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How do you find a therapist?(16 posts)

How do you find a therapist?mohair_chair
Jul 19, 2003 7:54 PM
For reasons I don't want to go into, I decided to seek therapy. How do I choose a therapist? Somehow, opening the phone book and picking the best ad doesn't seem like a good idea.

As far as I know, none of my friends are in therapy, so I don't have any recomendations.

Has anyone done this before?
re: How do you find a therapist?Jon Billheimer
Jul 20, 2003 3:54 PM
There should be a state association of chartered psychologists or some other bona fide trade organization in your area. You could start with them and get a list of qualified professionals in your area. Another thought would be to ask for several referrals from your family physician or your clergyman if you're a churchgoer.

When you go to choose a therapist evaluate him/her like you would any other service supplier. Ask him what his approach and methods are, how long the likely course of therapy is to address your concerns, what his/her qualifications are, etc. Then draw up a short list and choose the person who you seem to have the best rapport with. My 2 cents.
Going to a church is like looking in the yellow pagesKristin
Jul 21, 2003 9:58 AM
Only its a narrower list. Often civic organizations and churches have a list of therapists that they've never met and know little about. You can't be sure you are getting the names of emotionally stable and wise councilors. Talking from experience here. And the licensing agencies aren't a good tell tale sign either. There are lots of regisered therapists who blow. Government standards don't test therapists for emotional maturity. There are plenty of certified, licensed, book-smart screwballs out there.

Completely agree on the last paragraph. A business mentality will gaurd you against someone who might make you feel guilty for quitting them.
re: How do you find a therapist?CritLover
Jul 21, 2003 8:53 AM
I had gone for couples counseling a few years back and chose a facility that had several therapists. During the initial interview, they asked what kind of therapist we would like to see, giving us the opportunity to choose someone we would be comfortable with. Also, the facility can help to determine who would be the best for the type of problems that you are looking to deal with.

Additionally, if you don't like the first therapist, you can easily tell the director that you don't feel it is working and would like to see someone else. I think it's easier to stay in one place and have them get to know you, instead of going to a bunch of strangers.

Good luck.
Jul 21, 2003 9:04 AM
Most states have 'department of mental health services' clinics or something similar in bigger cities, where you are 'triaged' -- you have an initial interview, in great depth, and are then matched up with a counselor who seems like the best fit. You're free to change if you (or the counselor) decides the match isn't working, but normally they do a pretty good job getting the right person to the right counselor. My wife works in one of those clinics, and it's rare she's assigned a client who wants to change.

If you don't know a specific private counselor you want to see, this is a good alternative (and usually a lot cheaper too).
Excellent ideaKristin
Jul 21, 2003 10:05 AM
When you have a group, you also have some additional security. Poor councilors are likely to be weeded out. And they have a network of resources if they are ever get stuck. The lone rangers have to figure it all out on their own.
If too personal, don't answer. But,...94Nole
Jul 21, 2003 11:33 AM
did the sessions work? How long was the process? )I know that question seems selfish since if the problem is great enough, time shouldn't matter.) Obviously, asking for personal reasons.

Its very subjectiveKristin
Jul 21, 2003 12:16 PM
As you say, it really does depend on the issue/issues. It can take months or years. One thing is for sure. It IS definable. You should be able to set specific, measurable goals with your therapist and then review them comfortable with your therapist over time. He/she should be open to explore why you may or may not be reaching a certain goal and should not be critical or defensive towards you about it. If you didn't reach a goal on time, you should be able to figure together why you didn't reach it.

I ask my therapist the, "How long?" question all the time. And as often as I need to ask it, she reviews it with me. I am free to quit or take a break any time I like, without feeling shame for it. And most importantly, I set the pace. Which is to say, she is flexible and doesn't demand growth. In reality, our issue(s) and our life circumstances typically determine the pace. Be patient with yourself. There's no rule that says you must be whole and perfect. Pursuing emotional betterment is a choice. So is choosing to stay where we are at. Both have negative AND positive consequences. Both are valid choices. No one should judge anyone based on what they are or are not. If they do, that is their problem.
Oh, one other thing, and this is for anyone in therapyKristin
Jul 21, 2003 12:22 PM
I don't believe in dependancy relationships. They always indicate a boundary problem--for both parties. If you have a therapist who believes that you need to visit them for the rest of your life in order to live a meaningful life, dump them. I can't tell you how many time's I've heard this. And of course its tempting for therapists to get people into these relationships because its how they earn money. But a truly talented councilor will be able to move people into a place where they no longer need therapy. He/she sincerely enjoys helping people change, is skilled at it, and won't want you hanging around forever.
Just seems that it could cost a small fortune to find out (nm)94Nole
Jul 21, 2003 12:56 PM
Jul 21, 2003 1:00 PM
Remember I said there were both positives and negatives to choosing therapy. That's one of the negatives. I spent alot of money on ineffective therapy--but I didn't choose 'em well at first.
Jul 21, 2003 9:50 AM
I wrote this whole, long post; then deleted it all. I've been through the process, but I'm not confident. I feel that I lucked out...or God intervened, or something...

I met with a bunch of unhelpful therapists before I found someone helpful. Its my opinion that there are far more bad therapists than good ones, so be picky. Off the top of my head, I'd say to find a person who is regularly invited to teach other area therapists in continuing ed classes and inservices. You might try to find out those names from a local hospital. And be willing to walk as soon as you have doubts. When you are meeting with the right therapist, you never wonder if its helping. You know it is. Good luck.

If you want more info or have questions along the way, feel free to email me at kristin6@hotmail .com. (I might have more insights on this topic after Wed.)
Psychiatrist or Psycologist?ColnagoFE
Jul 21, 2003 9:58 AM
Can't remember which is which--likely one will want to perscribe you pills (usually combined with talking therapy) and the other can't perscribe you pills so the "talking cure" is all you'll get. FWIW...I've been there. Personally neither the pills or the "talking cure" were really for me in the long run, but the pills (Zoloft) did take the edge off for a while. Better for me than drinking a fifth of vodka I guess.
Psychologist or TherapistKristin
Jul 21, 2003 10:02 AM
A Psychiatrist is a PHD (doctor) who can perscribe meds. Some also make quite good therapists. Others, not so good. It really depends on the person. The key is finding someone who is committed to emotional growth and healing personally, and didn't just read a lot of books and pass all his tests in college.
You want answers?53T
Jul 21, 2003 5:55 PM
Option 1) Your employer probably has an employee assisatnce program (EAP). Their number one job is refering people to therapists. The call is free.

Option 2) Your primary care physician can refer you to someone he knows and works with. Besides, you need a formar referal if you want insurance to help with the cost. All HMO's have some kind of mental health benefit these days.
As a mental health professionalfiltersweep
Jul 21, 2003 6:32 PM
I'd start with your HMO/Insurance network (if you go that route) unless you want to privately pay a small fortune. Most plans offer ten "one hour" (really 50 min) sessions with no referral necessary. Often a plan will require a diagnostic classification, so don't be surprised is you get some BS diagnosis for insurance purposes (like situational depression, dysthymia, etc.)- don't get hung up on the name. If you need meds and it is garden variety, your primary physician might prescribe them. Anything more exotic and you should see a psychiatrist.

Don't expect quick fixes or answers... you should usually be looking for your answers from within. If your therapist sucks, vote with your feet. I'd strongly recommend finding someone the same gender as yourself if you are heterosexual. Patients often feel an artificial sense of intimacy with someone when they share all sorts of "secrets."

Barring the insurance route, there are all sorts of sliding fee services available for uninsured individuals. Typically a call to "First Call for Help" or a similar referral program will provide a list of "free" clinics.

More friends than you know probably HAVE been in therapy. Regardless of their possible recomendations, finding a good fit for YOU is what is important.

I would completely avoid unlicensed "therapists." They usually have poor boundaries- operate solely based on private pay- and may do more harm than good.