Finding a Therapist
Therapy is a recommended form of treatment for various anxiety disorders. But finding a therapist is not as easy as it sounds. You want to find someone with experience in treating anxiety but also someone that you feel comfortable with. Insurance and your ability to pay for treatment are also factors. It is helpful to keep a log of your anxiety symptoms or panic attacks. This will help a therapist to know what you are going through and to create a treatment plan.
Places to start
Most people will start their search for a therapist with their family doctor. In addition to discussing your symptoms with your doctor and ruling out physical causes, they may know therapists in your area that can help or specialize in treating anxiety disorders.
Additional places to look:
- Referrals from friends or relatives
- Support groups
- Ministers or church personnel
- Community mental health organizations
- Universities or hospitals
Prepare for your initial contact
Once you have a list of several possible therapists, call to ask basic information. Find out where their office is, if they have more than one office, what the office hours are and insurance and payment policies. You may also want to ask about cancellation policies to know whether you will be charged if you need to cancel an appointment. Based on this information, you may be able to narrow down your choices to a few therapists.
Write down questions that are important to you. Your list may include items such as:
How much experience do they have in treating anxiety disorders?
What techniques do they use?
What can you expect from a typical session?
Once you have your list, you are ready to call and speak with the therapist.
Call to set up an initial appointment
Your initial appointment is to help you decide if this is the right therapist. You may want to ask if you will be charged for this session. Sometimes, this portion can be done over the phone rather than going in to the office. You may need to leave a message, if so, be specific in the message and let the therapist know you are looking for some information about them and their services.
Interview the Therapist
Take some time to ask your questions and talk with the therapist. It is important for you to feel comfortable and at ease with the therapist. Remember, therapists are people and not all people get along with one another, if there is some reason you feel this is not the right therapist for you (even if you can't explain the reason), continue on your list to the next therapist.
It is also your right to change your mind if at any time you do not feel comfortable with the treatment.
Enter into any treatment with the goal of finding help and making positive changes in your life. Discuss with your therapist your goals.
Continue to keep your log of symptoms to share with your therapist. This will help them make adjustments to your treatment as needed. Being open and honest will help bring about change quicker than trying to hide symptoms because you are embarrassed.