You have been going through some tough times and have thought of therapy for a while. Now comes another big challenge; finding a therapist that is a good fit. There are many options out there. Many different confusing initials after a person’s name, each meaning something different.
Let me start by saying that 80% of the effectiveness of therapy does not come from what type of training or initials therapist have after their name, but comes from the human factor. the therapeutic connection you have with another person. That being said, you want to make sure that your therapist is licensed in your state and has a clean background.More on this later.
The first thing you should do is ask friends or family if they have anyone they can refer you to that they liked. If they do not, or you do not feel like asking, you could call your health insurance to see if they cover out of network mental health or if they have a list they can give you of mental health providers. Often times this may safe you a bit of money, but be careful, if you feel that the counselor you have is not a good fit or is offering you a cookie cutter approach, you may opt to pay out of pocket. Another thing is, if you chose to use your insurance, the therapist will have to give you a diagnosis that stays on your record.
If you decide to go with someone out of network, then my tip to you is go to your trusty google and type in the kind of therapy you are looking for. You will get many options, go with your gut and your brains and choose at least three therapists that have training in the area you are seeking therapy in and give you a “good vibe”. Next take a look at their websites and call them up. They should get back to you within 24 hours during the week, if they take longer, chose someone different (unless it is during a holiday or a weekend). Talk to them on the phone ask for their specialities, training and licenses and see if they feel like someone who would genuinely listen. If you want to take it a step further, ask for their license number. Go to your state license portal (in Florida it is the http://floridasmentalhealthprofessions.gov) and look up their license number to see if they have any complaints against them, and if their license is active.
After your three phone calls and some research, you are ready to go take a leap of faith and decide on a counselor/therapist. Nothing is set in stone, so if you decide that the person was not a good fit, then try again. Making that first phone call is always the hardest. Good luck in your journey and if there is any way I can help, please just ask.