemplates value themes, and offers gentle encouragement.
THANK YOU to Stefanie Pisarkiewicz, LPC for her blog contributions from November 2014 - February 2019!