Angela Douglas, LPC
Happy Friday readers! Holy cow have these last few weeks flown by or what? Before you know it, trees will be in full autumn splendor and pumpkins of all shapes and sizes will adorn nearly every doorstep in Monroe. That is to say, it will be fall, and unlike the first half of 2020, I hope it will be a season full of pleasant surprises for you and your families.
I am happy to report that Mainstreet’s new Community Resources page has done rather well. A great number of people, far more than I expected in the first month, have visited the site and clicked on or shared the links. It is doing what I had hoped it would do- it is delivering valuable and lifesaving information into the hands of those who need it. If you haven’t had a chance yet, check it out. And, if you’re feeling up for it, give the Meditation at the Monona Terrace a try. It. Is. Wonderful.
Shortly after publishing our Community Resources page, I had a reader reach out thanking Mainstreet for, as she put it, “selflessly supporting Green County.” While talking with her, she admitted to struggling with her own decision to reach out for help. Her concerns echoed the concerns of many other people on the fence about starting therapy: How do I choose the right therapist? It’s a funny quandary actually. How do you choose the right person to disclose your most private thoughts, emotions, and worries?
Well, I would like to thank that reader for bringing this topic to my attention and serving as the inspiration for this post. As promised, here’s unbiased advice from a therapist on how to choose the right therapist for you.
Yes, I know. It’s a heck of a thing for me to say- “Choose your emotional and mental health confidant based on your insurance plan,” but trust me. The last thing in the world you want while struggling with anxiety, depression or other mental health issue is a huge provider bill adding to it. Check with your insurance company to find a complete list of covered providers. There are dozens in the area. Chances are, you’ll find one that works for you.
Mental health providers are not “one-size-fits-all.” We typically have a niche that we specialize in not unlike medical doctors. Many providers that counsel children have underwent unique training suited to a child’s special mental health needs which makes the qualifications and training of any provider important need-to-know information if you’re a parent looking into therapy for your child.
If you’re open with your family and friends about considering therapy, ask them for their opinion. Forty-percent of Americans have been in or are in therapy, so chances are you know one of them, and if they are willing to give you their take on things, whether good or bad, listen to it!
We just covered that 40% of Americans have seen or do see a therapist. That’s more than 120 million people keeping providers busy. When you find a therapist you’re interested in, give their office a call to find out if they are accepting new patients. Be honest and direct about the urgency of your issue. If desperation and panic are setting in- tell them. Many providers have a set number of appointments for crisis counseling and may be able to fit you in the same day.
There are several different approaches to mental health therapy, and some providers may focus their entire practice on just one or two types of them. Before scheduling your first appointment, do a little research to find out which techniques providers use. Most established practices include provider bios on their website, you can likely find their preferred techniques there. If you’re considering therapy for your child, pay close attention to which techniques a provider prefers to use- some may be more kid friendly than others.
Your Gut Feeling
After all the research is done, listen to your gut. There’s science behind that uneasy feeling our insides give us when something’s just not right. When you take that difficult first step to seek help, you should feel comfortable with it. Sure, not all aspects of therapy are pleasant, but you should be confident in your provider’s ability to counsel you. Remember, it’s your therapy session- not theirs, so if your gut’s telling you there’s something wrong, there probably is.
We pick our friends, our partners, even our pets based on compatibility, and we should do the same with our medical and mental health providers. Being compatible with the person treating you makes for a more attuned, well-suited experience, and in terms of communication, compatibility is key.
The Fine Print
As much as I want to heal, there are some conditions that I can’t fix. Mental health providers, for the most part, are not medical doctors. We are not neurologists, and we are supposed to recognize and respect the difference. If you are considering therapy with Mainstreet Counseling, please know that I will counsel you to the best of my ability using trusted methods developed through years of education, training, and experience. If you need help beyond what I can provide, trust me to direct you to services more tailored to your needs. I've said it before, and I'll say it again; I want what's best for you even if it's not Mainstreet.
I hope you find this advice helpful and that this advice finds you healthy and happy.
Until next time, take care friends.