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Sporadic photos and notes from a Psyche-midwife, cheerleader, anthropologist--aka clinical social worker in therapy practice. Photos are usually mine except for those of historical events/famous people. Music relevant to the daily topic is often included in a web video embedded below the blog. Click on highlighted links in the copy to get to source or supplemental material. For contact information, see my website @ janasvoboda.com or click on the button to the right below. Join in the conversation.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

How to do therapy part one: finding a therapist

Having been on both sides of the therapy couch, I know how anxiety provoking it can be to turn your inner life over to a near/complete stranger.  Here's some tips on finding a good fit.  None of these are guarentees, but it beats throwing a dart at the yellow pages.

1)  Talk to people who've seen them.   You can get some idea of their style-- formal, in-your-face, analytical, practical.  Some therapists are different with different people-- well, most are at least sometimes-- but it's a start. 

2)  Check out their website, if they have one.  It should give you an idea of their therapeutic orientation and demeanor.

3)  Google 'em.  Psychology Today has a "therapy finder" website that has bios and information about rates and insurances accepted.  It's a paid advertising service; not all therapists use it.  There are others as well.  

4)  Ask your MD or another therapist.  They aren't going to know everyone in town, but they aren't going to give you a name of someone they don't trust, either.  Don't be afraid to ask your OB/gyn, pediatrician, dentist-- they've all been asked before.

5)  Call,  or if they have a website/email contact, email. If you are comfortable, give a brief idea of what you're working on and looking for.  It can be discouraging, I know-- you will find most of us are full.  Some of us will still try to offer an idea of someone else you could try.  If we're not full, you'll get a better idea if you're a fit if you can have a brief conversation.  Ask if you can be on a wait list if it's someone you are really hoping to work with.

6)  Ask others who they've heard recommended and why.

7)  Call your insurance company or visit their website.  Some sites will have bios of providers and what they specialize in. They will also only refer you to people they are willing to cover (though copay amounts/limitations will usually apply).

Things to consider:  If you want to use insurance, make sure the therapist you choose accepts your particular plan, and get preauthorization if needed.  It often is. 

If you have limited availability, establish that up front-- most therapists operate like any other professional office, 9-5 M-F.  No sense opening up your entire life story if you can only come in on Saturdays and they can't see you then.

If you've got other tips, please add them in the comment section.

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