If you think that you or someone you care for may benefit from psychotherapy or another form of behavioral health treatment, the best place to start is with your primary care provider. Discuss your symptoms with them and ask for a referral to a provider they like or with whom they maintain a professional relationship.
There are also many online resources that can help you choose a provider. Websites like ZocDoc.com and Healthgrades.com both have extensive databases and profiles of providers across the U.S. Additionally, many insurance companies have databases of physicians who take their insurance, along with short profiles. If you want to see a provider from the comfort and convenience of your own home, the Inpathy online behavioral health platform is a great place to find a provider who offers online behavioral health sessions.
Spend time with these resources reading through profiles and considering what you’re looking for in a provider. Is there a specific specialty you’d like to find? Like child and adolescent or addiction psychiatry? Perhaps you’re interested in learning more about a type of therapy, like cognitive behavioral therapy, and you’d like to find a provider who specializes in it.
Whatever source you choose to find a provider, you should meet with at least two or three providers before deciding on who you’d like to see regularly. Make it clear with each provider initially that you are identifying options and that this is an early stage in your journey. Meeting with multiple providers will give you a chance to compare what you do and do not like about each, allowing you to make a more informed choice overall.
When meeting with a new provider, ask them questions about their practice and specialties. The more information you have, the easier it will be to decide if someone is right for you.
Here are a few sample questions to ask:
How long have they been in practice?
How much experience do they have with clients like you? With your specific issues?
What kind of training did they receive?
What kind of approach to treatment do they prefer?
The Bottom Line
Above all, you are a consumer of services. Don’t be intimidated by the idea of seeking professional help or think that because these are specialists, they are infallible. Providers are human beings too, and some will be a better fit for you than others.
Daniayla Stein lives in the DC area as a Digital Communications professional and Graphic Designer. Daniayla is passionate about helping people help themselves through information and advocacy and frequently writes on behavioral health issues, healthcare policy, as well as the occasional poem or two.