If you are interesting in doing some therapy but aren't sure how to find a therapist, here are some tips to start you in that direction:
Finances & Insurance: I know it seems like a cold place to start, but finances are important. If you have extended healthcare benefits (or in the US, if you have
insurance) call your insurance provider to find out what types of therapists and designations they will cover. Answers vary so widely that it really is important to find out for you
personally what they will cover. Some other financial factors to consider:
EAP: If you work for a company that has an Employee Assistance Program, then they will be able to provide you with some therapist names for a limited number of
therapy sessions that are covered by your employer.
University: If you are in school, your counselling centre will likely be able to offer some limited sessions, or a group therapy for free. They also often have a list
of therapists outside of the university who work with students for a reduced fee like this one.
Crime Victim in BC: If you are the victim or witness to a crime, you can receive counselling (along with other needed services) for free. This is through the BC Ministry of Justice.
Gather names of therapists: Once you have sorted out your financial situation, you can determine who your pool of potential therapists are.
- If you have no restrictions, then ask friends, colleagues or your family doctor for some suggestions.
- Use an online directory like Psychology Today. (Here is my profile as an example). Often therapists have links to their websites where you can read more about them to get a feel for who they are. There
are several directories out there. A quick google search will bring up a number of them.
- If you have had successful therapy in the past with someone, consider working with them again.
Choose three therapists: After you have a number of names, go through and decide on three therapists to contact. Go with your instincts. Us therapists expect calls from
people who aren't sure about coming to see us and are often happy to provide some time by phone or in-person to help a potential client determine if it would be a good fit.
Why three therapists? I say three because it can be easy to overwhelm yourself with choices. You should be able to get a sense of a few different styles of
therapies and find one that will be able to work for you. Save your energy for the actual therapy rather then interviewing a ton of therapists.
In terms of fit, find someone that you feel like you could be comfortable talking to. Clients often feel nervous at first and this should not be confused with
comfort. The nerves will settle down after a couple sessions. Just focus on who you feel comfortable, safe and open with.
Narrow it down to one: After you have contacted up to three therapists and talked to them, choose one. Some of the last minute logistics to consider if all else is equal:
- Office location/Accessibility - how far is it to get to the office? What is the parking situation? Or is it near an easy bus route?
- Schedules - Can you agree on a time of day that works for you?
Congratulations: You've found a therapist. Now the work begins :)