As much as mental health issues continue to be stigmatized in our culture, it can be incredibly humbling to admit there’s an issue. But underneath all of the fear and worry about what others might think, you know there’s a need for help. It’s often a matter of finding the right therapist.
Signs You Need to See a Therapist
So many of us are walking around this world with seemingly insurmountable suffering simmering beneath the surface. Childhood trauma, crippling financial debt, a broken family tree, bullying and verbal abuse, stress, anxiety, depression…you name it.
Because we (and so many others) have become so skilled at carrying on like nothing is happening, we just suffer.
Therapy isn’t for the weak – it’s for the strong. It’s for people who are sick and tired of being sick and tired. Therapy is for getting unstuck. It’s the path forward to a stronger future.
Here are some specific signs that you may be a good candidate for therapy:
- You no longer enjoy doing the things you once did.
- Your eating, sleeping, and exercise habits have changed.
- You find yourself shying away from social situations with friends.
- Your relationships aren’t being nurtured (and may be falling apart).
- You’ve recently been through a traumatic event that left you feeling shocked.
- Your stress and anxiety levels are so high that you find it difficult to function.
These are just a few examples. There are dozens of other reasons to see a therapist. According to a study by Psychology Today, 59 million Americans have received mental health treatment within the past two years, and four out of five find it effective. Perhaps you will too.
How to Find the Right Therapist
Deciding you need to see a therapist is the first step. The second step is to find the right therapist. Here are several considerations:
- Ask for referrals. Good therapists can be difficult to find. One of the best ways to locate one is by asking for a referral from someone who has had a positive experience with therapy in the past. Try asking multiple sources. See if any of the same names emerge.
- Use online databases. If you’re uncomfortable asking people for a referral, or you don’t know anyone who has used a therapist in the past, your next best option is to do some online digging. There are plenty of databases, including the Psychologist Locator tool on the APA website and the National Register. You can also poke around Google for therapists in your area. (Just make sure you read lots of reviews!)
- Consider insurance. Unfortunately, many therapists do not accept insurance. Despite being a totally necessary form of healthcare, mental health continues to lack support and cohesion with insurance. However, there are some highly skilled therapists who do accept insurance. Manhattan Mental Health Counseling is one of several practices that accepts major insurance like Aetna, Cigna and United for online therapy. Do your research and be sure to inquire about insurance up front.
- Inquire about licenses. There are several different categories of professional therapists. Understanding the differences between them will help you find the right professional.
First off, you have layperson specialists. These are people who have recovered from anxiety disorders or mental health issues in the past and now provide assistance to others.
Next, there are non-licensed professionals. These individuals may hold a master’s degree in a mental health modality, yet are unlicensed. This is usually due to the fact that the state they practice in doesn’t offer or require a license in that field.
Finally, there are licensed professionals. This includes psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, and other counselors who are licensed by the state.
While there are people in each of these categories who can help you, it’s usually best to seek out licensed professionals. This helps you feel confident that you’re working with highly trained individuals.
- Ask the right questions. When vetting therapists, it’s helpful to ask questions like: What is your approach to treatment? What experience do you have in treating [blank]? If I need medication, are you able to prescribe or refer me to someone who does?
Take Action Today
Trying to find a therapist for your mental health issues can feel like a massive uphill climb. And if you aren’t careful, the effort required in finding the right professional can actually push you away and make you feel defeated. Hopefully, this article has provided you with some clear action steps you can take – as well as some key things to look for – so that the process is easier and less strenuous.