There can be many variables, moving pieces, and motivations that help you decide to start therapy. But once you’ve reached this decision, what happens next?
In our last post of this series, we’re going to take a quick look at the logistics of finding a therapist. For a couple other pieces of the puzzle, check out the previous posts: So you’re going to therapy Part 1 & Part 2.
Location, Location, Location
One of the most practical pieces of finding of therapist can be about where you would like to actually meet with this person. For a lot of folks, convenience is key! They want someone close to work or home. Someone they can get in a session with during their lunch breaks. Others would like to see someone outside of their community, a little more separated from work or home. And for some people, location doesn’t matter at all, as long as they are seeing a skilled clinician. Take some time to explore what you would prefer.
Insurance or Out-of-Pocket
Whether you use insurance benefits or pay out-of-pocket (meaning you pay the therapist’s fee on your own) usually boils down to what those benefits look like and whether or not a therapist accepts insurance -or more specifically, your insurance. Some policies fully cover any mental health therapist in or out of their network. Some cover nothing at all. If you’re interested in using insurance the best thing you can do is call that customer service number on the back of your insurance card and ask…
What mental health services are covered? Intakes? 45-minute sessions? 60-minute sessions?
Is there a deductible that has to be met before insurance pays for part or all of therapy?
Once the deductible is met/if there isn’t one, what’s the co-pay per session?
Are only in-network therapists covered and if so, where is there a list of those therapists?
If I see someone out-of-network, can/how much will I be reimbursed once I submit a receipt?
Next, if you’re wanting to use insurance you’ll want to make sure your therapist is in-network with your policy. If not, find out if he/she will fill out paper work you can submit for reimbursement or if this therapist will submit it for you.
When it comes to using insurance or paying out-of-pocket, you will also want to consider how much information about your treatment you want your insurance company to have. If you’re using benefits, know that insurance companies have the right to request treatment plans and progress notes and will require a diagnosis code. Again, take some time to sit with the pro’s and con’s of both options.
Oh Where, Oh Where can I Find a Therapist?
Probably the most popular database for mental health professionals is Psychology Today. Here you can filter your search by zip code, specialty, insurance accepted, and modality of therapy. Good Therapy is another general search site that’s helpful.
And of course, there’s the good ol’ option to ask a real, live human for a referral. Helpful humans include (but are not limited to): a friend, your primary care physician, the pastor/priest/rabbi/spiritual leader, your school advisor, a mentor.