4 Tactics for Finding and Using a Therapist

by Christina Bruni Patient Expert

In the photo I'm holding a copy of Benessere Psicologico: Contemporary Thought on Italian American Mental Health. I contributed to that book a chapter titled "Recovery is Within Reach." It's available on Amazon.com.

Finding a good therapist can be a challenge.

Strategies for finding a therapist can help as well as information for continuing and ending therapy. Talk therapy is the most common form of therapy either one-on-one with a counselor or in group therapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy helps schizophrenia patients manage paranoia better.

Here are my 4 tactics for finding a good therapist:

Ask someone you trust for a referral.

A guy I know recommended a certain mental health center. Alas they were booked solid and had no available openings.

Ask the intake department of a mental health center about other therapy options.

The center referred me to an office that was convenient. Yet that agency too had a waiting list a mile long. Get put on a waiting list if necessary.

Go on your health insurance plan's website and search their directory of therapists.

This was my last resort. Yet doing so netted me a convenient date and time to talk to a new therapist who accepted my low insurance co-pay.

Go on GoodTherapy to find a therapist.

Understand their list might bring up therapists who charge $100 per session upfront. I'm satisfied with the quick search I did on the insurance plan directory.

Christina Bruni's three takeaways about finding and talking with a therapist:

"Be determined. Never quit" as the motto goes.

Five years ago when I had an intake with a therapist she told me she couldn't treat me because I was too high-functioning. I went to her in good faith so thought she could be right and tried to cope on my own. Only sometimes you
can't make it on your own forever.

Talk honestly to the therapist about what's going on in your life when you have the intake.

This last week I did tell the therapist I was diagnosed with schizophrenia. If you're honest, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. See how the therapist responds to what you say. If your gut instinct or your psychic intuition
tells you this person isn't the right one, keeping exploring every other option for seeking therapy. It might take longer yet like me you can ultimately be successful.

Understand that you're not a bad person for thinking or feeling as you do or for having this particular hard time.

I nixed one therapist online who stated she cured people of "dysfunction." Thinking you should be able to change your behavior or thoughts or feelings on your own could delay you from seeking treatment. Once you do seek treatment you shouldn't be told you're dysfunctional and need curing.

To quote Ann Bartlett at our HealthCentral diabetes website: "Healing is as potent a medicine as a cure can be." The point of therapy-the point of any treatment-is to heal your pain so you can be whole and well.

My great good fortune-it was luck really-is that my new therapist is Italian, as am I.

SharePosts on how culture impacts recovery:

Joe Pantoliano fights depression and advocates to stomp the stigma

Vinny Guadagnino battles anxiety and writes a book about controlling the crazy

Christina Bruni conquers schizophrenia with the help of her Italian American family

Italians seeking mental health treatment face astounding stigma

Christina Bruni
Meet Our Writer
Christina Bruni

Christina Bruni wrote about schizophrenia for HealthCentral as a Patient Expert. She is a mental health activist and freelance journalist.