Mary Olivia Verhulst
Therapy can feel intimidating when you don’t know how to navigate the system. However, the feeling of hopelessness that individuals face who can’t find the right help because they don’t know which questions to ask, or where to go, is too common and needs to be addressed. What’s going wrong, and what can we do as providers to help?
We’ve heard the horror stories. You finally work up the courage to find a therapist, and every email or call you place is met with one of the following:
- “No availability past 5 PM”
- “We don’t take your insurance”
- Or worse no reply back!
Here are some tips on how not to get lost in the system:
- Go in knowing what you need. This might be the hardest part- how often do we really have conscious awareness of our emotional and physical needs in a given moment? You don’t need to know everything going on with you – often that’s why we go to therapy in the first place. But take some time before you get on the phone to examine what your pressing needs are toward your mental health, and what barriers have been in your way. Simply stating I need help managing a recent break-up or I’ve been struggling with panic attacks or anxiety is enough.
- Research the different types of clinics. Would your needs be best suited in a group, hospital, clinic, or a solo private practice setting? If your needs are not life threatening, you may imagine yourself in an outpatient setting or a private practice for one on one therapy.
- Ask for resources and referrals – most practices have them! If your Google and Psychology Today profile hunt has hit a dead end, ask providers that you do reach for fitting referrals, such as “low cost resources in Manhattan”.
- Get creative with your timing. Typically the after work, 5 PM to 9 PM time slots fill up quickly. Don’t forget to ask if there’s weekend availability, or lunchtime availability. Your standard psychotherapy session is 45 minutes. Is there room in your work day for an appointment? It’s important that you prioritize your mental health.
- Try teletherapy. There are some providers and groups that may be able to offer secure video sessions. This may be a convenient alternative if your schedule presents as an obstacle.
- Don’t get lost in the jargon of it all. Different theoretical approaches and perspectives to therapy can feel overwhelming and confusing to someone not in the field. Here’s a secret: You’re not expected to know! Ask your therapist what their approach means to them, and what it can mean for you in session. Often your curiosity and honesty will make for the best experience in therapy. After many years research has shown that the most important ingredient for therapy success is the fit or relationship between the therapist and patient so focus on whether the therapist is the right fit for you.
- Insurance. This may be one of the areas with the greatest degree of difficulty. All insurance plans are required to cover mental health visits. The question becomes whether the provider is an in-network or out-of-network provider. Because insurance companies place numerous restrictions on providers many providers prefer not sign insurance contracts. Once you are able to speak to a provider he/she/they will be able to break-down all of the insurance details and other payment options.
- Don’t get discouraged. While it is true that even in therapist haven NYC there is a shortage of therapists armed with this information you can find hope that you will find a good fit for your needs.
Experience relief. Call, text or email us. We are here to help you find the right fit. Contact us today for individual or couples therapy. If our clinicians are not the right fit for you, we can help refer you to someone that will be a good fit.