How to Find a Therapist That Is a Good Fit for You (and Your Wallet)

Hello! I am Samantha Wall, I am an LCSW (licensed clinical social worker) and I live in Denver, Colorado. I provide individual therapy with children and adults with a focus on PTSD, anxiety, and depression. Through these blog posts I am hoping to help support you all through OHN with mental health information about how to find a therapist, symptoms and signs of PTSD, and topics that you all request! This first post is going to be focused on how to find a therapist that is a good fit for you and your wallet!

 

Payment*

First, finding a therapist that takes your insurance, EAP (Employee Assistance Program), and/or is an affordable price in general is important! It might sound like a weird place to start, but in my experience, payment is a real and stressful part of therapy, so figuring out the payment part before you start to look for a therapist will hopefully be helpful. I wouldn’t want you to find the perfect therapist, get started, and then find out that the therapist doesn’t take your EAP, insurance, or is too much for you to afford.

If your place of work provides free or discounted sessions through an EAP, this is where to start! You will usually be able to have a number of sessions fully covered through this resource. Now, with that said, each place of employment does this differently, and some do not provide this at all. If you are unsure about an EAP program, ask your supervisor or HR about it. They can usually tell you the benefits, or direct you to a person that will know.

If your place of work does not have therapy sessions included in the EAP, the next place to look for coverage is with your insurance. Each insurance plan is unique, so the best way to find out is to call your insurance provider and ask! Different insurances will cover different types of therapy, and with COVID, the coverage changes frequently. When you call, make sure to get details on what percentage the insurance will cover, what you might have to pay out of pocket, and if you could even get a couple of sessions covered fully. To check which providers are able to take your insurance, a great resource to use is Psychology Today (www.psychologytoday.com).

If you are willing/able to pay out of pocket for a therapist, this first part does not apply to you. This also comes with the question of how much are you able to afford. Different therapists charge different rates, so making sure you aren’t going over your budget is important!

*These are also not the only ways to pay for therapy, but these are the ways MOST people pay

 

Why do you want to go to therapy?

There are so many different reasons you might be searching for a therapist, and I am sure that if you’ve already started the process, you probably know why you want to go. PTSD, depression, anxiety, struggling to manage emotions, wanting coping skills to make it through the day, or even to just having someone to talk to about daily struggles. If your reason changes throughout therapy, it’s no big deal, but do have an idea of what you are coming to therapy with. This will help you in your search for a specific type of therapist!

 

How can you find a therapist that accepts your insurance?

Once you have identified why you want to go to therapy, the next step is finding a therapist that works with the identified issue and is able to take your method of payment. Different therapists are able to accept different types of payment, whether it is an EAP, insurance, or self-pay (most providers accept self-pay/out of pocket). I have created a table for each type of funding and how to find a therapist that accepts these types of payments:

  • EAP coverage: There is usually a website or list of providers. From this list you can search specific therapist names to see if they might be a good fit. Therapists either have a website or a psychology today profile where you can look at the specific issues and types of therapy they focus on.
  • Insurance coverage: Your insurance may provide a list of providers that accept the insurance or you can go to psychology today and providers will have the insurances they accept on their profiles. You can also put your insurance in the search engine so you don’t have to look through providers that do not accept your insurance. When you find therapists that accept your insurance, also make sure to ask how much is covered and how much you will have to pay out of pocket, either check with your insurance provider or with the therapist directly! Sometimes, therapists can give you an estimate on how much it will cost.
  • Self pay/out of pocket: This method is honestly going to give you the most choice based on how much you are willing to pay. Again, I recommend either using psychology today, looking up therapists in your area, or asking your friends/family/community who they’d recommend (if this is something you feel comfortable with). As always, make sure it is in your budget!

 

Types of Payment:

 

How to find a therapist that accepts this payment:

 

EAP

 

Your EAP will give you a specific list of providers that are covered under the EAP.

 

Insurance

 

Psychology Today, you can ask your insurance for a list of providers they cover.

 

Self-Pay/Out of Pocket Psychology Today/word of mouth.

 

*With each therapist, however you find them, I recommend looking at the therapist’s online profile (on personal websites or Psychology Today!) to find out if they might be a good fit for you!*

 

Making sure the therapist is a right fit!

Questions to ask yourself when looking for a therapist:

  • Do they work with the specific issue I am coming to therapy for?
  • Do I like their statement about themselves and the work they do as a therapist?
  • Do I need someone to hold me accountable in making changes or do I need someone more nurturing and understanding?
  • What people do I normally gravitate towards and trust?

Everyone is unique, so finding a therapist who’s a good fit for you can take some trial and error. The relationship between a therapist and client is very important, so if you don’t like a therapist or don’t feel like they are a good fit for you, please do not feel discouraged! It is like finding friends—some people you won’t mesh well with, and that is okay! If you don’t feel like you are able to make progress or build a relationship with a therapist after 3-6 sessions, there is no shame in trying to find another therapist or asking for recommendations for another therapist. Speaking from experience, I am more than happy to provide recommendations or referrals for a client if they feel it isn’t a good fit! I want to be able to support my client on their journey of mental health in any way I can.

 

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