With all that has occurred in the past year and a half with COVID, many people are struggling with mental health issues. And, understandably so. Life throws us so many curveballs already, that adding something like a global pandemic on top of it, would make anyone feel unstable. So, what do we do when we are struggling?
Going to see a therapist, counselor, or psychiatrist is a great way to take care of yourself. Whether you are resuming therapy after a long break, starting therapy for the first time, or searching for a new therapist, this article will provide some helpful hints in finding your best match.
1. Consider your goals
First, write your goals down. Goals condense all your thoughts into a tangible list. Instead of taking many sessions for your therapist to learn your needs, a list allows them to identify right away if they are best suited to help you; saving you time, effort, emotional labor, and money.
2. Research treatment methods
Even if a potential counselor match specializes in the area you are looking for help in, it’s important to know what therapy methods will likely work best for you. Do you need firm words or gentle guidance? Are you open to medication, or do you prefer mindfulness techniques only? Do you want to try new, trendy techniques, or do you want to stick to established methods with plentiful and long-term evidence? These are good things to know before you start meeting with your therapist.
3. Use your insurer’s provider directory
Many health insurance companies have a search feature on their website to find medical professionals that are covered under your policy. With BCBS specifically, you can search by specialty, location, average review, or by awards/credentials. Checking your health insurance’s website will help you narrow down your search as well.
4. Shop around
Don’t be afraid to drop one therapist for a new one; within reason. It’s a great idea to give your therapist enough time to establish a connection with you. It’s common for your emotional/mental struggles to worsen slightly at the beginning of therapy before improving. After some time though, if it still doesn’t feel quite right, don’t be afraid to tell your therapist “goodbye” and attempt to move on to a better fit for you. Psychology Today has a great list of questions to ask your potential therapist in order to assess your feelings and compatibility.
5. Ask a friend you trust
Do you know anyone in a similar situation with similar therapy goals as you? Ask them what their experience is like, and if they have any recommendations. You may get a more honest and detailed review from someone you trust than anywhere else.
6. Find a therapist your trust
After a complicated childbirth, I had severe PTSD. I knew I needed a therapist who specialized in birth trauma. Luckily, I found the perfect match on my first attempt. After “graduating” trauma therapy, my anxiety reached a peak about eight months later. Though my therapist was trained in anxiety therapy, it wasn’t her specialty. However, we had built a connection together over the year of trauma therapy, and I knew trust was the single most important factor in therapy achievement for me. And research has proven the bond between you and your therapist is crucial to growth. So I enrolled back with her, and have been happy with the decision.