If you have been considering speaking with a professional mental health therapist but don’t know where to start, here is a comprehensive guide on how to start mental health therapy.
Deciding you would like to speak with a mental health therapist and would like additional support in your life is a big step.
But what do you do after you have made that decision?
In a previous article “How To Know If You Need Mental Health Counseling”, we discussed some indicators on making the decision to being therapy.
Some of the most common indicators are:
- You’re having difficulty with coping with general situations or situations in your everyday life.
- You notice abrupt changes in your mood throughout the day.
- You find it difficult to manage your mood and emotions.
- You feel sad throughout most of the day or out of nowhere without a reason that you can identify.
- You worry or feel anxious a lot if not all of the time.
- You find yourself “feeling stuck” with certain thoughts or memories.
- Your relationships have been impacted and or feel that you need some extra support on communicating with others.
- You have experienced a lack of motivation or joy within your life.
- You find yourself using alcohol or other substances to help alter your mood.
- You have thought about death or suicide.
If you have any of these indicators, it may be the right time to start mental health therapy, but you don’t need to have any of these indicators, and you don’t have to wait to start with therapy if you feel that it is the right time for you. You can benefit and utilize mental health therapy any time you choose.
It is also our strong belief that everyone and anyone can benefit from mental health therapy.
So you’ve made the choice to start with mental health therapy and you’re looking for the right therapist for you, what now?
You have options when it comes to beginning treatment.
If you have insurance, you can contact your insurance provider for a list of “in network providers”. From there we would recommend making a few calls to see which provider fits your needs and feels right for you.
You can also ask for a direct referral from your primary care physician and they may be able to offer some insight with various providers and treatment modalities to help address your specific needs.
Once you decide that you are ready to begin your search, now to finding the right mental health therapist for you.
We discussed 5 important tips to consider when finding a therapist in this previous article “Finding The Right Mental Health Therapist”, which includes:
- Having a solid relationship and connection with your therapist is the most important element to the therapy process and leads to true progress in treatment.
- Finding a therapist that has experience and specialty with your specific situation. Find the right therapist that bests fits with you and specializes in your particular area of focus.
- Knowing the difference between licensures and which professional will be best for you. A therapist is typically used for counseling, a Psychologist can provide counseling and psychological testing, and a Psychiatrist is typically for medication treatment.
- Know the different therapy modalities and ask your therapist which they specialize in and how it will help with your particular needs.
- Know the types of services offered and your therapists availability. Finding the right mental health therapist can take some time and you may go through a few to find the best fit for you and that is completely okay. Take your time and find the right one to help you with addressing your particular needs.
Even when finding the right mental health therapist for yourself, if there is an urgent concern, be sure to address those urgent needs first by following up with emergency treatment services, including calling 911, suicide hotline (1-800-273-8255), or going to the nearest emergency room if needed.
Either direction you choose, whether insurance or private pay, the first step is to contact your therapist to see if it will be the right fit.
Most, if not all therapist offers free initial phone consultations to discuss your needs before scheduling a session.
Here is where you can call multiple therapist and find the best fit for you. When you make that call ask questions like:
- When is your availability?
- What therapy modality do you use?
- What are your rates?
- Do you offer Telehealth?
- Do you accept insurance?
- Do you offer superbills for insurance reimbursement?
And anything else you may think is relevant to you making the decision to continue with therapy with that specific provider. Here is your chance to explain what has led you to this point in looking for mental health therapy and asking if that is within their specialty and how they feel they can help.
You can make your initial contact either by email or phone, but it is highly recommended to talk with your potential therapist by phone. That way you get a better idea of how they talk, respond, and feel to you with starting this therapeutic relationship.
We previously mentioned insurance and superbills. If you are using your insurance directly, your insurance provider will provide a list of in network therapist to choose from. If you find a therapist on your own and want to try for potential “out of network reimbursement” you can ask your insurance provider if they would accept a Superbill for potential reimbursement from your out of network provider. Now this is not a guaranteed thing and your potential therapist has no responsibility in this area, but it never hurts to ask your insurance.
If you are paying “out of pocket” therapy fees range depending on your therapist, location, and specialty.
Once you decide on a therapist, you can ask about rates and frequency of treatment.
Once you find the right fit for you and you have made the decision of who you want to see, schedule an appointment.
This decision of beginning mental health therapy may feel like a heavy and big decision to make, but you should be proud of yourself for making the decision to better yourself, advocate for yourself, and empower yourself!
If you feel that you are ready to start with mental health therapy, please feel free to contact us at Soaring Families Counseling for a free consultation.