One of the most frequently given answers to the questions given on any mental health site including our own is to seek the help of a therapist. But what if you don't have one? How do you go about getting one and how do you decide if they are good or not? And once you have been in therapy for some sessions, what happens when you decide that it just isn't a good match?
I hope to give you some answers to these questions as well as provide you with some resources to guide you towards finding a good quality therapist. Hopefully you will not reach the point of having to fire your therapist but I will give guidance there as well. I have been there and done that!
So how do you find a therapist?
There are a lot of different places one could look for a therapist but here is a short list:
* A recommendation from your General Practitioner
* If you are in school, the school counselor or college health center
* Ask your friends
* Community Mental Health Centers
* Recommendations from local mental health support groups
* Churches and religious institutions
* Your provider list from your insurance company if you have one.
You can also find a therapist by looking on this Psychology Today website:
It is very simple. Just plug in your zipcode and what issues you are dealing with and viola you have a grand list of therapists to choose from.
But what if I don't have insurance and/or money?
When I was a teen I had no money and no insurance. I did get help though from my local community center. My boyfriend's mother called them up and set me up with an appointment with a graduate student in training to become a social worker. While it was not the ideal situation it did help in the short term.
In addition to calling your local mental health center some therapists have a sliding fee scale for those who do not have insurance. I have also heard of people having good luck getting help through joining a local mental health support group. Sometimes it helps more to be with others who have experience in dealing with mental health issues first hand.
Also The National Mental Health Information Center web site has a very detailed list of how one can get to see a therapist if you have no money or are uninsured. You may find that information here.
I wanted to also give you this link to a google forum where there is the best and most exhaustive answer to this question that I have ever seen. Please check out this link for everything you ever wanted to know about how to get therapy when you are uninsured.
What Makes a Good Quality Therapist?
Well basically someone who is a good match for you! However one basic criteria is to find someone who has the training and education to help you and has the credentials to prove it. In an article by Erin Johnston entitled, "What to Look for in Choosing a Therapist," the author says to look for the following credentials: "It is important that you choose a therapist who is licensed to practice independently, such as: LCPC, LPCC, LSCW, LISW, PhD, MD." But now having said this I will also say that while credentials are nice, what matters most is the relationship that you have with your counselor or therapist.