It can be challenging to find a therapist you feel comfortable with and meets your other needs. When you get therapy, you want to feel relaxed with your therapist so that you can share your thoughts and feelings.
You should also find a clinical psychologist or another type of therapist who you can afford. Your insurance provider or friends may have an affordable and trustworthy suggestion. It may take a few tries to find a counselor you like, but here are some tips on connecting with a mental health professional.
You can find a psychotherapist or another type of therapist through your health insurance provider. The insurance company can give you a list of mental health professionals in your policy’s network.
The insurance company can give you some information about the therapist, like licensed psychologists and years in practice. However, each provider is different, and more or less information may be available. You may need to contact the provider directly with your questions, like the ones listed in the next section.
An insurance representative can also review what and who your insurance covers. For instance, you may need to meet a deductible before the provider picks up any part of the bill. Or, your policy may only pay for therapists who are part of an inpatient program and not outpatient services.
Coverage for mental health services is usually similar to medical services, such as paying a copayment for each session. Conversely, you may need to pay the therapist directly and seek insurance from the insurance company directly.
If you do not have health insurance, your options may be limited or more expensive. You will have to contact offices to inquire about rates.
Fortunately, some places that help the community may have free counseling available, such as:
- Veterans Affairs offices.
- Student health centers.
- Federally Qualified Health Centers.
- Local mental health schools.
The federal government also has resources to find mental health assistance but does not have health insurance or money to cover the cost. Mentalhealth.gov is a government-sponsored website that provides contact information to get immediate help, such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and the Treatment Referral Helpline.
Therapy apps allow therapists to meet with patients via text, phone, and telehealth videos. Your smartphone may also be able to connect you with a mental health professional. Make sure your therapist can meet in a method that works for your needs.
Whether you have insurance or not, you can ask your primary care physician for a recommendation. Your doctor’s office may be able to reach out to contacts on your behalf and ensure that counselor is accepting new patients, your insurance policy, and other details.
Additionally, the recommended therapists can work directly with your primary doctor if you need medication. This working relationship can be invaluable and more affordable, as some therapists are more affordable than others.
For example, therapists who can prescribe medication almost always have higher rates than those who cannot—meeting with a non-prescribing counselor once a week is more affordable than seeing a prescribing psychiatrist at the same frequency.