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Patient gives tips on how to see a psychotherapist

This guest blogger writes about what she’s learned about getting into therapy.  The following practical steps are helpful to people who could be helped by – but have never gone to-  therapy.

Therapy is a strange thing if you have never been before. You sit across a total stranger who asks you open ended questions about your most intimate most private thoughts and moments. You not only answer these questions honestly but you do it willingly. As you answer their questions, they give you, advice and opinions on the problem you went to see them for. You listen to their advice because their years of schooling and experience. The strangest part is if you answer honestly and do the work, they ask you, you can slowly see progress with the issue you came for help with. This can only happen if you know what to look for to find the right therapist for you.

How do you find a therapist? The easiest way to find one that takes your insurance is to call your insurance and to ask for providers that take your insurance. They can give you a list of providers closest to you. The number you can call to ask can be found in the back of your insurance card. You can also go to your insurance provider’s website and look for a mental health provider that way. Another way to find a provider is by word of mouth. Ask your friends and family for recommendations on health providers that they personally know. If you choose a health provider this way you will want to call either your insurance or the provider themselves to ask if they take your insurance.

There are some important things to know about the therapist you choose and your insurance before you start therapy. For your therapist you want to know where they went to school and their credentials. For your insurance, know what your copay is. Some insurances charge you the same copay as they would if you were seeing any other specialists. Other insurances charge you the same as if you were seeing your primary doctor. Finally, you should also know about the mental health parity law. The Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs is a good way to check on your therapist’s credentials. The things you need to know are if the therapist you have chosen is licensed and if any complaints have been filed against them with the states licensing board. The therapist having a license means that the state granting the license has assured that they have had up to 3,000 hours of required supervised experience. If any complaints were filed against the therapist, what were they and how were they settled. You can check with your state’s the licensing board to see if the therapist you have chosen is under investigation.

To know what your co-pay for seeing your therapist look at your insurance card. On the front of your insurance card, the prices for your co-pay are there. Calling your insurance will let you know if your copay is that of a specialist or the same as your primary doctor. Due to the Mental Health Parity Law, your insurance cannot charge you a higher co-pay than that to see a specialist. Your insurance also cannot limit the amount of visits you have per year to your therapist. Before 2008, insurances could and usually did limit how many visits you had per year. If your insurance refuses to pay for your mental health, they are required to tell you why they have refused to do so.

Knowing all these things can help you begin a great therapy experience. There are other things, which can help you have a good therapy experience. What some of these things are will be discussed in other blogs from the viewpoint of someone who is not only not only in therapy herself but also works in the mental health field. Hear her story of being in therapy, the stigma, and how she sees herself before therapy and while she has been in therapy.

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