How Do You Find a Therapist Anyway?

There are so many things that can make you anxious nowadays. For starters, even reading too much bad news can literally make you distressed. Work can also be a major source of depression and anxiety; you may want to quit your job, but feel as though you can’t because you need the health insurance.

All those thoughts can start to spiral. When they do, it’s time to seek therapy. Not everyone knows how to do that, and for some people, the idea of trying therapy is enough to induce resistance, paralysis and anxiety. Here’s how to make finding a therapist easier.

Ask your friends

If you wear your heart on your sleeve, then asking friends and acquaintances about their therapists might sound perfectly acceptable.. But if you play things close to the vest, you’re probably unnerved by the thought of confiding in your friends about issues like depression and anxiety. But asking your friends doesn’t mean posting a public request on Facebook. Of course, you can do that if that’s your style. Although therapy and mental health are talked about much more openly, most people still prefer a more private or subtle approach when seeking a therapist.

Let’s say you live in Washington, DC. It’s a well-populated area with plenty of mental health professionals and is known as a city where many people seek out therapy. There’s a good chance that  a friend casually mentioned something their therapist said.. Given that they are comfortable with the fact that they’re getting professional help and they probably like their therapist, they’ll likely be happy to help if you ask them about therapists in DC.

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Check with your insurance company

Naturally, your insurance company isn’t nearly as much fun to talk to as your friends, partly because your friends don’t make you wait on hold for thirty minutes every time you call. Health insurance is baffling for a lot of reasons. Not everyone can afford it, and those who can often struggle with using it, especially when it comes to mental health care.

When gathering information about your policy, you can start by logging into your insurance company’s website. Many health insurance websites have a provider search tool. Many allow you to  filter your search by gender. Or, if you want someone within five miles of your house or work, then you can filter by distance.

Not every search tool is great, and sometimes the information may not be entirely up-to-date, but it’s a start.

Keep trying

So it took you a week to gather up the courage to call a therapist you found online. First off, congratulations. That’s a huge step.

However, then you talk to them, you find out that they are out of network or accept your insurance company’s gold plan, but you only have silver. That can feel disheartening.

Mental health conditions like depression make it so much harder to feel useful and productive, but do what you can to fight the urge, when you hang up the phone, to give up forever on finding therapy. If you’re anxious or depressed, one of the best things you can do is set achievable, concrete goals for yourself.

Write down specific goals on paper. Don’t just put them in a note on your phone. Seeing them in black and white makes them more real. At first, your goal might be just to call one therapist’s office a day. You may find it easier to call as you go on, or it may always be hard. But either way, keeping at it will make you feel better than throwing up your hands and saying nevermind.

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