Sometimes life gets to the point that you realize that you need some help. Perhaps you feel stressed with work or family, maybe overly discouraged or depressed. Maybe a spouse or friend has recommended that you seek help. Whatever the case, you have probably arrived at the conclusion that you can’t keep going on like this and you aren’t sure how to change. Basically, you feel stuck.
Seeing a therapist or counselor can be helpful. However, choosing a therapist to work with can feel like a daunting task. While choosing a therapist can be an important decision, we don’t need to overcomplicate it or dread deciding. There are a few things to consider when making this decision. It’s simply about finding a good fit.
What kind of help do you need? You wouldn’t go see a foot doctor to help with your headache. You’ll want to make sure that the person is able to help you with the difficulty you are having. You can typically find out a lot by reading the bio and description of what they do. Sometimes it is less clear what you need and if you choose someone who isn’t able to help, they can help you find a better option through a referral.
What is the cost? If you intend to use insurance to cover the cost, do they take your insurance? If you are paying privately, without insurance, what is the out-of-pocket cost? If you have a high deductible insurance policy, you might be paying for sessions out of pocket initially. After you reach the deductible, it might only be the cost of your copay/coinsurance. Sometimes, people will elect to pay out of pocket if they don’t think they’ll ever get to the deductible. Many people don’t reach the deductible so paying out of pocket may save money. Often you can call your health insurance company to find out your deductible and how close you are.
Is the location/time work for you? Therapy typically requires frequent visits. Often clients will begin with weekly visits and over time taper off and eventually end the therapy. If the location is distant, it creates a barrier to continuing. You also need to consider your needs for your schedule. If you need someone available on the weekends, make sure that is noted up front to save problems later. Since COVID, we have the opportunity for telehealth. It has the benefit of convenience but is also limited in other ways.
Does it ‘feel’ right? After looking at the bio, you are probably ready to meet, either a consultation or the initial visit. You should be able to get a feel for the person in the first meeting. Here you can see their style of how they operate. Often there are life circumstances, or interests that you share that might help you connect. Overall, it is a gut feel that most people have.
For many people, a therapist becomes a good resource, someone who is on their team and in whom they can trust. The bond can be very strong, and most people would say they are glad to have taken the first step toward solution by reaching out even if it was a bit scary. Remember, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” (Lao Tzu)