Are you thinking about going to therapy? If you have never gone to therapy before you may not know
how to go about finding a therapist or what to expect once you get there. Therapy is not a “one size fits
all” kind of endeavor – it is much different than laying down on a couch talking about your childhood.
There are many different types of therapy and every therapist has their own style, philosophy and areas
of expertise. Therefore, if you feel like it is time to talk to someone, regardless of the reason, you may
want to do a little homework to find the therapist that is the best fit for you.
The cost of therapy is often a big consideration for people. Many people believe that they can’t go to
therapy because they think they can’t afford it. This is not necessarily true. One of the positive impacts
of living in the COVID era is that it has opened the door to more creative and flexible services. There are
treatment options in a variety of formats, such as; traditional, phone therapy, web based, groups,
extended hours, etc. These options vary in cost and insurance compatibility. It is a good idea to know
about the mental health benefits your insurance plan offers before you start your search for a therapist.
Your coverage may influence your decision as to where you look. You may want a therapist who is in
your insurance policies network, or conversely, you can go outside of your network and be able to send
in bills to get partial reimbursement. Most therapists who do not accept insurance will be able to supply
you with the necessary paperwork for you to provide for your insurance company.
Types of Therapists
Another consideration is finding a therapist who meets your needs. As previously stated, every therapist
practices a little different and utilizes their own set of principles and interventions. The therapeutic
alliance, a trusting, empathetic, professional relationship, is the single most important component to
success in treatment; therefore, you need to feel comfortable and confident in your therapist. It is not
necessary for you to understand the exact differences between the types of therapies, but you need to
understand what you are expecting to get out of the process. You should talk to a potential therapist
about your needs and goals and see if their philosophy will be able to meet your needs. For example, if
you are task oriented and want specific jobs to do in between sessions, you may be frustrated by a
therapist who utilizes talk therapy and focuses on familial relations. You also may want to find a
therapist that has expertise in your area of concern. Frequently, therapists will list their areas of focus
on their websites or you may want to ask them on your initial phone interview. You may have found a
great therapist but they may not be the right fit for your struggles with test anxiety.
It is perfectly acceptable to interview a potential therapist. You may want to write down a list of
questions that are important to you. I find it helpful when a client asks questions, as it allows me to
figure out the best way to serve them or determine if I am not a good fit. If I am not a good fit, these
questions can enable me to determine a good referral. Above all, remember that this person is working
for you. You are going to this therapist to work on yourself, so you want to make it worth your while. To
do so, you may have to make some phone calls, ask around, and ask therapists your specific questions.
Therapy is you driven. You are taking the time to go to session and are putting in the financial
investment – find the right therapist and start reaching your goals.