Most people wait a long time before they seek out counseling. You are a self-sufficient person. You do your best. You use your coping skills. You talk to friends. You try to exercise, maybe even yoga. And it is only when everything you can think of doesn't work, that you reach out to see if therapy or counseling might help!
Now that you have decided counseling might help, how do you go about finding a therapist? It is actually easier than you may think. There are so many different options for finding a therapist. Let's take a look at a few...
1. Ask for a recommendation. When you begin looking for a therapist, you may want to start with asking trusted friends or family for recommendations. Be sure you ask someone who will be supportive of your decision.
2. Ask for a referral. Using your Primary Care Doctor as a resource is always a good choice. Give your doctor's office a call to find out if they have a list of therapists they refer patients to.
3. Go Online. Do a Google search for therapists in your area. Be sure to do multiple searches using different search terms (counseling, psychotherapy, couples counseling). Be open to different kinds of therapists (Psychologist versus Social Worker) and degrees (PhD vs PsyD vs MSW). Or use Google to find an online directory.
4. Online Therapist Directories. There are many to choose from. Psychology Today is one of the most reliable, requiring therapists to list a minimum of professional qualifications. It also includes profiles of the therapists, fees, and contact information, often times with a link to email the therapist directly from the site!
5. Work Resources. Some employers offer Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs). Usually EAPs are managed by the Human Resources department. Employee Assistance Programs provide employees with counseling or emotional support that is confidential. Some EAPs are in-house and others are outsourced to local providers. In both instances, the employee is given a set number of sessions at no cost. If additional counseling is necessary or desired, the employee is referred to a community provider who accepts your insurance.
Whatever method you use to search for a therapist, be sure to contact 2 or 3. You want to be sure to have options in case one of the therapists is unavailable or not a good fit. You have a responsibility to yourself to be picky about whom to share your innermost thoughts.