You have made the important decision to begin therapy and find the right match for yourself… what?  There may be many questions you have around knowing where/how to find someone that fits your financial and therapeutic needs.  Well you have come to the right place!  As an intake specialist at Good Therapy San Diego, I have helped to pair and connect hundreds of people with the right therapist or outside resource that suits their needs.  I take great fulfillment in this process as many people who are just starting to explore their options are very anxious and hesitant.  It is hard to make that first call!  I am proud of each person who advocates for themselves and pushes past that fear and hesitancy.  I would like to share the knowledge that I have gained through my years of experience in order to make this process a little easier and more exciting for you!  

Let’s start at the very beginning
The first action that can be helpful in getting you to the right place is to begin to consider and write down what it is you are wanting to work on and if you think that would be best addressed through individual, couples, or family therapy.  This in itself can be difficult to navigate sometimes!  I can’t tell you how many people have reached out and when asked “what’s going on” or “what is it you’d like to work on” they don’t know where to begin or they can’t quite put their finger on it.  This is OKAY!  Let me repeat myself.  Even if you don’t know exactly what you need right away, that doesn’t need to be a stopping point. 

What level of care is needed?
Consider the severity of symptoms in order to determine appropriate level of care that may be needed.  The highest amount of supervision and support is found within a residential facility or inpatient.  This is a “live in” facility that supports those with acute diagnoses and behavioral problems.  The step down from that is called intensive outpatient programs or IOP.  These offer a high level of support for those who are in need of groups and individual therapy multiple times a week for help with acute diagnoses and behavioral problems.  Lastly, we have outpatient which can be used in conjunction with the previously mentioned higher levels of care or by itself for those that are appropriate.  When you are unsure this can be a good place to start.  Therapists are specially trained to assess for appropriate level of care, so if for any reason you are need of more support, they can help to connect you to the right resources.  If you believe that you would like to explore the possibility of seeing a psychiatrist but are unsure about what the difference between a psychiatrist and a psychotherapist (therapist) is then please check this article out Psychiatrist or Psychotherapist: What’s the Difference?.

Different types of therapy
There are different treatment methods that are used in psychotherapy that include cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, couples therapy, and EMDR just to name a few.  Different treatment modalities offer symptom relief and treatment in different ways.  Many therapists keep multiple “tools” in the toolbox so that they can adjust treatment accordingly.  Having an idea of what you are experiencing can help you to find someone who is specialized in that particular area.  You may be experiencing some symptoms of depressionanxietyeating disordersand traumas,just to name a few. Cognitive behavioral therapy can be very effective in treating depression and anxiety, while eating disorders might best benefit from a combination of cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical behavioral therapy.  EMDR is effective in treating trauma.  

Telehealth or in-person therapy?
Another option to consider is: do you want to seek treatment that is offered in-person or would you prefer to do online video counseling?  Both platforms offer the same goals in treatment, but the experiences are a little bit different between the two.  In-person treatment offers a more intimate experience since you are in the presence of one another.  It can also feel more private for individuals that don’t have much privacy at home or wherever they will be logging on to the video session.  Video sessions are a convenient and effective way to get treatment.  It can offer comfort to many as they are working with the therapist in their own home.  It can also offers the therapist a glimpse into what their clients’ home life is like, which can also help with treatment.  

Where to look and what to look for
You may want to do some research before choosing the right therapist.  One place to look for a therapist is on Psychology Today.  This is a convenient website that offers a list of therapists in your area and you can filter your search through more specific needs.  Yelp is another great resource to find a therapist that might be a good fit for you.  It also allows for you to see what kind of feedback people have about the location or therapist.  Finding a therapist that has a positive online presence is somewhat unique and desirable when you can find it.  Looking at the websites and reading through articles that are posted by therapists is a great way to have a better look at their approach.  Asking people that you know for referrals is another route you could take when looking for a therapist.

Will this be covered by insurance?
You can find therapists that accept insurance, however, this isn’t as easy as you may think.  Many therapists (especially those that are specialized) do not have a biller, so they do not work with insurance companies.  If you would like to find someone that is in your insurance network, your best approach would be to go on your insurance company’s website and search for “in network providers”.  Another way that you can search for therapists that take your insurance is to explore Psychology Today and filter your search through your insurance company.  You will still want to reach out and confirm that they are still in network because it can change before they update their profile.  

You may still be able to have a portion of your treatment covered by your insurance through some PPO providers.  Many therapists/practices can create what is called a “Super Bill” which delivers all the necessary information to your insurance company for potential, partial reimbursement.  This can sometimes be between 40-80% of the fee.  However, you will want to call the customer service phone number on your insurance card and ask them the following questions to understand the specific details included in your plan:

  • Does my plan cover services to out-of-network mental health providers?
  • What is the deductible I have to meet before coverage to an out-of-network provider kicks in?
  • How much will my plan reimburse me after my deductible has been met?
  • How many sessions does my plan cover in a year? How many sessions do I have left?
  • How do I submit the receipt ( or superbill) that I have for my sessions in order to receive reimbursement?

Something to keep in mind for those that are experiencing some stress surrounding their finances but would like to invest in their wellbeing is that some offices/therapists have a sliding scale option for payment.  Sliding scale refers to a discounted rate that can be offered depending on your income.  The number of sliding scale slots is usually limited so it may not always be available, but it could be worth asking about if you are financially stressed.

How to find “the right” fit
Finding the right fit is one of the most important things when it comes to effective therapy.  People are often surprised to find out that sometimes this can take a few tries.  The relationship that is built in the therapeutic room must be one that has great understanding and trust with good rapport.  Therapists understand how important this is and do not take offense to not being the right fit for a client so there is no need to worry about that!  I recommend finding a practice or center that offers support in finding the right fit from the initial intake process to offering a free session with a different therapist when the fit isn’t quite right.  Another great way to help find the right person is to request a brief consultation prior to scheduling a whole session.  Many therapists will offer these. 

Years of experience vs trainings and certifications
It can be easy to get hung up on thinking the older a therapist is or the longer they have been practicing means that you will get a higher level of treatment.  This couldn’t be further from the truth.  While more years in practice offers a level of experience to therapists it is not the only way for them to become more specialized.  Continuing education and certification/ specialization is one of the leading ways for a therapist to gain greater knowledge and be able to effectively treat specific symptoms.  When choosing a therapist learn about their area of specialty, certifications, and different modalities that they are trained in.

Hopefully this article has provided some insight into finding a therapist near you as you are ready to begin your transformative journey into therapy!  For more questions or to get started with one of our therapists please visit us at Good Therapy San Diego or give one of our Patient Care Coordinators a call at (619) 330-9500.  We would be happy to help make the process easy and exciting!