Why you don't need a therapist, but maybe it's time to try

Main points, no filter:

  • Friends/family are great, but they are not professionals.
  • Maybe therapy will help?
  • Finding a good therapist is like finding a good roommate, it’s worth the leg work up front
  • Therapy is an investment in yourself and/or like buying concert tickets
  • When you work with me you get less BS, I will work just as hard as you do
  • Schedule a consult, it’s free

A wordier and more detailed explanation of the above points:

Does this sound familiar?

Imagine that you are feeling pretty crummy. Emotionally, physically, or both. You are doing all you can do to just putt along and navigate life. You are keeping your head above water but things are starting to slip. You might be a bit more irritable than usual. You might be forgetting things often because you feel distracted. Your performance at work might be suffering, you haven’t slept much and things feel as if they are starting to crumble. You might not be getting much enjoyment out of life. You might feel lonely.  Your friends or family have asked you what’s up, some of them you say “nothing I’m fine” some of them you might go out on a limb and share that you are feeling a bit crummy. You might get the response of “don’t worry, it will be okay” or “yeah me too”. It does help to have someone to talk to. The problem is, you still feel crummy, and you are feeling crummier by the day. This is the point where you think maybe a professional would help. Therapy is a place where you go to talk about stuff and at this point you are willing to try anything to feel better. Once that decision has been made, who do you ask for help?

The importance of choosing the right therapist

There are a lot of options for therapy, and it can be overwhelming to find a therapist who is a good fit. You might not even realize that you need to have a “good fit” for therapy to be effective. Here’s the deal: Above everything else, the connection and relationship you have with the therapist has the most influence on the outcome of therapy. This means that no technique or approach to therapy is better than the other, it is about how you connect with the therapist. If you don’t like the therapist, it’s not going to work. On top of that, if you invest a month in therapy with a therapist who is not a good fit, you may be discouraged to try again with a new therapist. Because who in their right mind would go through all that all over again if it didn’t work the first time? Well, no offense, you are not in your right mind and it is absolutely worth it to find the right fit.

Choosing a therapist is like choosing a roommate.

When you are looking for a roommate, you want someone reliable, relatable, and like you in some ways. If you are a bit messy, a roommate who is a neat freak might end in a disaster. If you like rock music, someone who listens exclusively to Enya might not be a good fit. If you share the same taste in music and television, you have more opportunities for connection. And a go to plus one for all those concerts that no one else will go to. In deciding a roommate and given the option, would you want to at least have a conversation with the candidates before choosing? I would.

When choosing a therapist think of some of your non-negotiables. You might prefer a certain gender, race, or age. You might want someone who is local so you can meet in their office versus over video.

On top of these non-negotiables, you want someone who is an expert in their field.  If you are struggling with anxiety, you want someone who is trained and specializes in anxiety disorders. We can even get more specific; if you have anxiety over health, there are therapist who specialize in health anxiety.

Why not pick a therapist who is the jack of all trades? Or just pick one that takes insurance? 

I have looked at a lot of Psychology Today profiles. There are some providers who check off literally every box. They specialize in EVERYTHING. Here’s the thing, you can’t specialize in EVERYTHING. That’s like saying anyone who is looking for a place to live would be a good roommate.  You will be successful in therapy when you find a therapist that you can relate to and has a working knowledge of your concerns. If you are struggling as a new parent, you want a therapist who has experience working with new parents. You may even want a therapist who is a parent because they have been in the trenches too. If you have ADHD, you want a therapist who understands how ADHD has an impact on your life.

You deserve someone who is an expert.

Now, talking about the whole insurance piece. Choosing a therapist just because they take your insurance does not mean that they are a good fit. It may even benefit you to consider a therapist out of network for the right fit. There is the question of cost, which I absolutely get. There is only so much money that comes in. Take a look at your budget, figure out what you can afford.

When you are paying for therapy, you are not just paying someone to listen to your problems. You are investing in yourself.  You are not only paying for the time you spend with the therapist, but you are also paying for the level of expertise that they have and the quality of therapist that you are getting.

Going back to the roommate analogy, you can pick from a list of people who need a place a to live in your area or, you could use a roommate finder service that lists candidates with a background check and references. Sometimes investing in a cost up front is worth it in the end. If you have found a therapist and cost is a barrier, there are options. If you find a therapist that is a good fit, ask them what the options are for payment. The therapist might be able to provide you with documentation to get reimbursement from your insurance company. They may offer group therapy which is more affordable and has some added benefits. They may offer you a sliding scale with the understanding that the fee can be re-negotiated if the financial situation changes. Some therapists, myself included, supervise interns, you may be a good fit with the intern and get the added benefit of two minds collaborating together to help you.

A therapist will also choose you.

If I am being honest, I can tell when a potential client is not a good fit. I will tell you. I want to work with people that I will be successful with, that’s kind of Business 101. I won’t take you on if I don’t believe I can help. I have a network of other therapists that I refer to, so after the consult, if we aren’t a good fit, I will help you find someone who is.

As a therapist, I have noticed a trend in the clients who are successful with me. They have a sense of humor, they don’t mind cursing, and they show up (literally and figuratively).  Many of them have experienced some trauma in their lives. They have done a great job with coping up until now and they could use some support. They are fed up with how things are going and are ready to do the work. A lot of times they come to me when there has been a change and they are having trouble adjusting. I describe the feeling like you are trying to stand on marbles and you can’t gain traction no matter what you do.  I often find that my clients have ADHD, most of them undiagnosed.  It is important to note that we don’t focus on the diagnosis, instead we focus on identifying how you are currently operating in the world and how you would like to be operating in the world. We close the gap between the actual and the ideal, which just FEELS better.

What you get when you work with me

I’d like to think that I make the onboarding process relatively easy. I think the scheduler is easy to use. You decide where you want to meet, in person or video, you look at the times I have available, and you schedule. You get an email with a link to the video consult or with directions to my office. If it’s a video session, you don’t have to download an app. I HATE downloading apps to have a session. I use IvyPay for the payment platform and all your receipts are texted to you. If you have any issue, you can call or email, I am pretty responsive. My schedule is flexible, that’s a perk of working for yourself. I do charge the full rate for a no show or late cancellation, it’s like a concert ticket. You pay for the seat, you can choose if you show up.  I understand emergencies happen and I do try to work with you to reschedule within the same week when possible.

I don’t do much woo-woo therapy BS. When I do, I will preface it with, “I know this sounds like BS, but listen to this…. “ Then I give you the data to back it up.  I do talk about feelings. I can’t help it, I am a therapist, that’s what we do. I will tell you that once you become aware of your feelings, you will feel more connected with yourself. I will also tell you that talking about feelings can be uncomfortable, especially when we have grown up in a culture that encourages us to be disconnected from our feelings.

I read a lot, I listen to a lot of podcasts, I go to a lot of trainings. When you work with me, you get my decade plus of clinical experience, you get my unquenchable thirst for knowledge and love of learning, and you get that all with no filter.

If you’ve made it this far and you think you might want to work with me. Schedule a consult. It’s free. We will talk for about 30 minutes; we can figure out if we are a good fit. I’ll be honest with you if we aren’t.