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How to Find the Right Therapist for Your Depression

RELATED: 5 Things Psychologists Wish Their Patients Would Do

You could also ask around to see if your friends or family members know of a good therapist who has experience in treating depression. “Personal references can be very good, particularly if they come from someone who knows you well and what you like,” Muskin says.

Here are other resources to help you find a therapist for depression treatment:

  • The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) runs a helpline that can help you locate support. Call 800-950-NAMI or email [email protected]
  • The American Psychological Association has a therapist locator on its website.
  • The Anxiety and Depression Association of America can also help you locate a therapist near where you live.
  • Your health insurance company likely has a dropdown menu item, such as “find a provider,” for names of professionals in its network.
  • Schools and universities often have counseling services that can offer referrals if they can’t help you directly. You may have access if you’re an alum or faculty.
  • The clergy Faith leaders often know of mental health professionals who can help. And if they know you, they can recommend someone who fits your personality and needs.
  • Employee Assistance Programs If offered by your employer, they’re part of your benefits package.

How to Interview Potential Therapists

Once you have a list of at least two or three potential therapists, it’s time to figure out which one is best for you. Call each therapist to get some key information before making an appointment.

Questions to ask include:

  • Are you taking new patients?
  • What experience do you have treating patients who have depression?
  • Where do the therapy sessions take place? Some psychiatrists have more than one office where they see patients, Muskin says. Their location and when they hold appointments can matter to you, he adds.
  • How much does the therapy cost? Do you take my insurance?
  • Can I meet with you before committing to a therapy session?

RELATED: 6 Questions Everyone Should Ask Their Therapist

If you’re able to make a consultation appointment before a therapy session, ask the therapist more specific preliminary questions, such as:

  • What type of therapy would you recommend for my depression symptoms?
  • What will this type of therapy involve?
  • What are the benefits and the primary goals of my depression treatment?
  • Are you willing to work with other members of my medical team to coordinate my depression treatment? This is especially important if you have a non-MD therapist who will rely on your primary care doctor to prescribe medications.
  • How often would I need therapy sessions?

After meeting with a potential therapist, take some time to decide whether you are comfortable with them. If you aren’t, keep looking until you find one you like and trust.

Some people will improve with psychotherapy alone; others may need both psychotherapy and a prescription antidepressant. Once you start therapy for your depression, be patient. Psychotherapy (sometimes referred to as talk therapy) for depression can sometimes be painful, and you may find yourself doing most of the talking during the first few sessions. Your therapist will partner with you to ease your depression symptoms and improve your life.

10 Ways to Find a Good Therapist

When we want to improve our bodies we pretty much know where to find help. This time of year the gyms are full and the meeting rooms at Weight Watchers are packed. But what do we do when we want to improve our inner selves, our relationships, or want to find help with depression or anxiety?

Making the decision to find help is hard enough. Why should you have to get even more stressed out hunting for the right therapist? It’s like searching for a needle in a haystack unless you have some guidance. So here are a few tips:

1. Forget the yellow pages. A yellow pages listing is expensive so a lot of good people aren’t there. I’m not. Plus there is no oversight or regulation of who can list.

2. Ask a professional you already work with and trust. Your accountant, lawyer, dentist, physician – any professional you have a relationship with who honors your confidentiality is a good resource. These people all run businesses as well as provide services, as do many psychotherapists in private practice. They are well connected in the community and refer to each other all the time.

By the way, when asking anyone for a referral to a mental health therapist you do not have to go into the details of why you’re looking for a someone unless you want to. It’s enough just to say, “I’m having some problems and I’d like to consult a therapist about it. Do you recommend anyone?”

3. Ask friends or family members if they can recommend someone. Usually the first source people reach out to. Just be sure they will be supportive and not intrusive.

4. Use a known therapist as a resource. If you have a friend or a friend’s friend who is a therapist, ask them for a referral. Therapists refer to one another all the time. They will understand that you don’t want to see them (for whatever reason, you don’t have to say) but you want a recommendation from them. In other words, even if it doesn’t feel right going to your sister’s therapist, if your sister really likes her therapist he or she could probably give you a couple of names of good, qualified therapists in the community.

5. Use resources at work. Many places of employment have what’s called an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). These services might be in-house or out-sourced but the purpose of EAPs is to provide emotional support and counseling for employees in complete privacy and as part of the employee’s benefit package. EAPs are often part of the Human Resource department so ask there if your company has an EAP and how to access it. Usually you would see a counselor at the EAP for a set number of sessions (no charge to you) and if you want to continue they will refer you to a therapist in the community who will take your insurance.

6. Schools and Universities are resources. Your child’s school is likely to have a school counselor or nurse and that person knows therapists in your district to refer you or your child to, if that is what’s needed. Universities and colleges are investing more and more in their campus mental health services. Counseling Centers (often part of Health Services under the Student Affairs department) on campus have qualified psychologists and social workers on stand-by to help with a wide range of situations for current students. Like EAPs, if you need longer term services beyond what they can provide they will see to it that you are linked properly for your continuity of care. As an alum or faculty you should be able to access the counseling center as a resource for a referral.

7. Use your insurance company. You may be lucky and have an insurance company with a truly helpful customer service department. If they do their job right, they should be able to suggest therapists who participate on their panel (which means they have been vetted from here to eternity for all the right professional credentials) and who specialize in what you need.

8. Use the Internet. The difference between the web and the yellow pages is that, for the therapist, listing on reliable websites is not nearly as expensive AND reliable sites require a minimum of professional qualifications to be listed. Psychology Today (PT) probably has one of the more comprehensive listings in the US. They contract with other trustworthy sites like WebMD and this website to provide their list to their readers. A therapist cannot be listed on PT unless they can prove they have a legitimate advanced degree in their discipline and an up to date professional license or certification.

A good listing on PT provides you with information regarding the professional’s qualifications, what areas of expertise they may have, how long they’ve been in practice. They should also have practical stuff posted like phone numbers, where their office is located, office hours and whether or not they accept your insurance.

Caveat: Do not look for a therapist on craigslist!

9. Do a Google search. Once you have a few names go ahead and google them. If they have a blog or a website, explore them. Often you can get a sense of who they are by what they write or what is written about them. Just keep in mind that many good, well-qualified therapists are not on the web. Not finding them there is not a reason to rule them out.

10. Don’t limit yourself. Don’t set limits on yourself unnecessarily by title or by logistics. I refer to as many social workers as I do psychologists. Marriage and Family Therapists (MFT’s) are new to New York but in California, and other parts of the US, they’ve been on the scene for some time. Even some psychiatrists provide psychotherapy along with medication management. Studies show that once core requirements are met in education and certification, the effectiveness of a therapist is not dictated by what letters they have after their name.

Skype and telephone. If you live in an area where it is difficult to find a mental health professional locally, you can always turn to tele-sessions using the telephone or Skype. While Skype counseling is a specialized service on the cutting edge, there are therapists world-wide providing on-line counseling. Skype sessions are available to anyone anywhere as long as the technology is available and a common language is spoken. This service has been a particular boon to Americans over-seas who crave counseling from a familiar voice stateside.

One last thought in your search for a therapist: Try to gather at least two or three names from any given source. That way you can cross-reference, and have choices if one doesn’t work out, moved out of town, retired or just doesn’t suit you. You have a right, even a responsibility to yourself, to be picky.

Do you have more ideas that would be helpful to people looking for a therapist? Please let me know!

Photo courtesy of Whatnot via Flickr

10 Ways to Find a Good Therapist

How Do I Find a Therapist or Therapists Near Me?

The next thing to consider before you start to search for therapists is the wide range of therapists that are available to provide individual counseling ,couples counseling, and resolve relationship problems. Take the steps to find the right therapist based on the research you’ve done so far. Finding the right therapist becomes easier when you know what kind of therapeutic relationship you’re looking for. The last thing to consider when you’re looking to establish this new therapeutic relationship is if you want to work with a traditional licensed clinical therapist in an in-person environment — or if you’d prefer to work with a licensed clinical therapist online.

Online or Traditional Therapy?

When you’re considering establishing a new therapeutic relationship with a licensed clinical therapist, location is often a critical factor. There are a wide variety of available types of therapy for individuals and couples to choose from. Some therapists also specialize in working with adolescents and teens. Mental health services are now available online which makes it easier for people with mental health issues like substance abuse, anger management, anxiety, depression, and other mental health concerns to get help online.

Both online and offline mental health professionals have the same goal in mind – to help people struggling with relationship issues, personal issues, and family conflict to learn new coping skills. According to the American Psychological Association, half of American households have a family member who has established a therapeutic relationship with a licensed therapist or clinical social worker for individual and couples therapy. Seeking professional help can be an excellent way to navigate life, resolve everyday relationship issues, build resilience, and reach your fullest potential.

You can get help for depression, anxiety, trauma, managing stress, parenting problems, relationship issues, and other topics in individual or group therapy. If you’re simply looking for an unbiased listener, that specializes in helping people by providing general advice or working with adolescents — that’s great too. The important thing is that you find a professional partner and work together to identify issues that have caused negative consequences.

Licensed therapists on the BetterHelp.com platform have years of experience and over two-thousand hours of hands on clinical practice in their relevant field of specialty. Besides considering what you’ll address during the healing process of therapy, you should think about whether to see a therapist in your local area or online. The decision depends on your personality, how busy you are, your comfort level, and how much access you have to mental health services in your area. You can start pondering which option is right for you by asking yourself a few questions:

  • Are there therapists in your area who specialize in what you’re looking for (for example, tools to help people struggling with anxiety, PTSD, major depression,childhood trauma or sexual abuse)? Many people gravitate toward online therapy because it offers a network of licensed therapists and counselors who are experts in their fields, in cases where the same level of expertise isn’t available nearby.
  • How far away would you have to drive to see your therapist? If you’re struggling with anxiety, — would you need to take time off of work to get to an appointment? Another reason some people choose online therapy is because of convenience. You may speak with a licensed therapist from the comfort and privacy of your own home (or wherever you have an internet connection).
  • Are you an extroverted person or a shy one? Certain people sometimes prefer a traditional therapy practice because they want to speak with someone face-to-face. Others, however, may not want to make themselves vulnerable with someone in-person, so they choose online therapy. Online therapy providers can help with anxiety, depression, and relationship issues for children, adolescents, and adults. Therapists online practice the same popular therapy modalities like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) as offline counselors and therapists.
  • Are you looking for a therapy provider who accepts insurance payments from major insurance providers like blue cross blue shield? Blue Cross is one of the major health insurance providers that offers access to both offline and online mental health services to it’s plan members. If you’re unsure if your provider offers a similar benefit to the Blue Cross Blue Shield mental health benefits, you can contact your provider or Blue Cross directly to learn more.

Clinical Psychologist (Psy. D, Ph.D) – deal with more severe mental health issues like severe anxiety, depression, bipolar disorders, and eating disorders.

Licensed Clinical Social Worker – A licensed social worker can provide therapeutic counseling services and resource and referral services for children, adolescents, and adults.

Marriage, Family Therapist (LMFT) – Can support individuals and couples with mental health issues and relationship issues as a family therapist, or marriage counselor.

Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC/LPCC) – Provide therapeutic counseling services for individuals and couples struggling with relationship issues and life challenges.

Types of therapist, find therapists

Brainstorming answers to all of these questions in advance will help you determine whether you should pursue in-person therapy or online therapy when it’s time for you to find therapists. It’s important to remember as you’re reading this article, although it can get easy to be overwhelmed with many questions regarding the different types of therapists, these are all helpful questions to consider one at a time. These questions are all designed to get you the most effective support for you.

Budget

The cost of counseling through BetterHelp ranges from $40 to $70 per week (billed monthly). You can cancel your membership at any time for any reason. Typically, traditional therapy costs $150 to $250 for a single session. However, there are some face-to-face therapists who offer sliding scale therapy. This means that they will charge you what you can afford, based on your salary. Depending on where you live, it may be difficult to find a therapist who offers sliding scale therapy or one that accepts your health insurance plan. You should make sure to call the therapist’s office to verify their prices, and ask if they offer sliding scale therapy.

Source: .com

Traditional Therapy

You might like the idea of sitting in a therapist’s office, meeting with them face-to-face and talking about your problems. Many people prefer to speak to someone in person when they’re talking about vulnerable topics. You might be one of those people who benefit from eye contact. Some people prefer traditional therapy for that reason. They prefer to work with a therapist who they can see in-person and meet with every week. The benefit of meeting with a traditional therapist is you can read their body language.

You might be a hyper-verbal person and express emotions best by speaking to your counselor in person. For people who have anxiety, seeing a therapist in private practice can help them practice interpersonal skills. Many of us are in front of screens all day long and miss out on interacting with other human beings. There’s something unique about being vulnerable in front of a physical human being. Although, for some people opening up and being transparent in front of their traditional therapist may not be easy. Whereas, they could be remarkably candid with an online therapist.

Finding A Therapist Near You Can Be A Challenge, But You Are Not Alone

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What Kind of Therapy is Right For Me?

There’s no “right” form of therapy. There are several forms of therapy to choose from, and it’s a matter of knowing what your individual needs are, and what you want to change in your mental health. You might want to work with a therapist who practices CBT (Cognitive Behavior Therapy). You can learn coping skills for anxiety and depression. You may be searching for a couple’s counselor, someone who is trained in dealing with couples. You might be searching for someone who deals with those who have PTSD. That might be someone who practices trauma informed therapy or EMDR. It depends on your individual needs as opposed to what kind of therapy is “right,” because there is no right therapy. Maybe you’re seeking a child psychologist or a family therapist. Whatever your needs are, you can find them, it’s just a matter of searching in the right places.

What Sort of Therapist is the Right Fit For Me?

You’ll start to notice different credentials when you’re looking for a therapist, whether it’s a psychologist, who has a Ph.D. or PsyD, a counselor, a licensed marriage and family counselor, or other kinds of mental health professionals. It depends on what your individual needs are. Psychologists can diagnose mental health disorders or mental illnesses. Psychiatrists can both diagnose and treat mental illnesses with medications. It depends on what you’re looking to get from a mental health professional as to whether you’d choose a psychiatrist or a psychologist or both.

Psychologists

A psychologist specializes in diagnosing and treating mental illnesses. They cannot prescribe medication, but they practice therapy and have a wide range of abilities, and different approaches they use to treat clients. They have thousands of hours of experience before they receive their doctorate and can treat patients or clients.

LPC

Licensed Professional Counselors have over 3,000 hours of experience, and they’re certified to diagnose mental illnesses. Thought they don’t have a doctorate, they are experts in their fields. They can provide excellent treatment for people who are struggling with mental health challenges.

Social Workers

A clinical social worker is similar to an LPC. They have diverse backgrounds, and they typically work in social service settings and managed care settings. Social workers help people function in particular environments, such as residential treatment facilities. A person who has an MSW (Masters in Social Work) can also have a private practice and treat clients.

Marriage and Family Counselors

A Licensed Marriage and Family Counselors (LMFT) specializes in helping couples and can also provide family therapy. Whether they’re providing couple’s therapy to help preserve marriages or strengthen loving partnerships, an LMFT can be a great support to couples and families.

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Child Therapy or Adolescent Therapy

It can be challenging to find an excellent pediatric therapist. It can also be challenging to find someone competent who works with teens. However, there are great mental health providers out there who specialize in working with children and adolescents. You might want to start by asking your child’s pediatrician for a referral to a therapist. After that, check with other parents who may have a lead to a good counselor. Then, you can search your insurance network to find one.

Important Steps in Finding a Therapist

Before you decide on your therapist, it’s important to make sure they have credentials that provide them the ability to practice therapy. Make sure that they’re licensed and that the certification comes from the APA (American Psychological Association). Whether you’re working with an online therapist or someone in your local area, they must be licensed. Check out their credentials and reviews online. And make sure that they have good reviews.

Getting Specific in Your Search

Once you’ve narrowed down your list of therapist results, you want to make sure that they have the training to help you. If you want someone who specializes in anxiety, make sure they have that training. If you want a therapist who works with families, make sure they’re a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT). Let’s say you have Borderline Personality Disorder: you want to find a therapist who specializes in DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy). It’s important to make sure you’re getting the right therapist for the correct conditions.

Finding A Therapist Near You Can Be A Challenge, But You Are Not Alone

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Scheduling an Initial Session

When it comes to finding a therapist, you have to start with a first meeting. It’s important to schedule the first session with a therapist before you decide if you’re going to see them for a long time. But before you even do that, talk to them on the phone. Make sure you feel comfortable with them, and they have slots available regularly. Ask them if they accept your health insurance. It’s important to know this up front. Get comfortable with their tone and who they are. You’ll be talking with this person for the weeks to come, and you want to feel like you can open up to them.

What to Expect in the First Therapy Session

When you see a therapist for the first time, you’ll get to talk about your problems, but you’ll also get to know about who they are and determine what you’ll be able to get from therapy. During the first session, you’re getting to know the new therapist, and deciding whether you like them and feel like you can continue opening up to them. The first session is sort of like a first date. You don’t know the person, and you’re figuring out if you want to keep seeing them. Meeting with a therapist isn’t romantic, but you will develop a long term partnership with them. They’re going to be helping you with your mental health. That’s why the first session is essential. You’re deciding as to whether or not you’re continuing with seeing them. In many ways, you’re taking a risk. Therapy is an investment. You don’t know what you’re going to get out of it until longer down the line. They may provide you with homework after the first session if you choose to continue seeing them. That’s a good sign.

Questions to Ask a New Therapist

Ask a potential therapist you’re meeting for the first time about their training, license, and make sure that they have appropriate experience in the mental health field. You can ask what type of therapy they practice. You want to make sure they have relevant expertise in the area you want to get treatment in because otherwise, it’s a waste of both of your times. If you need treatment for PTSD and you’re seeing a therapist who doesn’t treat survivors of trauma, that’s not a good fit. You need to see a trauma-informed therapist or someone who is certified in EMDR.

Another thing to ask is how long you’re expected to be in therapy, whether that’s short-term or long term. That’s an important question to ask. You need to manage your expectations as to how long the process will last.

Online Therapy

The benefit of online therapy is that there are many ways to communicate with your therapist. You can message them through text, talk to them on the phone or video chat with your counselor. You get to decide which kind of communication works best for you. Whereas with a traditional therapist, you are limited in how you speak with one another. Many therapists who work in private practice don’t offer phone or Skype sessions. Online therapy allows people who are too busy, or people who struggle with certain issues like social anxiety, the ability to see a therapist in the comfort of their home or wherever is convenient for them.

People who live in remote areas and don’t have access to many providers can also benefit from online therapy. BetterHelp’s network of licensed therapists offer experts in hundreds of topics. Online treatment is growing in popularity, and since there are so many different providers to choose from, it’s likely you’ll find someone who meets your needs. Whether you’re working with an individual therapist, a couple’s counselor or a family therapist you can get the right treatment for you. Read below for some reviews of BetterHelp therapists, from people experiencing a variety of life’s challenges.

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Counselor Reviews

“Stephanie has been beyond amazing to work with. She is so supportive of you, it’s absolutely incredible. She is always patient and offers amazing help, advice, and perspectives. Prior to Stephanie I had never done this type of service but ever since the beginning everything felt so comfortable and friendly. Words don’t do this justice, and I am beyond thankful to be paired with Stephanie.”

“Over the past several weeks Dr. Conrad has helped me dive into my personal conflicts and concerns in a way that I have always expected from therapists but never before received. There is a level of personality and respect that Dr. Conrad has given me that allows me to feel comfortable and trusting during our therapy sessions. She isn’t only listening to my concerns, but it looks as though she is one step ahead, thinking of what we need to focus on and what will help motivate the outcome to gain the most positive personal result possible. I’m personally looking forward to continuing therapy with Dr. Conrad and growing in my explorations of self discovery.”

Trying To Work With A Nearby Therapist

You may not know of any friends or family members who have been in therapy. Even though seeking counseling is quite common, many people prefer to keep it private and not to let others know they are doing it. In that case, you may not know anyone personally who you can ask for recommendations.

Although finding a local therapist can be a daunting task, with a few tips, you can search more efficiently and get the results you want.

Provider Lists for “Therapists Near Me”

A great place to start may be places where you can get a list of therapy providers in your local area. One place to begin is with national mental health organizations that have information on local counselors. Some of these include:

  • NAMI
  • American Psychological Association
  • American Medical Association
  • Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies

If you work for a company that has an Employee Assistance Program, you can get a therapy provider list from them. They may help with paying for a few sessions as well. Students can find lists at their college’s student health center. Finally, your health insurance company will have a list of therapists you can choose if you want your insurance to pay for your treatment. Psychology Today is also a great resource.

Recommendations and Referrals

Although you might not be able to find any friends or family members who want to discuss therapists with you, you may know some professionals that can help. For instance, your primary care doctor likely knows therapists who might help you. A clergy member might recommend a therapist who honors their religious convictions.

How to Assess Possible Candidates

Before you grab a name from a list at random and set up your first appointment, look at each of the therapists on your list to sort out which might be the best fit. Some things to consider are their education, training, licensing and years of practice.

However, this information can only get you so far. In order to find the therapist that suits your needs, issues, strengths, and personality the best, it is helpful to have information on the fields they specialize in and their treatment philosophy.

Practical matters are important, too. You need to find out about their office hours, how long sessions are, what fees they charge, and if they work with your insurance company.

If the therapist has an online presence, you can often find this information on their website. You can also call their office and ask. But, remember that you aren’t in therapy yet. You’re on a fact-gathering mission, so limit your questions to facts you need to know before you begin sessions.

Pros & Cons Of Trying To Work With A Nearby Therapist

Here’s a list of potential pros and cons of working with someone nearby:

Pros:

  • Your therapist is physically close to you, which creates a sense of emotional security and can provide peace of mind knowing that you can receive the support you need from someone familiar with your situation… nearby.
  • You know your neighborhood, and it feels like you’re continuing to become a part of your community. Seeing a therapist (or psychotherapist) whose office is close to you can make you feel a part of something larger than yourself.
  • Depending on the issue(s) and severity, some concerns are more appropriately addressed with a therapist in an office setting, near you. One example is if you are in crisis, or at risk of self-harm.

Cons:

  • It may sometimes be difficult to get to a therapist’s office each week. We’re all trying to cram a lot into our busy lives and therapy is another addition.
  • There are people who don’t want others to know that they’re in therapy. If you’re going to a local therapist, you may risk the chance of running into someone you know.
  • Depending on the issue, being seen “in person” can be difficult. One example is if you have social anxiety disorder and it’s hard for you to be around people.

Trying Out Therapists

No matter how much research you do, you won’t know if a therapist is a right fit for you until you have a session with them. Consider the first few sessions as a trial run that you can continue if you’re happy with the arrangement or move on if you’re not. Be prepared to feel a bit uncomfortable if this is the first time you’ve shared your secrets with a therapist. Remember that you can change therapists if you don’t feel the two of you are a good match.

Consider Online Therapy

If you’re looking for therapists in your local area, you might have missed counselors who can meet with you wherever you are. Online therapists can talk to you in the comfort of your home. Licensed therapists atBetterHelp are available according to your schedule and can help you with any emotional or mental health concerns you have. Starting treatment is easy, and you won’t have to wait weeks to have your first session. And, if you don’t click with a particular therapist, it’s easy to switch to another counselor.

Don’t Hesitate Too Long

Now that you know how to find a therapist, get connected with one right away. The best thing you can do is move forward while you’re motivated to seek help. A truly fulfilling life is possible-all you need are the right tools. Take the first step today.

Photo: N Majury/Getty Images/iStockphoto

During my first-ever therapy session, I noticed my therapist glance at my hands. This worried me. Am I fidgeting? What does she think about that? Should I keep my hands still? Yes, I’ll keep them still. Is that weird, though? I was so anxious that my therapist was analyzing my every word and movement, but of course, that was her job: to observe and analyze. It can be strange to be vulnerable with a complete stranger, but over time, the nervousness and awkwardness wear off and therapy can help you cope with your most pressing emotional issues.

In order to get the full benefits of therapy, though, you have to put your mental health in the right person’s hands. Even the professionals we talked to agreed that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to therapy, and the professional that works well for someone else might not work as well for you. There are important considerations to keep in mind through every step of the therapy process.

Before the Consultation

If you’re new to the world of psychotherapy, you’ll probably start by asking friends for referrals or searching online. When researching possible candidates, you want to make sure they have the tools to solve your issues. At the very minimum, a therapist’s website should include information about their education, certifications, and specializations. There are different kinds of mental health accreditations, and a counselor’s certifications will be different than, say, a psychiatrist who can prescribe medication. That doesn’t make them any less skilled at what they do. A counselor or social generally offers more affordable therapy than may be available through your insurance plan. The specific credentials you should look for are licensed professional counselors (LPC) who have a master’s degree in counseling, psychology, or a related field, a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) or licensed social worker (LSW). You might also work with a licensed educational psychologist (LEP), licensed professional clinical counselor (LPCC), or a licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT), or a licensed clinical psychologist (LCP). You can verify a therapist’s credentials on the Department of Consumer Affairs website for your state.

As Laurie Eldred, a licensed master social worker and therapist in Grand Rapids, Michigan, pointed out, “It’s important for people to read the therapist’s website or online directory profile to see what they’re saying about their area of expertise.” Therapists typically specialize in specific areas, like substance abuse, family therapy, couples counseling, or even financial issues. These areas should be listed on the therapist’s website.

A therapist should also communicate what kind of approach they take to therapy. Perhaps there are researchers or scientists whose work they follow. Perhaps there are specific techniques they use in their work. Many therapists will include this information on their website, which can give you an idea of what to expect once you’re in a session. At this stage, try to keep an open mind, suggested Dr. Darin Bergen, a psychologist in private practice in Portland, Oregon. “There are many different approaches to therapy, and there is little evidence that any one therapy is better than another.” For example, there’s cognitive-based therapy, mindfulness-based stress reduction, acceptance and commitment therapy, and so many more.

Online reviews can help you find a good therapist, but they can also be problematic, writes Dr. Keely Kolmes, a psychologist in Oakland, in the New York Times. Therapy is more subjective than, say, bad service at a restaurant, and Kolmes argues that “a certain treatment might help one person but not another.” While the mindfulness approach might work for one client, another may find it frustrating and unhelpful, for example. Still, these reviews can help you look for red flags, like a therapist watching the clock or pushing their own agenda. Just be discerning when you comb through them and understand that, as Kolmes writes, “something that works for one patient at a particular point in therapy might not work for him later, when his needs change.”

During the Phone Call

Once you’ve narrowed it down to a few therapists who look promising, it’s time for a quick consultation call. Before committing to an actual appointment, reach out and ask to chat on the phone or send some questions via email. “Many of us provide free phone or even in-person screenings before setting up an appointment to feel out each other,” Bergen said. These consultations typically last 15 minutes, and you’ll want to share a bit about your background, the specific issues you’re struggling with, and what your goals are with therapy.

“During the consultation, you also have the opportunity to ask the therapist questions that are important for you to know about that therapist,” said Alisa Kamis-Brinda, a licensed clinical social worker and licensed psychotherapist in Philadelphia. “Some people are interested in knowing where the person went to school or what certifications or licenses they have. For others, knowing about their experience with their particular issue and the therapist’s success rate are more important.” This is probably a good point to ask about fees and availability, too.

Bergen added that your therapist should also be able to give you a general idea of the treatment plan for your specific issue. “Ask your potential therapist how they suggest treating your problem,” she said, “and make sure they have a response that makes sense.”

Of course, your therapist should be a good listener, and you can get an idea of this during your phone consultation. Just remember that “good” listening is somewhat subjective. Sure, a good therapist is typically compassionate and nonjudgmental, but “some people prefer a therapist who does a lot of listening while you vent and process, while other people prefer a more active therapist who teaches coping skills and offers more feedback,” Brinda pointed out. “Consider your gut feeling to see if it feels right talking to this therapist,” she said, but generally, “you can tell if a therapist is a good listener if you feel heard and understood when talking with them.” Beyond feeling understood, the therapist should be able to communicate that they’re knowledgeable with your issue through training and experience. You can simply ask, “Can you tell me about your training and experience in this area?” Their answer should make you feel confident they can handle your issue, but “I would recommend that people focus more on how it feels talking to them,” Brinda says. “Research has shown that the relationship between the therapist and the client plays a big role in the success of the therapy.”

If you don’t like what you get in your 15-minute consultation, be willing to shop around, suggested Dr. Jim Seibold, a licensed marriage and family therapist in Arlington, Texas. “The research has been clear about this — a good rapport with the therapist is vital to success, so make sure you find one you are comfortable with,” he said. “Ask about their expertise, education, experience, style, fees, cancellation policies, and other office policies.”

During Your First Session

Especially if you’ve never been to therapy before, the first session can always be a little awkward. You don’t exactly storm into the office, plop down on the couch, and declare, “Okay, doc, fix my intimacy issues!” The conversation typically emerges more organically. Your therapist might ask how your week has been, then dig into the issues from there. Either way, you should feel comfortable and heard as the session progresses.

“Good therapists demonstrate good boundaries,” Seibold said. “They keep the relationship professional by limiting the personal information they share about themselves. They stay awake and alert throughout the session and do not answer their phone or check their text messages.” During your session, you should never feel that your therapist is pushing his or her own agenda or professional goals, like selling a book. They should work to support the goals of the client, Seibold said. He added that part of establishing solid boundaries means acknowledging when they may not be able to help with a specific issue you might bring up during therapy. “Good therapists refer clients who are experiencing issues outside their area of expertise,” he said.

At this point, you and your therapist should agree on a treatment plan with specific goals and objectives. The plan should include strategies that your therapist believes will help you reach those goals and might even include a time frame for getting there. Before treatment, your therapist should also ask you to sign an informed-consent document, which includes information about your rights and responsibilities as well as theirs.

After a Few Weeks

You should notice that you feel supported and hopeful after your therapy sessions, said Jonathan Alpert, a psychotherapist in New York City and author of Be Fearless: Change Your Life in 28 Days. In an article for the New York Times, Alpert writes:

… if the therapist does nothing more than nod his head and provide vague utterances of reassurance like “I see” or ask questions that might seem dismissive (like the classic ‘And how does that make you feel?’), then move on. This type of therapy proves ineffective while a more positive and engaging therapist is better able to help a patient achieve optimal results.

He added that after a few weeks of therapy, you should begin to feel at least a small sense of control and change. If you don’t, it may be time to move on.

That isn’t the only red flag, of course. If your therapist constantly watches the clock, makes you feel guilty for quitting, or threatens that you’ll “plunge into depression” if you stop going to therapy. Those are surefire signs that you might not be getting the help you need, Alpert writes. “If the therapist does not seem understanding about this or tries to pressure you into becoming a client, be firm and do not go back,” Seibold warns. “If they don’t respect your need to be comfortable and confident in the professional relationship, they are not likely to respect your goals and objectives either.”

Brinda listed a few other red flags that it may be time to ditch your therapist:

• The therapist is talking more than you.
• The therapist is interrupting you often.
• Any inappropriate behaviors from the therapist (sexual or otherwise).
• The therapist has violated your confidentiality.

It’s worth pointing out that the last two red flags are also reportable offenses. You can file a complaint with the board of psychology or board of behavioral sciences for your state.

How long therapy lasts varies depending on the person; it may take months or years until you feel that your therapy is complete and you’ve reached your goals. Ultimately, therapy is complete when you feel confident that you’ve developed the skills and tools to cope with the emotional challenges that brought you to therapy to begin with. This is also why it’s important to develop a clear treatment plan at the beginning of your therapy. After all, therapy is also expensive. You want to make sure you’re getting your money’s worth. “You know therapy is complete when the client can say their goals are met or if they feel therapy is no longer leading to personal growth,” Bergen said. “We know from the outcome research that the relationship between the client and therapist is one of the most important factors for a good outcome.”

How to find the right psychologist for you

For many, the decision to see a psychologist is not an easy one. But once you’ve decided to seek help, how do you find the right professional for you?

Before you start Googling, you should head to the Australian Psychology Society (APS) website, which has a Find A Psychologist tool that allows you to search its database for issue and location. Check the websites of organisations like QLife and ACON that feature directories of LGBTIQ-friendly health professionals, or ask friends or family for word-of-mouth referrals.

Once you’ve screened your shortlist for practical factors like location, opening times and cost, check the psychologist’s registrations and suitability – “whether they have competencies in the issue you are presenting with,” says APS president and clinical psychologist Ros Knight.

Don’t be afraid to ask to speak to a psychologist before you make an appointment. It’s essential that you “click” with your psychologist as a person, she says. “Psychology remains one of those professions where you have to trust the person to get the best out of it. Talking to somebody, feeling like they are going to listen to you and understand you is really important.”

This is particularly important for marginalised groups like the LGBTIQ+ community. A psychologist’s office needs to be an inclusive space where a person feels safe to disclose their story, says Sarah Lambert, Director of Community Health and Regional Services at ACON. “People don’t want to see someone who doesn’t understand them. They feel the need to educate the health professionals, which takes away from their experience.”

Ask questions. Shoot them an email to give them a rundown about what you are looking for

Lambert tells clients to treat psychologists and health professionals like any other service, whether it’s a hairdresser or a mechanic. “Ask questions. Shoot them an email to give them a rundown about what you are looking for,” she suggests. Ask what experience a clinician has working with diverse families or if they’ve done any training around the health needs of LGBTIQ+ communities. “Psychological services are expensive,” she says, “so it’s worthwhile doing a little bit of homework.”

Knight says it’s “more common than people think” for a patient to try a number of psychologists before finding the right one. Lisa, a participant in SBS program How ‘Mad’ Are You, reveals that it took her four years to find a psychologist who could help her. “If after a couple of sessions, it feels like it’s just not going to work for you, absolutely you should move on,” says Knight.

Your first appointment

A competent therapist should try to understand you as a person and the context in which your issues are occurring from the start. “In the first session, the psychologist should be really interested in understanding what you’re experiencing – what it is that has brought you through the door,” says Knight. “They should be trying to assess what’s happening for you, how serious it is, as well as what strengths you bring that mean there’s hope of improvement.”

At the end of your first consultation, you should feel like you’ve been listened to, understood and accepted, and have a sense that the psychologist is, “curious about how to help,” says Knight. “You should feel comfortable, you should feel heard, and you should have a sense of hope that things can change.”

If you feel like you need to “self-censor” by changing how you talk about your relationships or avoiding using gender pronouns, it’s unlikely that you’re getting the most out of the relationship, observes Lambert.

At the end of the session, your psychologist should give you something to do – a tangible task to complete. “In therapy, we talk about how the most important thing is that you walk out and do something different,” says Knight. “It doesn’t have to be a big thing.”

Ongoing therapy

Cost is a conversation you should have early on in the piece. Under the current rules, Medicare offers a rebate for up to 10 sessions. After that, seeing a psychologist on an ongoing basis can be prohibitively expensive.

Jill Stark, author of Happy Never After, describes how at her lowest point, she expended her free Medicare sessions in just five weeks. “I saw my psychologist twice a week just to keep my head above water,” she writes in the Sydney Morning Herald. “At almost $200 per hour, I then had to raise almost $400 a week just to stay in therapy and out of hospital.”

Stark argues that we must stop rationing psychological services, a point Knight echoes. “There’s a lot of research suggesting that the more serious issues don’t get fixed in 10 sessions,” Knight says. “We have some hope that the government is going to allow more sessions for specific problems.”

Some people may be able to access more sessions through their private health fund, others through a community health centre or NGO. For others, reducing the frequency of visits makes the cost of seeing a psychologist more manageable. “Instead of being every couple of weeks, it becomes once a month,” says Knight. “A lot of psychologists also discount or charge a minimal fee where they believe there’s a high risk.”

Another option is eTherapy, online therapy tools such as MindSpot, a free service based at Macquarie University, and The Brave Program, a program aimed at the prevention and treatment of childhood and adolescent anxiety.

Nicola Heath is a freelance writer. Follow her on Twitter @nicoheath

Mental health support services:

Black Dog Institute

Lifeline – 13 11 14

Carers Australia 1800 242 636 – Short-term counselling and emotional and psychological support services for carers and their families in each state and territory.

Headspace 1800 650 890 – a free online and telephone service that supports young people aged between 12 and 25 and their families going through a tough time.

Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800 – A free, private and confidential, telephone and online counselling service specifically for young people aged between 5 and 25.

Mindspot Clinic 1800 61 44 34 – An online and telephone clinic providing free assessment and treatment services for Australian adults with anxiety or depression.

National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO)

QLife 1800 184 527 – QLife is Australia’s first nationally-oriented counselling and referral service for LGBTI people.

Relationships Australia 1300 364 277- A provider of relationship support services for individuals, families and communities.

SANE Australia 1800 18 7263 – Information about mental illness, treatments, where to go for support and help carers.

Support after Suicide

Source: Beyond Blue

The new SBS series ‘How ‘Mad’ Are You?’ takes a unique look at mental health. Catch up on the first episode on SBS On Demand. Part two airs next Thursday October 18 at 8.30pm.

Related content Life with social anxiety: “I worked an extra 6 hours a day so I could hide from the world” “I would leave home three or four hours earlier than necessary and work back late to avoid catching the train at peak hour.” Psychiatrist Dr Steve Ellen: ‘I hid my depression pretty well’ “When I first started feeling down, I thought it was pretty normal.” Being a hypochondriac isn’t as funny as it looks I’d constantly scan my body for anything suspect but didn’t really need to find anything – just thinking about all the ways the human body could fail was enough to make my blood run cold.

How Do I Find a Therapist Near Me?

If you have taken the time to search for “therapist near me” — as many of us mental health warriors have at one time or another — you deserve a high five. Deciding to seek therapy can be scary and stressful at first, so taking that first step is commendable. Go, you!

However, after you’ve plugged the search term into your browser and received your “therapist near me” results, you are likely to be inundated with an overwhelming amount of data and therapist choices. You might be asking yourself which results are useful and which are not. How can you find the perfect therapist if you don’t quite know what you’re looking at?

Seeking therapy should be as stress-free as possible . We’ll point you in the right direction, and you’ll find a great therapist. Most importantly, you’ll have a clearer path forward toward wellness.

Deciphering Your Search Results

After you search “therapist near me,” you will probably find that instead of getting actual names and websites of therapists near you, you are getting websites that list different therapists (like Psychology Today, for example), websites of therapy clinics, articles about therapy, and other therapy services.

The reason for this is that most practicing therapists don’t have their own websites. Or if they do, they don’t rank high enough in internet search results to be easily found. But that doesn’t mean that your “therapist near me” search results won’t be useful. You just have to know which websites to click over to, and how to evaluate the info you’re seeing.

How To Find Online Lists of Therapy Practices Near You

Most of us are looking for a therapist in private practice near our home or work who we can easily make an appointment with. Here’s how you can locate some of these therapy practices online.

  1. Search Professional Psychological Organizations

One of the best ways to start is to browse the therapist listings provided by professional organizations. Many therapists have a “page” listed on these sites, with lists of their specialties and areas of interest. Organizations like National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), American Psychological Association (APA), and the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies are good places to start. Psychology Today, though not a professional organization per se, usually has a reliable list of nearby therapists to choose from.

  1. Search Therapist Lists Provided By Your Insurance Company

If your insurance provider covers therapists, you can get a list from them, or access a list online. Your choices might be limited, but it never hurts to call nearby therapists on the lists and ask about their availability. You can also “vet” them beforehand, doing an internet search on the therapist’s name to see if they have a website or a page on a professional organization’s website.

  1. Online Therapy Sites

If you search for “therapists near me,” you are likely to directed to online therapy sites. Online therapy delivers therapists as near as you can get: directly into your home! Therapy is usually done via online text messaging, video messaging, or live video sessions. Online therapy is rapidly growing in popularity because it fits easily into our busy lives, and has been shown to be as effective as one-to-one therapy.

Online therapy sites like Talkspace help match you with a well-qualified therapist that specializes in the issues that matter to you, and they don’t limit you to therapists within your geographical vicinity. You will be able to view the profiles of several recommended therapists before trying one out. In Talkspace’s case, the vetting is done for you, as they only select certified therapists who’ve gone through a rigorous credentialing, and training process. So, in essence, some of the “searching” is done for you — based on your needs and search criteria, of course.Talkspace also makes it easy to switch therapists if you find your first selection isn’t a perfect fit.

Recommendations From Friends And Others

Another great way to find a good therapist is to get a recommendation. This can get a little tricky if you are relying on family or friends for a recommendation. After all, you may not want to share the same therapist with someone close to you, and your loved ones may not have the same mental health needs as you do.

However, if there is someone in your life who you trust to give you advice, asking them about their current or previous therapists is not a bad place to start. That therapist might be able to recommend a colleague, or a local professional organization for you to search.

Additionally, you can look beyond your immediate friend and family circle for recommendations. Ask your primary care provider, a clergyperson, or a trusted member of your community who you may not have quite as close an interpersonal relationship with. If you are looking for a therapist for your child, you can seek advice from your child’s pediatrician, school counselor, or other parents in your community. Talkspace also now offers therapy for teens.

Narrowing Down Your Search/Specialties

Once you have a list of possible nearby therapists to choose from, it’s time to narrow down your search, and find a therapist you can work with — hopefully for the long-haul. If you are doing an internet search for “therapists near me,” you might consider making your search more specific by adding some keywords that more accurately describe the type of therapist you are looking for.

For example, if you are battling anxiety and depression, you can search for “anxiety/depression therapists near me.” If you have a psychological diagnosis already, you can add that keyword into your therapist search. If you are looking for a therapist that works within a certain modality, you can add that search term (“cognitive behavioral therapist,” for example).

You can also take note of any specialties that a therapist lists within their online profile. Many will tell you what their specialties and scope include. This can help you narrow down your search as well.

“Trying Out” Your Therapist

Once you have focused your search, you will likely have a few candidates to “meet,” either in person or online. Of course, you will first need to be sure that these therapists have room in their schedule for you, and that they have appointment times that work for you. You’ll also want to see if they accept your insurance, or offer payment plans that fit your budget.

This might require a phone call to the therapist’s office, which can feel intimidating. But a quick phone call like this is actually a good way to see how you “vibe” with a particular therapist.

In the case of online therapy like Talkspace, the time between deciding to seek therapy and talking to potential therapists is greatly reduced — from upwards of two weeks (or months if the therapist has a waitlist) to a matter of hours. This can be beneficial if you have a busy schedule, and the option to talk via text or video — whichever is most convenient for you— is just a click away.

It can be stressful the first time you touch base with a therapist, but remember most folks who have tried therapy felt nervous the first time. Therapy brings up a lot of emotions, and it is natural to feel especially vulnerable when you are opening yourself up in this way, especially if this is your first time.

Your First Sessions

Remember that the first few sessions with a new therapist are a time for you to “feel things out.” Your gut instinct about a particular therapist can be very powerful. You don’t want to rush to judgment if you don’t immediately hit it off with your therapist (sometimes difficult feelings are a sign that the therapy is working, actually).

At the same time, you also don’t want to stay in a therapy-patient relationship that is not right to you. There is a well matched therapist out there for everyone. If you find that your first few tries are not what you’d hoped they’d, don’t give up. Sometimes it can take tries runs before you find your perfect therapist. But the good news is that most people who enter therapy begin to feel better after as little as three weeks.

The Road Ahead in Therapy

Phew! You’ve finally found a therapist near you or online who you feel comfortable with and who you can see on a regular basis. Congrats! It really was worth taking the time to do a diligent and careful search, wasn’t it?

If you are not there yet, however – or if the therapist that you were working with does not seem like a good match – don’t despair. Finding a therapist near you might sound daunting at first, but there are so many resources to help you. Remember: just taking the time to look is a wonderful gesture of self-care that will pay off in a big way before you know it. People even report feeling better just having made an appointment to see a therapist.

Keep in mind, too, that you have choices. You may find that there are no therapists near you that are quite what you are looking for. Many therapists these days offer telemedicine services like online therapy, so that is something to consider. You can also sign up for an online therapy company like Talkspace that you helps you find the right match and offers more flexible options for checking in with your therapist or scheduling video sessions.

Your mental health and wellness is worth it. In the end, having a regular therapist should not be an added stress. Remember to keep looking until you find a therapist that suits your needs and fits into your life.

Anxiety, Depression, Stress, LGBT Issues – Therapist in Chicago Lakeview

At some point, all of us reach a point in life where our feelings get the best of us. Depression, sadness, loneliness and anxiety are just but a few examples. This is particularly true if you are in a relationship that is causing you emotional pain or working at a job that makes you feel burned out.

Chicago is a wonderful town – no doubt about it – but it also holds it own unique issues that drive up your levels of frustration. The problem is finding a safe place to talk about all that you are going through without having to worry about the consequences.

If all of this sounds familiar, know that you have come to the right place.

If you are feeling any of the below, it is important you recognize change is possible!

  • Sadness & Loneliness: You feel down and out most of the time.
  • Symptoms of Stress: You just feel jumpy all of the time and are not sure why.
  • Low Self-Esteem: You don’t like yourself when you look in the mirror.
  • Fear: You are afraid of taking important steps to change your future.
  • Your Needs Aren’t Being Met: You are in a relationship that just isn’t cutting it for you or have started avoiding dating because you are sick of the rejection.
  • Feeling Completely Stuck: You just are not sure which direction to take right now and but recognize things have to change.
  • Drinking Too Much To Calm the Pain: You are using alcohol or drugs to emotionally lubricate and dull your feelings.

How Therapy Helps

We recognize that right now you are feeling a lot. That’s why one of the best things you can do for yourself is to reach out for support and engage in the transformational process of talk- therapy.

By working with a caring compassionate, and affirming counselor, you are taking positive steps to move towards a more fulfilling life. And don’t get caught up in the stereotypes about therapy – the truth is counseling means something is going right in your life – not something wrong.

Let’s look at some of the net benefits of therapy:

  • Improve Self-esteem: Create change around your self-view
  • Reduce Stress: Learn new ways to cope with your feelings.
  • Feel less pent up: Identify ways to prevent stress from building in the first place.
  • Look Forward to Each New Day: Discover how living a more mindful life create happiness in the here and now.
  • Change Negative Thinking: Learn how to change unhealthy thinking patterns with a focus on your strengths.
  • Change Your Relationship with Alcohol or Drugs: Discover more effective ways of working through emotions without abusing substances.
  • Gay Lesbian Affirming: If you identify as LGBT, learn to fully accept yourself as a gay, lesbian or bisexual person & increase your self-view.

We Are Chicago Therapists & Counselors That Want to Help

We are a group of Chicago therapists, counselors and psychotherapists who are experienced with helping people just like you work through some of the life challenges listed above.

Because we recognize many people in the Chicagoland area need specialized help with managing life issues, we have decided to focus things that cause and help to ameliorate stress and sadness in a major way within this website.

Below you will find out more about our approach to counseling and the specific areas we may be able to help you with.

Counseling, Therapy & Specialty Areas

Our Chicago therapists use solution-focused, strength based approaches to client wellness, infusing cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) interventions to empower our clients to live fuller, more productive lives. As a group, we do not follow the traditional “illness model” of mental health. In plain speak, we recognize that in order to live healthy, it is important to think healthy.

Need a therapist for depression?

Counseling for Sadness

One of the most perplexing and difficult emotions to work through is depression. This is because depression tends to visit people in ebbs and flows, sometimes striking like a powerful storm. If left unchecked, it can grow in might and rob you of things that once brought you pleasure.

But what if you could do things to reduce the impact of depression in your life? Is there anything that can be done in advance to minimize or prevent the full depressive wave? Is there a way to use depression therapy that is Chicago specific that takes into account seasonal issues, such as winter depression?

One of the life challenges our Chicago therapists help people with is better managing their depression. If you have time, be sure to read this article about therapy for depression in Chicago. You might find it very insightful!

Therapy That Helps

If you are seeking therapist in Chicago for because you have fears, uncertainties, or worries, you are not alone. One of the primary reasons people seek out the help of a therapist is to gain assistance with better managing these feelings – particularly when it comes to panic.

When you think about it, the word emotion is a word that has gotten a bum rap – an emotion that is thought of by many as something to be “rid of”.

The reality is that sometimes this emotion serves a very real function in all of our lives. Here, we are talking about the primal instinct known as “fight or flight”.

Counseling in Lakeview with Compassion

Counseling with Compassion

An emotion can only becomes problematic when it starts to interfere with your ability to live the life you want. In these situations, that constant worry you may be having can turn into what some clinicians classify as a “disorder”. Specifically, we are talking about on of six primary types :

  • Generalized Type
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Social
  • Phobias
  • Panic Attacks (Panic Disorder)
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Some people’s panic situations can become so profound that it causes them to depersonalize. Has this happened to you? If so, you might be riding “the wave” – something we explore in panic counseling.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT Treatment)

Our approach to therapy & counseling is always warm and gentle, borrowing from 9 cognitive behavioral therapies.

We also infuse Cognitive Therapy (CT) and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) because it is known to be effective in quieting thoughts and reducing stress . Included are elements of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Therapy plus Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).

The goal with all of these approaches it to help you think about things happening in your life in new and different ways. If appropriate, hypnotherapy may be used to reinforce learning concepts.

By changing your mind’s “tape” so to speak, we believe it is possible to transform how you respond to worries, fears and stress in healthier, more productive ways.

What would it be like to have a different outlook on things compared to what you are feeling right now? CBT Treatment may be helpful.

Substance Abuse Counseling for Addictions

Addictions Therapist Chicago – Counseling & Therapy

Do you sometimes wonder if you an alcohol abuse problem? Do you question if your recreational drug use has turned into something more serious?

Are you using alcohol or drugs as coping mechanism for issues with self-esteem and self-worth? You are not alone. Our Chicago addictions therapists are experienced working with substance abuse issues.

We offer a safe, gentle and non-judgmental space to help you explore what your substance use issues are all about and provide support as you consider wellness options.

Sex Addictions Counseling Chicago

Many people find sex enjoyable but did you know that it can turn into an addiction? It’s true. In fact, some people become dependent upon sex to quell anxiety, fears and to bolster feelings of self-worth and self-esteem.

This happens when the act of sex becomes used as a primary tool to “check out” or to medicate long held emotional wounds. We encourage you to read more about sex and addictions in this brief article.

Stop Smoking Cigarette Addiction

Are you addicted to smoking cigarettes? Trying to quit because you know it’s bad for your health? Learn about addictions counseling with hypnotherapy in Chicago to help you overcome nicotine dependence.

Need career counseling?

Career Counseling & Coaching

One of the most important life areas that we work with as therapists in Chicago relates to how you make your living – meaning job and career. It is for this reason several of our therapists offer career counseling and coaching services to clients.

We help in areas of career decision making, career planning and career goals. The current research suggests that most Americans will spend nearly 128-months of their total lifetime at work.

When you think about it for a moment, it is easy to understand why career counseling is an important area of focus. Imagine how career counseling could help you – particularly if you are freshly out of college or experiencing a career change?

Gay Therapist Chicago

If you are looking for a gay therapist in Chicago or hoping to work with someone who is LGBT friendly, you have come to the right place. Several of our Chicago therapists identify as gay and are completely open about their sexual orientation.

As therapists, we understand the unique issues that impact the gay and lesbian community in Chicago. In fact, we write about LGBT issues on our blog because we recognize the need for meaningful outreach. To learn more about how our LGBT counseling services may benefit you, be sure to stop by our LGBT services page.

Therapist for Women – Counseling for Men

Counseling for Women and Men in Chicago

Sometimes, it is important to work with a therapist that you can

identify with. This means if you are female, you may feel more comfortable working with a female therapist. It is for this reason we offer women’s counseling services in Chicago. If you are a woman and want to talk about issues impacting you at work or home, including unique stressors related wearing multiple hats (mom, employee, supervisor, breadwinner), we hope you will consider with with one of our therapists.

Our counselors also offer counseling specifically targeted towards men in Chicago. Specifically, we are talking about therapy that addresses anger management, self-esteem, stress, self-concept and relationship challenges. If you are a male and looking for counseling to address men’s issues, be sure to pop by our services.

Many people in Chicago seek out therapy to gain assistance with working through a previous life trauma.

For example, if you have experienced something that caused you to fear for your safety or life, it is possible you may be living with a form of trauma known as PTSD.

We encourage you to learn all you can about trauma and how it manifests emotionally, psychologically and physically by visiting our Chicago trauma therapist page. Some of our therapists practice EMDR and Clinical Hypnosis.

A happier, calmer life is possible

ADHD Therapist Chicago

Need an ADHD Therapist in Chicago? ADHD/ADD impacts many people in Chicago and around the United States. Current estimates suggest somewhere around 6-7 million people. If you live in Chicago and have some form of ADHD, you likely know how difficult it can be to manage.

Our Chicago therapists understand how ADHD can make it difficult to focus and concentrate on activities of daily living. Here, we are talking about things that some may take for granted, such as the ability to hold focus at work or remain “tuned in” to conversations with family or friends. Therapy for ADHD can help with better managing ADHD – which in turn can bring about balance

Marriage, Couples and Pre-Marriage Counseling Chicago

Our marriage and couples counseling professionals believe that the desire to seek out relationship therapy is an important step towards healing potential wounds. Finding the right marriage counselor or couples therapist to fit your needs can be challenging however, all of our relationship helpers are highly trained in the art of couples counseling and are eager to assist you with your relationship needs.

We specialize in helping couples identify barriers that may exist within their relationship and guide them towards places of change. Our marriage and couples counselors are down to earth, practical and interactive. Using a conversational and direct style, we assist people in relationships identify unhealthy patterns of behavior, which can often be the source of much pain.

We also offer pre-marriage (premarital) counseling to couples who are looking to help strengthen their relational bonds and maximize the chances of success for their marriage over the long-term.

Mindfulness for mood issues

Philosophy of our Chicago Therapists

As therapists in Chicago, we provide these counseling services in

a warm, affirming and safe environment that is designed to honor you as a person. One of our center’s guiding principles is that self-growth is possible for all people through the transformational process of talk-therapy.

We embrace the belief that when you reach out, you are really reaching in. In plain speak, that is why we provide so many different types of counseling services, including mindfulness therapy, designed to help you identify your strengths in the here and now and then move towards a place of desired growth and change.

By integrating different therapeutic modalities, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, solution focused therapy and positive psychology, we help clients gain momentum, thereby dislodging them from feeling “stuck”, which in turn empowers new beginnings for the future.

As a multi-cultural counseling group, we welcome clients from all cultural and spiritual backgrounds. Since our founding, we have been and continue to be a LGBT affirming organization, assisting clients who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. In short, we believe diversity enriches the whole.

Your Life Is a Cityscape of Possibilities

It is important that you know we do not subscribe in the traditional “sickness” model that so many in the field of therapy and counseling are clinically attached to, which historically suggests a person has an “illness”.

Our therapists and counselors realize that the road on life’s journey can be difficult and that sometimes we all need support.

Towards the bottom of this page, we’ve included a video that features some of our therapists and their offices. We invite you to look around this counseling website and check out our therapy learning room.

You will find a number of informational articles and tools that are designed to provide knowledge and insight. Be sure to visit our Zen Meditation Room and stop by our Chicago Therapists Blog.

On the bottom of this page, we’ve also added some information on how to find a therapist for your counseling needs.

Counseling and Therapy in Lakeview, Chicago

How to Find a Therapist in Chicago?

If you are trying to find a therapist in Chicago can at times be challenging, particularly if we are new to the therapy process or if

we are unsure about what kind of therapy or counseling we need in order to help us work through certain life issues and challenges.

We invite you to read the seven characteristics of a good therapist and look around our website and explore our counseling services so that you can make a healthy decision for you or your relationship.

If you want to find out more about how to find a therapist in Chicago or elsewhere,. read our ultimate guide!

Therapists in Chicago, IL

Our offices are in Lakeview, Chicago. We also welcome and serve clients in the surrounding areas such as River North, Lincoln Park, Logan Square, Wicker Park, West Loop and Bucktown.

We believe each and every person we encounter has a unique life story and celebrate the diversity and richness of the individual. New beginnings can happen. Walking together, let us help you identify and reach your life goals.

Ask yourself: “What would it be like to create a new life direction?

4 Steps to Finding the Right Therapist for You and Your Anxiety

Options -> Choice -> Evaluation -> Decision

After a considerable amount of time experiencing symptoms of anxiety, you have decided to seek the help of a licensed therapist. First, though you need to find a therapist. Often with medical doctors, you can simply ask friends and family which doctors they go to, but finding a therapist presents a trickier challenge. Whereas people often talk quite frankly about going to a medical doctor, they tend to be much quieter about their trips to mental health professionals. Furthermore, if this is your first time seeking therapy, you might not be comfortable openly asking those around you for guidance. So what should you do?

This article will provide some suggestions for where to start and what sort of questions you should be asking when you evaluate a therapist. Keep in mind, the perspectives presented here are based on my experience as a research scientist and as an individual who himself goes to therapy for an anxiety disorder. Always consult with a licensed professional when possible.

Step 1: Determining Your Options

The first step in choosing a therapist is to figure out what options are available near you. If you live in a major metropolitan area, you likely live in proximity to hundreds if not thousands of licensed therapists. However, if you live in a more rural area, your options might be more limited. Below are four approaches to determining your options.

College Clinical Services

If you happen to be a college student, many colleges and universities now offer on-campus counseling services. These services are often limited in scope such that students can only attend a set number of sessions before they are referred to a therapist in the community. However, they may have exactly what you need to cope with your symptoms. Furthermore, they often provide a full evaluation of your symptoms, help identify potential diagnoses, and have strong connections with therapists in your area. Consequently, they are capable of providing incredibly helpful advice in finding a therapist who you can see for a longer period of time.

Medical Professionals

If you do not have access to college services, the next best step would be to consult your medical doctor. Family and general practitioners often have some experience with mental health issues, and they will typically know of qualified individuals in your area who can be of assistance. This option is a strong one in that, assuming you have seen this doctor more than once, they will be aware of your experiences and might have a better sense of which therapist will be a good fit for your particular symptoms.

Online Resources

If you don’t have any of the above options, you can also search for therapists in your area by visiting websites such as MentalHealth.gov or the American Psychological Association’s (APA) Psychologist Locator. Both of these options allow you to narrow your search results by the type of services you are looking for, and the APA tool even allows you to specify therapists with certain specialties or who treat certain age groups. You can also use the search engine of your choice to see what is available in your area. Simply searching “clinical psychologist anxiety ” will return any number of results. However, I must caution against taking this approach. Search engines often return an overwhelming number of responses, and you are left to your own devices to determine the quality of these results.

Your Insurance Provider

Insurance providers not only have a list of therapists that they cover in your area, they can also help you find one who specializes in your symptoms. Thus, in addition to all of the above options, you can contact your insurance provider for assistance as well.

Step 2: Choosing Who to See

Your search has probably returned more than one viable option. The next step then becomes determining which therapist to see. Remember! You are never “locked-in” to seeing a particular therapist (more on that later). However, here are some pointers for winnowing down your choices.

Does the therapist have experience with your particular symptoms?

Often clinicians are skilled in helping with any number of common mental illnesses and symptoms; however, others specialize to a much greater degree and focus only on certain issues. In most cases, you should be able to see what a given therapist specializes in by checking their website (if available) or calling them at their office. When examining their specializations, you also want to ensure that the individual is licensed and qualified to provide therapy.

Does the therapist utilize “evidence-based” approaches?

In the world of clinical psychology, there are an untold number of theoretical approaches and beliefs regarding how to treat mental illnesses. However, they are not all made equal! You want to be sure that a potential therapist uses techniques and approaches that have been scientifically proven to work. Specifically, you will want to look for phrases such as “evidenced-based therapies” and “clinical experience” including but not limited to behavioral, cognitive behavioral therapies (CBT), or dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT). Good therapists will not limit themselves to only one set of therapeutic techniques and will often incorporate a combination of approaches to help their clients. To see what approaches a particular therapist uses, you can check their website or contact them directly.

Payment – Does your insurance cover this particular therapist?

Fortunately, most insurance companies cover even routine visits to therapists. Unfortunately, much like their colleagues in the medical field, not all therapists are covered by all insurance plans. Always double check with your insurance provider that your insurance will cover the person you are about to visit – as well as how many visits are covered and what are the deductibles, co-pays, and annual maximum payments. In addition, you want to know how much each session will cost you and what forms of payment they accept.

Step 3: In-Person Evaluation

After finding and choosing a therapist that you want to see, the next step is to determine whether or not a particular therapist is right for you. But what makes a particular therapist the “right” one? You want to see a therapist who you trust, respect, and believe has a good understanding of you and your symptoms, and you also want to get along with this person on an interpersonal level. You will not know these things immediately. In fact, you probably want to attend at least four sessions with a therapist before determining if they are the right fit for you. Selecting a therapist is an important life decision, and you want to make sure that you have enough information before deciding anything for certain.

Along this line, you want to prepare ahead of time before your first visit. Ask yourself questions such as, why are you seeking therapy? What is bothering you emotionally/mentally? Have any of your behaviors changed? Be honest when answering these questions, and don’t be afraid to write down the answers and bring them with you to your first session. Also, prepare any questions you might have for the therapist. For instance, you might want to know what times of day they usually schedule appointments, how much experience they have with people like yourself, and how they might handle emergency situations. Any therapist should be prepared to answer these type of questions.

Step 4: Making Your Decision

At this stage, it is quite possible that you have found a therapist that is right for you. You sought out the therapists available in your area; you found one who specializes in your symptoms and uses evidenced based therapies; and after a few sessions, you now feel comfortable seeing this person on a consistent basis. Great! It is also possible, though, that you still don’t feel like this person is a good match for you and/or your symptoms. What then?

To be sure, you need to give a therapist a legitimate shot. Often times, the treatment of mental illness is a slow process, so you must be careful to not write-off a given therapist simply because your symptoms are still bothering you. If you do not feel that your therapist is properly addressing your needs or concerns, first bring it up with them. Talk to them about how you don’t feel they are helping you. More likely than not, they will understand that every client’s needs are different and will have no problem trying to reframe their approach. However, if after having this conversation with your therapist things do not improve, you might want to consider finding a new therapist. In some cases, you can even ask this therapist for referrals to other individuals they think might be a better fit, especially if you can articulate why you want to see a different person. For instance, you might want to see a therapist who specializes in a different approach or is the same gender, race, or sexual orientation as yourself. If for some reason you can’t ask the therapist you are seeing for a referral, you can return to Step 1 of this list and start again. Remember, you are not locked-in to seeing a particular individual.

Hopefully this has provided a useful starting place for finding a therapist. If for whatever reason, you need more immediate care, please do not hesitate to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact them online at https://www.mentalhealth.gov/get-help/immediate-help/. Both of these sources are “crisis hotlines”, meaning that you can contact them even if you aren’t contemplating suicide. In the case of an emergency, please call 911. Though treating mental illness can sometimes be a long and slow process, know that there are resources out there to help.

Recommended For You

Black Americans: Anxiety, Racism And 3 Ways To Get Help

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Date of original publication: September 15, 2016

Accessing Therapy

Frequently Asked Questions

How quickly can I see a therapist?

We realise that for those who are experiencing anxiety, stress or anxiety-based depression, it can be really important to be able to see a therapist quickly. That is why Anxiety UK works to ensure that once you have made payment for your initial therapy sessions the therapist will be allocated your referral and they will contact to make an appointment for your initial consultation within 2 weeks.

How much will therapy cost me?

Our therapy services are priced at a reduced cost and based on your total household income as shown in the table below*:

Tier Income bracket Fee
1 Under £10,000 £15
2 £10,000-£24,999 £25
3 £25,000-£49,999 £35
4 £50,000 and above £50

*Proof of household income is required to access therapy at tiers 1, 2 and 3.

If you are a student living independently from your family, therapy is priced at £20 a session providing you can provide us with proof of studentship and your tenancy agreement.

When applying for therapy, you will need to pay for your initial sessions upfront. You will need to pay Anxiety UK the fees for 2 initial sessions (if you have having clinical hypnotherapy) and for 3 sessions (if you are having CBT or counselling). All other therapy sessions are paid directly to your therapist.

How many sessions of therapy do I need?

The number of sessions of therapy that you have will depend on your particular condition and its complexity and severity. However as an indicative guide, if you are having Clinical Hypnotherapy you can expect to have between 4-6 weekly sessions. If you are having CBT or Counselling you can expect to have between 6-15 sessions.

Can I have two types of therapy at once?

In line with current best practice, it is not advisable to pursue more than one therapy at a time. Different therapies are based on different models and may use techniques that have opposing effects on underlying psychological mechanisms. In other words, you risk “diluting” the positive effects of therapy. This also means that if someone gets better or worse then it is hard to know which treatment was responsible.

Who handles my application?

The Therapy Services Coordinator and Services team are responsible for processing your therapy referral and communicating with our team of therapists. All your information will be kept strictly confidential, and you can read our full Privacy policy here.

How is your information used?

We may from time to time create statistical and aggregated data derived from your personal data to enable Anxiety UK to share aggregated outcome data for the purpose of evaluation, promotion, marketing and research of Anxiety UK’s therapy services. Any aggregated data will be in anonymous form and will not identify you as an individual in any way. For full details of our Privacy policy visit here.

Will you contact my GP?

We may have to if you disclose any information on your referral form that requires us to seek your GP’s approval before being able to refer you to an Anxiety UK Approved Therapist. Should this be necessary, we will contact you first to seek your permission to contact your GP/other relevant healthcare provider that is involved in your care.

Who are your therapists?

Anxiety UK Approved Therapists are volunteers and are not employed by Anxiety UK when carrying out therapy services. The fees that are paid direct to them are to help to cover the cost of their expenses such as external supervision and room hire.

All Anxiety UK Approved Therapists have a current Enhanced Disclosure and Barring service check and undergo screening before getting approval to volunteer. This includes confirmation that the volunteers undertake regular external clinical supervision; they have up to date and relevant qualifications; they have professional indemnity insurance cover and that they have membership of relevant professional bodies.

Regular quality assurance checks are established to ensure that therapists have all mandatory requirements in place.

What qualifications do Anxiety UK approved therapists hold?

Counsellors must hold a Diploma in Counselling from a course that has been accredited/is in the process of being accredited by either the British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy (BACP), the British Psychological Society (BPS) or the National Counselling Society (NCS) and/or hold individual registration/accreditation with the BACP or NCS.

Alternatively, if they hold a Counselling diploma from a non-BACP, NCS or BPS accredited course, they must be working towards securing BACP, NCS or BPS accreditation within 12 months of being accepted as an Anxiety UK Approved Therapist.

CBT practitioners must hold a qualification from a course that has been accredited /is in the process of being accredited by the British Association for Behavioural & Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP) and/or hold individual accreditation with the BABCP.

Alternatively, if they have a CBT qualification (Diploma or above) from a non-BABCP accredited course, they must be working towards securing BABCP accreditation within 12 months of being accepted as an Anxiety UK Approved Therapist.

Clinical Hypnotherapists must hold a Diploma in Clinical Hypnotherapy and be registered with one of the following professional bodies: The Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council, The British Society of Clinical Hypnosis, the General Hypnotherapy Register, National Council for Hypnotherapy, UK Council for Psychotherapy and The Hypnotherapy Society.

Can you or your therapists advise me on my medication?

No, the staff at Anxiety UK and our Anxiety UK Approved Therapists are not medically qualified to give pharmaceutical advice or prescribe medication. It is best to consult your GP should you have any questions about your medication.

Will the therapist visit me at home?

We do not typically offer home visits as part of our therapy services. This is because the majority of our therapists are skilled and comfortable in delivering sessions via phone and webcam.

To access Anxiety UK’s therapy services you must…

  • Have an active Anxiety UK membership (Please make sure when applying for therapy that your membership is in date, otherwise you will be required to pay the full private rate (circa £60-150 per session depending upon your area of residence) for the sessions received outside of your membership.)
  • Be requiring support with anxiety, stress or anxiety-based depression
  • Be “ready, willing & able” to fully engage with talking therapy including being able to commit to attending regular appointments

Anxiety UK’s therapy services are not/may not be suitable if:

  • You have an alcohol/drug issue that is at a level which is highly likely to interfere with your ability to fully engage with therapy
  • You have a diagnosis of another more complex mental health condition such as psychosis or an emerging personality disorder or personality disorder (including borderline personality disorder). Please note: having such mental health issues does not however always result in you being unable to access our therapy services. In such circumstances we routinely contact other relevant professionals involved in your care to obtain their opinion as to whether our therapy services are suitable.
  • You have strong thoughts of suicide and we believe you may be at risk. In such circumstances we routinely contact your GP and/or other relevant health professional to ensure it is safe and appropriate for you to access our therapy services.
  • You are under 16. We will always need to contact your GP and your parent(s)/guardian before being able to offer access to our therapy services.

Therapy for Non-members

FAST (Fast Access to Therapy Services) has been developed to offer a quick, alternative method for non-members to access therapy support from Anxiety UK approved therapists. The service has been designed to provide a fast service for those seeking support quickly and can be provided either face to face, via telephone or by webcam.

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