So you decided you’re going to find a therapist? Congratulations! I am so proud of you! I know getting help is a difficult decision to make. Trust me, I have been right where you are! I waited YEARS before finally making an appointment.
So you’ve finally made your decision. Now what? Where do you go from here? Finding a therapist isn’t always easy, and you might not find the best match the first time around.
I happened to be really lucky that I found a great therapist on the first try. I know for some people it doesn’t always work that way. But please don’t give up! You deserve happiness just as much as everyone else. If you are struggling to find a good therapist, Here is some great advice.
Finding A Therapist
Do Your Research
Don’t just pick a therapist because they are the first one you called that takes your insurance. If you go online, most insurances have a section on their page to find a doctor. Go onto that page and get the entire list of people who accept your insurance. However, I do recommend calling and verifying with them that they do in fact accept it because a lot of times the lists aren’t completely accurate. But this at least gives you a great place to start.
You can also check the Psychology Today website. All you have to do is enter your zip code to get a huge list of therapists in your area.
Once you have your list, find the ones that are close to you and start looking at their reviews.
I personally always look at bad reviews first. If an overall review isn’t quite 5 stars, I like to check what exactly people complain about. Keep in mind that some people are petty and give bad reviews for, quite frankly, stupid reasons. I saw one poor review of a therapist that was only because the therapist wouldn’t prescribe them Xanax.
The review actually talked about how nice they were and they listened and offered good advice, but they dropped it to a one-star review over Xanax. Please know that these kinds of reviews have no bearing on someone being a good therapist, simply because a therapist CAN’T prescribe medications! (For medication, you have to see a psychiatrist.)
Call The Office
Now, Taking your list, check the reviews from a few different places. Find a few different offices that you think may work for you and start calling them. Find out their hours. Do they have hours that are accommodating for you?
Also, I tend to judge a doctor’s office by their staff. Was the staff friendly? Were they rude? Did they make you feel like they wanted to help or like they wanted to be anywhere else than there? This might not be totally fair, I’m sure some fantastic therapists could be working somewhere with crappy staff, but I don’t like dealing with rude people, and the office staff is generally a reflection of the office.
When you find an office you think works, make your first appointment. Keep that list though, we don’t want to get rid of it just yet.
When You See Your Therapist
When you go see your therapist, it helps if you write down anything you may want to address ahead of time. With my anxiety, if I’m in a situation where I’m uncomfortable I have a tendency to be really scatterbrained. Having a list helps make sure I don’t forget anything.
Also, be open. Your attitude will help to determine what you get out of it. If you go in with a “no one can help me” attitude, then most likely, no one can help you.
While at your appointment, pay attention to how you are feeling. Does the therapist make you feel comfortable? Do you feel like they are actively listening? Are you comfortable talking to them? If yes, then great! You may have found your new therapist! If no, then that’s okay.
It doesn’t mean there is no help for you. It also doesn’t mean they are necessarily a bad therapist. They just didn’t fit for you. Just like all other relationships, some people get along well, some don’t.
If the first therapist didn’t work out, don’t worry! And most definitely don’t give up! Get out that list, and try again! Using the same process as before, make an appointment with another one. Can it be tedious? Yes. But I promise you, when you find the right fit for you, all of this work will be worth it.
After Your Appointment
A therapist’s job is to give you the tools and advice for you to help yourself. If you really want change, you need to follow the advice you are given. I’ve seen so many people complain that therapy didn’t work when in reality, they didn’t put the work in themselves.
Therapy isn’t a magical cure-all. One appointment isn’t going to fix you overnight. It takes commitment and small changes over time in your mindset and your way of thinking.
Take Your Therapists Advice
Your therapist sees people with problems similar to yours all day long. They tend to know what they are talking about.
For a really long time, I was afraid to take medication. I was afraid that medication would change who I was. I was afraid of becoming addicted to a medication and not being able to be “normal” without it. I was afraid of so many things when it came to medications.
When My therapist said she believed I would benefit from and should think about medication, I had a deer in headlights look. She asked me why. When I told her all of my reservations, she assured me that there was something out there for me.
My biggest fear was addictive medications. There are a TON of medications for anxiety and depression that are completely non-addictive. She assured me that taking medication wouldn’t change who I am, and she recommended that I at least give it a try.
So I took her advice. I scheduled an appointment with the psychiatrist and was put on an antidepressant. I have been taking it now for about 8 months and I can honestly say things are better. Does it fix everything? No. But I can say that I overall feel better. I have more motivation and I’m less tired all the time (most days anyway.) I have fewer days where I feel lost and hopeless and more days where I just feel calm.
(Note: I said most days, not every day. Because the fact of the matter is I have anxiety and depression. It’s a part of who I am, and no matter what it will always be there. But what I can tell you is that seeing my therapist and psychiatrist gives me hope. Hope that I can have a better, fuller, and overall happier life. For someone who was hopeless for so long, that bit of hope was a lifesaver.)
Again, I’m so proud of you for making this decision for yourself! Hopefully, I’ve helped make finding a therapist a little easier! You won’t regret this I promise! Just don’t give up. Once you start seeing your therapist, stick with it. As long as you put in the work, you will be on your way to a happier and healthier you!
If you have any questions about therapy, feel free to message me over on Twitter! I will be more than happy to try and help if I can!