Art, horses, yoga, dance. So many therapeutic modalities exist today that you can practically find one specially made for your needs. However, many people struggle to find a counselor with whom they connect, and end up going from person to person. Some people give up altogether without getting the relief they originally sought. But please don’t give up! Here are six tips to find a therapist that’s right for you.
1. Choose Your Preferred Meeting Style
You can thank COVID-19 for expanding telehealth options, making it more convenient for you to meet with your therapist than ever. You can choose from Zoom meetings or phone connections. Some of today’s mental health apps even include unlimited texting support from licensed counselors.
The process of getting help is now more personalized than ever. Some people who utilize telehealth options log on once per week for a videoconference with their therapists while exchanging email support during the week. Others might chat by phone several times weekly.
Of course, if you prefer the traditional hour-long stay on a therapist’s couch, many practitioners have returned to in-person appointments. If you don’t have health insurance, you can even seek mental health care at select pharmacy locations for a reasonable fee — hopefully, such services will expand soon.
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2. Mindfully Explore Your Needs
What is it that you hope to accomplish during therapy? Knowing what you need will help you choose the right therapeutic modality for you.
What should you focus on in your work? The following sample therapy goals can inspire you:
- I want to stop overeating when I feel stressed and find healthier coping mechanisms.
- I’d like to understand why I feel so depressed and alter my thoughts to become more optimistic.
- I want to stop rehashing the same tired arguments with my partner.
3. Try Several Modalities
The same therapeutic modality that works for one person may do very little for the next. It all depends on your goals and unique style. Fortunately, you have no shortage of options from which to choose — anything from equine therapy to yoga can help.
Some techniques you can practice at home, no therapist necessary. For example, the next time your emotions cloud your judgment in a red haze, why not draw out your feelings using a pen and paper instead of reacting impulsively in the heat of the moment? You could potentially save your relationship or job by using such techniques instead of getting angry.
4. Look for Experience
It takes time to gain skill in any profession. That’s not to say that a new therapist might not be the ideal fit for you. However, if you’ve already gone through several with little progress, it helps to seek one with experience helping people with your specific needs.
The best way to find this information is to call your prospective therapist and ask. You can sometimes look online as well. Your therapist may or may not have a web presence, but many today do. You can even find valuable information on many of the YouTube counseling channels — many such professionals include contact links and directories for finding licensed individuals they recommend in your area.
5. Talk to Friends and Family
Another way to find the right type of therapy for you is to ask friends and family for referrals. They might have somebody that they swear by — and they’ll be happy to pass their name to you.
Please keep an open mind if you choose this route. You might surprise yourself. For example, a friend might recommend a nutritional counselor. Don’t automatically assume that what you eat can’t influence your mental health. Some depressed patients have experienced a rapid improvement in their conditions from little more than addressing an underlying magnesium deficiency.
6. Get a Bit Creative
Therapy is expensive. You shouldn’t be made to feel like your mental health doesn’t matter if you don’t have enough coins in your wallet, but sadly, this scenario occurs every day. Please don’t beat up your already beleaguered mind with feelings of inadequacy.
If you don’t have insurance coverage to help cover costs, seek out facilities that offer services on a sliding fee basis. Many community counseling centers provide such resources.
You might also consider downloading a mental health app if you can’t afford traditional therapy. You can also find online support groups and communities for nearly any condition.
If you find yourself in crisis, please keep a lifeline saved on your phone. You can reach the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 800-273-8255. If you have speech difficulties or prefer text, messaging “start” to 471471 will connect you with a trained crisis volunteer.