Congratulations on making the decision to invest in yourself through therapy! Getting information has become much easier in many ways, but finding a provider who meets your needs in 2023 may still be a daunting task. Most people have no idea where to start, but below are some things to consider and help you along as you find a good match.
Identify what you would like to be different and what isn’t working.
Does that involve just yourself or other close loved ones?
What goals would you like to accomplish?
Are there any therapies that you are interested in finding out more about and if they would fit your needs?
What are the values that are important to you in a provider?
What are constraints or possible logistical hurdles, such as scheduling, that may affect who you pick as a provider?
If you have health insurance and are seeking to use them, call your health insurance provider to find out what is covered. Some plans only cover a limited number of sessions or certain types of therapy, such as individual but not family/couple's therapy. Some insurance companies only cover specific types of providers and licenses. Ask what your copay will be and if you need to meet a deductible before the plan covers services.
Something that is often missed is finding out what your out-of-network benefits are, which can be surprisingly similar to in-network benefits for some plans. You pay up front and receive a superbill, which is submitted to the insurance company for full or partial reimbursement. If this is something you are considering, find out exactly how to complete this process. If you feel confident about how to use your out-of-network benefits, you have the freedom in choosing the provider that meets your needs. Another factor to consider is that you will need a diagnosis to justify the coverage by your insurance plan. Some couples prefer not to have one individual be labeled with a diagnosis if not necessary. For more information about what questions to ask your insurance provider, see my FAQ.
Ask a friend, colleague, or another medical provider for referrals. Many medical providers, particularly primary care physicians, have lists of providers whom they send patients to. When asking a friend or colleague about a therapist they are recommending, ask what they like about them, who they serve, and if they have experience treating clients with similar concerns to you. If you are seeking to use your insurance, ask if they take insurance and which ones. Your friend or colleague may not know all of these questions, but many therapists have websites you can review prior to deciding if you’d like to reach out.
There are many trustworthy online directories that have lists of providers you can use to help you in your research. Below are some common ones:
Mental Health Match
American Association of Marriage & Family Therapists directory
Postpartum Support International provider directory
If you are employed, check with your Human Resources to see if you have Employee Assistance Program benefits.
If you are a student, check to see if there is a student counseling center or other resources on campus.
If you identify with a faith, check your place of worship for lists of referrals for a faith informed therapist near you.
Once you find a few therapists that interest you, preferably 3-4, give them a call or send email or message to find out more. If they have it available, a free consultation call may be helpful so you can get a better feel about them and how they can help you. Don’t be shy asking about what related experience they have with your specific concerns, what are their views on important topics related to your concerns, and what to expect in therapy with them. Think about how they made you feel, did they seem to listen and connect with you, and if you feel you can trust them. If you do end up meeting with someone for a session, don’t be afraid to let them know if they are not a good fit. It does not offend us, we want you to find a good fit for you, too!
Finding a therapist is a very personal matter. Deciding to focus on taking care of yourself and the relationships that matter to you is a large undertaking that can be made manageable with some help from an experienced provider. Take the first step towards cultivating a life you love. You are worth it!
If you’d like to reach out and talk about how we can help you, send a contact form or schedule a free consultation call today.
Jessica is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist based in Gilbert, AZ. She has over 10 years of experience working with people in all walks of life and has a passion for helping couples and families create deep and fulfilling relationships.