How to Find a Therapist for the First Time
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Finding the right therapist for one's psychological problems can be a daunting task. It takes time and effort but can be done if one is equipped with the right information.
It is common to seek therapy during an emergency or a catastrophe in one's life (like a breakup or divorce), but therapy is more appropriate when life isn't complicated. Major life-changing events like moving to a big city, starting a new job or becoming a parent can be a great time for therapy.
Most therapists are equipped with multiple approaches and can tailor them based on one's specific needs. The two common types of therapy are:
Most Therapists are not directly affiliated with Insurance companies, but can still provide you with a receipt so that you can contact the insurance company to get reimbursed. The process has some hoops and jumps which can be easily figured out.
Insurance claims only work with a specific clinical diagnosis, which the therapist can spell out after a few sessions. This will also go on your record if you are claiming insurance.
Once you are in the market for a therapist out of your shortlist, you need to keep the following points in mind:
Keep in mind that therapy is a serious investment, and has benefits that make it worthwhile.
Most therapists start charging from the first session and it is a good idea to not commit to someone whom you cannot pay. A supervised, licensed intern usually charges less.
Certain things to observe and red flags to look out for once you are in the clinic:
One gets to know if therapy is working within four to five meetings and if not, you can observe your own progress or switch therapists if required. If you are comfortable and communicative with the therapist there is a greater chance of progress and eventual success.
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A therapist should be someone you trust will keep your secrets, and hopefully someone whose company you enjoy, as finding a good fit is an important part of successful therapy.
There is a common misconception that going to therapy, you will lie down on a couch, staring at the ceiling, and talk while an emotionless professional sits near you and writes on a notepad.
Most therapists do have couches in their offices. But many people in therapy choose to sit and talk to their therapist, who often responds.
Some methods of psychotherapy and complex issues may take some time, but many interventions are shorter. Also, many choose to stay in therapy after the issue that brought them has been addressed to better understand themselves and their thoughts.
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Most mental health professionals treat mental illness by combining psychotherapy and medication or by therapy alone. Many clients choose the latter when they don’t need medication or think of it as burdensome.
Untrained people can’t offer the same mental health benefits as a mental health professional could.
Your mental health is too big a responsibility to place on the people in your life. They will be there for you during hard times, but shouldn’t be a substitute for therapy.
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You will need to feel safe and secure and establish a connection with your therapist. It is reasonable to try out a few until you find the right one.
The right therapist will encourage and support you in making uncomfortable changes.
Ask your community for mental health specialists recommendations. Consider asking your GP, family, friends or local community.
Once you have a few names, look up their qualifications and read up about them.
No particular form of therapy is proven to be better or more effective than others.
Different people prefer or respond to different forms of therapy.
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Misconceptions may make it hard for you to pinpoint the threshold for significant psychological distress in yourself or others. And can add hurdles to successfully initiating psychotherapy or being willing to stick with it.
Understanding what not to expect from the experience can help you approach treatment as an educated consumer with an open mind.
Some approaches take more time than others, but it is highly unlikely that lasting change for longstanding issues can be achieved in a few sessions of psychotherapy.
The first appointments are to determine if (and what kind of) therapy can be helpful. You will talk about what led you to seek care and about medical, social, and family history to help the therapist get to know you better.
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