Thursday, January 26, 2017

How to Find a Therapist -

I am a big fan of talk therapy. I haven't actually loved all of my past therapists though (once I even left midway through a session, crying, after paying the dude $20 so I didn't have to deal with insurance), but I am always in pursuit of landing that person who is perfect for me. Someone who has just the right number of candles lit in their office to be relaxing and not weird. 

And just to be clear a therapist is different than a psychiatrist.  A psychiatrist gives you prescription medications  while you try not to cry in their office.  A therapist gives you kleenex while you definitely cry in their office. Both interactions are necessary in my book. 

Mental health help is tricky in America and because of that I will ALWAYS have a psychiatrist and talk therapist in my world. I will do whatever I need to, to maintain an active patient status. Because trying to get in to either - therapy or psychiatry - feels as difficult as being accepted in to college. 
If I won the lottery, practically disappeared from society, didn't have a care in the world and was in a mountain chalet somewhere,  and my phone pinged to remind me that it had almost been six months since my last psychiatry appointment, then I would scoot my toosh off that mountain and be in my doctors office asap. I am not messing around. 
So recently I went on the hunt for a  new talk therapist, and here are the steps I took:

Step One) I happily clicked boxes on the Psychology Today website to choose my perfect therapist: Female, between certain ages, no more than five miles from my home, specializing in these four or five specific areas, accepts new patients,  in-network with my insurance, has a nice profile pic (not some haphazard snapshot from her living room), a lovely written description of her therapy style, a soothing and professional sounding voicemail/website or receptionist. 

Yesss, I was already feeling more therapized just going through this intense screening process. I valued myself that much to take the time to find just the right person. 

Step Two) I realized I had to get my insurance plan in order - make sure I knew my coverage, etc. Exactly which frigging Florida Blue plan did I have - there are literally like 34 different options just under my type. So, I hunted for my password to my portal account for like two days, because I am very busy and important* and sometimes sleep.  

Step Three) Once I cracked the Fort Knox insurance website I tried to decipher what my exact coverage was and finally gave up and texted a trusted co-worker (who has my same plan) about our therapy coverage. 

Step Four) Realized a few of the therapeutic looking women I picked out may not be "in-network," so I spent some more time on Psychology Today and my own health insurance site, scouring for the right person who would soothe me, have the right mix of letting me cry but not wallow, and give me actual strategies to be a successful human -- all in the same session. 

And then... nine days later after countless interactions where:

 -my insurance was not accepted
-the therapist was not accepting new patients
-the therapist/receptionist was openly rude 
-I had to be currently admitted to a hospital for mental illness, to be a patient
-they could suspiciously get me in THAT DAY ("or tomorrow - I am open!") - Uh, no. 
-or no return call at all. 

I was forced to reevaluate.   
If I didn't need therapy before I needed it now.

Step Five) My new criteria:

Female, bewteen certain ages, no more than five miles from my home, specializing in these four or five specific areas, accepts new patients,  in-network with my insurance, has a nice profile pic (not some haphazard snapshot from her living room), a lovely description of her therapy style, a soothing and professional sounding voicemail/website or receptionist.  Seems like a relatively ok person.

I did eventually find someone that fits this criteria. And I think I cried a little on the phone with the receptionist when we  got to the part where we discussed an actual appointment date. 

So my tips for Tired Girls are this:
-Find your insurance login info and tattoo it on your inner thigh
-Cancel the making of home cooked meals, for like two weeks just so you can focus on this task
-Be open minded about exactly what the therapist will be like, but don't keep going to someone who is awful. I'll watch a Hallmark movie and feel better rather than spend an hour with someone that is a dick.
-Whisper the words "Fuck 'Em" anytime you hear people discuss insurance companies. 
-Do what seems appropriate to raise awareness about mental health resources in the US. I am a healthy, happy, educated, insured, bright, individual and it felt like I should have had more to show for all my effort here. 
-Be proactive - I highly recommend securing a therapist just to have on hand. Because trust me if/when you really need it, it will seem like an unbearable undertaking. You wouldn't only go to the dentist when your teeth are rotting. You go before, so they don't rot. 

Okay, I think I am done here. Both exhausted from what my brother would call this Bataan Death March of therapy searching and done with giving out un-requested advice. Good luck out there Tired Girls. 

Anyone have a tip I am missing? 

*not important at all


  1. Thanks for sharing these amazing tips. Whether an adult or child needs therapy, finding the right therapist takes research, patience, and intuition. A good therapist can be hard to find. By following these tips, you can easily solve this problem.


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