Breaking a taboo: how to find the right therapist for you

Colleen Woodward
Colleen is a24-year-old recent college grad and NYC newbie who enjoys writing about her day to day life epiphanies (which hopefully help others around her). She's enjoys exploring all of the coffee shops Brooklyn has to offer, spending way too much time binge watching shows on Netflix and snuggling her dog (well, really any dog). Instagram: @Collwoodward Twitter: @Collwoodward LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/colleenwoodward

iStock/FilippoBacci

Therapy is something that no one likes to talk about, and yet tons of people see a therapist on a daily basis (whether they want to or not). I was petrified to tell anyone that I had started seeing a therapist, mainly because that voice in my head told me it makes me seem “crazy.” But, now that I’ve shared a majority of my mental health struggles for the world to see, why not keep going by talking about therapy?

No matter what you’re going through, having someone outside of your everyday life to talk to is extremely helpful. For me, it’s comforting to know that I can walk into my therapist’s door mid-panic attack (because that happens sometimes), and she knows exactly how to calm me down in that moment. But it’s also nice to have on a normal day when I just need to weed through my thoughts.

I grew up thinking that it needed to be kept quiet if you sought out help from a professional. Now I know so many people that go to therapy every week. I also know that it can be a bitch to find a good therapist.

The first time I ever went to a therapist in college was around the time I experienced my first panic attack. Mind you I was probably 19 and scared out of my mind, because I didn’t know what was happening to me. This therapist had me doing different exercises and reading handouts to work through my anxiety.

For me, it was the least helpful. I didn’t want to read a handout, I wanted to understand what I was supposed to do in the moment the panic attack was coursing through my body. I also didn’t want to dig deep in our first session about my family relationships and how they could be connected to my current panic attacks. Needless to say, I never went back, and totally gave up the idea that I could find a therapist worth going to.

Don’t let a bad experience stop you from getting the help you need. It’s important to find someone you can trust, relate to, feel safe around and who will listen to you. Obviously, we have to consider things like insurance or the out-of-pocket cost, but those things shouldn’t stop you from finding a great therapist.

So, let’s break down ways you can find a great therapist and some helpful tips:

 

Referral

If you’re seeing a psychiatrist for medications, they probably have some great connections to therapists they would recommend/trust, and vice versa. Since this person probably takes your insurance, they’ll know what therapists to recommend you to who do as well.

 

Psychology Today

This is the place where you can search in your area for therapists, read their credentials, biography and find out if they accept your insurance. It’s easy to use and gives you tons of helpful information and articles to read if you’re just browsing on the site. I typed in “therapists in New York City” and the site broke it down by neighborhood, such as East Village or Brooklyn, that filtered to different therapists. It can seem daunting when there is a ton to choose from, but take an hour out of your day and find one or two that seem like a good match, then call them!

 

Call your insurance company

The number on the back of your insurance card is there for a reason! You can call your member services and ask them to give you a list of therapists in your network. From there you can Google the names given to make sure they aren’t too far from your work or apartment, and just get a feel for what they’re all about.

 

ZocDoc

I have used this site to find ALL of my new doctors since moving to NYC. You can input your insurance (finding all of the doctors who are in network), upload your information, book an appointment, and read reviews from past patients. It’s really easy to use, I highly recommend it for all your doctor needs.

If you want to avoid the in-person meeting, The Angry Therapist is another option that provides online sessions with different coaches (such as anxiety, dating, etc). Or you can schedule a session with John himself.

 

Let’s talk $$

If you don’t have insurance, don’t let that be a reason to skip looking for therapy. Many therapists work on a sliding scale, meaning they factor in things like if you’re a student, your income and how much you pay for living expenses. They then calculate how much you can realistically pay for therapy. If you do have insurance, you’re looking at getting a certain amount covered and then needing to pay a ‘copay’ for each visit (unless your insurance covers the whole thing).

 

Don’t let your pride, money, insurance, or the search keep you away from putting your health first.

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