I’m so excited to get back to regular programming with my Wellness Wednesday posts. I’ve let them take a back seat these past few months as I’ve been busy sorting out my move, but they’re actually one of my favorite parts of the blog so it feels good to be writing them again. Today’s post is a topic I’ve touched on briefly through my “Self Care” and “How I Got Over My Breakup” posts, but I wanted to delve into it further and share my own experience with therapy!
My dad has been a psychologist for over 30 years, so therapy was never taboo or something I was unfamiliar with growing up. I’m incredibly proud of the positive impact my dad has made on hundreds of people’s lives so I’ve always been very open and supportive of therapy. Within this post, I’m going to talk about a few of my own personal experiences with therapists, and of course, how to find the right therapist for you!
How To Find A Therapist
I’ve used two different methods to find a therapist; I’ve gone through my insurance company’s website, and I’ve done an independent search on ZocDoc. The benefit of going through your insurance company initially, is that they list out doctors within your area that accept your insurance. Some insurance plans cover a therapist’s fee, others cover part of it, and some cover none of it – so be sure to check online and call your insurance company to confirm. Once you’ve created a login through your insurance company’s website, click on the psychologist/psychiatrist section, and then type in your area. Browse through the list of names that pop up, and copy and paste the names that jump out at you into Google. Many therapists today have reviews from other patients online or have written articles which will give you a sense of their reputation and style.
After you’ve settled on a therapist or two, call them to check that they do in fact take your insurance, ask what their fee is, and book an initial consultation. If it’s your first time going to therapy, it’s probably a good idea to book consultations with 2-3 different people, and then see which one you like best. If you don’t want to go through the insurance route, or you already know your insurance doesn’t cover therapy costs, then I like to use ZocDoc. You can narrow therapists down by neighborhood (pick somewhere close to work or home because if it’s far away, you’re not going to go – trust me!) and read over their patient reviews. Once you’ve found a few potentials, reach out to them and ask what their rate is, see if they happen to take your insurance (they just may!), and schedule your appointment(s.)
How Much Does Therapy Cost?
Therapy can be really expensive. But it’s an investment in yourself. Therapy has made me happier, more positive, more thoughtful, more accepting, calmer, wiser, a better daughter, a better sister, a better girlfriend, a better friend, a better boss, and a better human. Therapy costs vary widely by city, insurance plan, and doctor, which is why you need to call both your insurance company and the doctor you’re interested in to find out. Online articles state that therapy can be anywhere from free (or a small co-pay like $15) to $600 a session. I’ve personally paid everything from a $30 copay for an in-network therapist to a $300 fee for an out-of-network therapist.
This article does a great job explaining why therapy costs so much in case you’re curious. Therapists have to pay for; malpractice insurance, office space (which in NYC is $$$), office supplies/furniture, advertising, and of course their own health insurance, rent and other expenses. Often times, if they do take insurance, filling out that paperwork and filing claims becomes a full time job in-and-of itself thus stopping them from having time to see more clients so it’s extremely generous of a therapist today to take insurance. Bottom line – do your research on both in-network and out-of-network doctors – and set up appointments with the one that feels right for YOU. Sometimes out-of-network doctors will give you a break on their fees depending on your income, so don’t be afraid to ask!
How To Choose The Right Therapist For You
This all comes down to a gut feeling when you’re one on one with the person. Again, if you’re new to therapy, I suggest seeing a few people so you can compare them and think about how you feel after each session. Every therapist has a different style. Some therapists are more hands on, interactive and vocal, while others are more hands off, observant, and ask a few poignant questions per session.
I’ve had therapists who I don’t vibe with at all – and therapists who I totally clicked with and who felt like mentors/friends. After seeing both male and female doctors of all different ages over the years, I have found that I work best with a female who is relatively close to my age. Being relatively close in age has been helpful when communicating about current social situations, social media, social norms, dating in the modern world, etc. AKA they just get me more!
How Often Should You See A Therapist
This really depends on you and your situation, but most people go once a week. I’ve gone more than once a week in the past and didn’t like it because I like having a few days to process and decompress after each session – sometimes they can be really intense! Many New Yorkers, due to their busy schedules, make it to therapy 2-3 times a month which is totally normal/fine too. You can also do phone or Skype sessions if you’re out of town. Again, everyone’s schedules, needs and preferences are different so do what works for you + your life.
Lastly, if you’re wondering what period of time you should go to therapy – this is also solely based on the individual and situation. I’ve gone to therapy anywhere from 2 months at a time, to pretty consistently for a year. Again, it just depends on what you’re going through. Sticking with therapy consistently for a long period of time has definitely been the most beneficial for me.
I hope this post helped answer some of your therapy questions!
Remember you don’t have to be depressed to go to a therapist – therapy is for anyone and everyone – and can be a great place to just vent, bounce ideas off of a neutral person, or process changes! The right therapist will have such a positive impact on your life and give you the tools you need to get through anything. Therapy is a safe place, free of judgement – where you can just be yourself. I encourage you to give therapy a try if you haven’t already – and feel free to leave me any other questions you may have below!