Okay so first things first…. CONGRATS on starting one of the most nerve wreaking experiences people do which is starting. So now that you are aware you are ready, the next question is how to I get started, what about payment, or how do I find the right therapist? Hang tight as I am going to give you some tips on getting a great therapy experience
Finding A Therapist
So where can you find a therapist? Well sometimes if you know a friend or family that is in therapy, you may ask them who they are seeing if you are comfortable or there are other ways to find one; the internet or your insurance provider.
There are many websites out there that list therapists in your area and the things they specialize in such as anxiety, depression, prenatal/fertility issues, etc. Here are some to check out:
You can also check with your insurance provider such as Blue Cross Blue Shield, Cigna, etc. and see who they have in their network you can see.
Contact the Therapist
Now after all that hard work searching for “the one”, you found 1 or a few you are interested in possibly scheduling an appointment. Here are a few tips to get you through this process without feeling defeated:
1. When calling the therapist, please leave a message! DON’T JUST HANG UP!I know it may be weird leaving a message about needing help to a stranger, but most therapists aren’t able to answer the phone immediately. Many of them are in session, at clinics, or teaching at universities. They can’t help you if you don’t leave a message with your name. Please allow them to return your call within 24 hours; many also welcome emails if you feel most comfortable doing that.
2. Have in mind, when you would like to start your sessions and what days as well as times work best for you.When calling to feel out the therapist, know if you need evening, mornings, weekdays, or weekend appointments before making the call. This will relieve so much tension if you know beforehand and not scrambling on the phone to figure it out.
3. Ummm…so how do they get paid?There are 2 ways to pay for therapy: Private Pay or Insurance.
Private Pay: is when you are paying out of pocket of your own money, whether it’s in your sock or in your account.
Insurance: Many insurance plans offer Behavioral/Mental Health services where your therapy can be 100% covered or a percentage of it and you pay the difference. For many Insurance reimbursement can either be in-network or out of network. In-network means they are paneled on your insurance to provide services; out of network means they aren’t on the insurance panel but may still be able to get reimbursement from the insurance.
Side Note: Many insurances offer out of network reimbursement; you will need a superbill from the therapist for reimbursement but please check with your insurance first to make sure your policy covers.
4. What happens if I can’t afford therapy?Unfortunately, this happens often due to no or low coverage insurance as well as private pay is a huge cost. Here are a few suggestions:
- Ask the therapist if they offer sliding scale rate: Some therapists will slide their rate for some circumstances which will give you some relief on the rate.
- Seek services at a university or clinic: Many colleges offer free to low cost services for students or members in the community; as well as local clinics
- Find an associate/intern: Many amazing interns/associates whom are still earning hours for licensure offer affordable rates to clients seeking therapy.
- Don’t be fooled by the title; you won’t be getting shortchanged for the experience as they deliver top notch therapy as well.
- Last but not least…SHOW UP TO YOUR APPOINTMENT! We all get cold feet, but you can do this! If for some reason you can’t attend; don’t leave your therapist hanging; call and let them know you aren’t coming as soon as possible in case someone else may need help that day.
If you need more information on how to get prepared for your first session click here to download my therapy session checklist.
Remember…..there is nothing wrong with going to therapy; your life doesn’t have to be in shambles for you to start but if you aren’t feeling happy or things weigh on you heavily it may be time to seek help from a professional.