how to pick a therapist

How to pick a therapist in the Murrieta area

Your life has been difficult for a while. You're struggling with anxiety and you're considering therapy. You do a quick search online and you realize there are over 20 therapists in Murrieta alone. How on earth are you supposed to find the right one? Well here are some of my suggestions:

Does the therapist take your insurance? When people call me on the phone, one of the first things they ask me is if I take their insurance. Most people want to go this route because it's the most cost effective way for them. If you choose to use your insurance, just know that insurance expects the therapist to diagnose you. This diagnosis is permanent and will remain on your record. FYI. However, in some cases, if you don't meet criteria for any mental health disorder, then the session won't be covered by your insurance. Always ask your therapist what your diagnosis is. It's a great way to empower yourself. Note that because a therapist accepts your insurance doesn't mean they will be the best fit for you.

Also be aware that your insurance dictates how many sessions you get to have, the length of your sessions and what types of session you have. For example, some insurance companies don't cover couples counseling, some don't cover group counseling and others will limit you to 3 sessions. Call your insurance company to get all the details before making a decision. 

 Is the therapist male or female? Some people specifically want a male therapist, while others want a female and some don't have any preference. Figure out who you are more comfortable with and go that route. There's no advantage with either, just do what makes you feel comfortable.

How much do counseling sessions cost? If you are going the insurance route, ask your insurance company what your benefits are, figure out how many sessions you are approved for and also know if you'll have a copay or you have to meet a certain deductible. That way you can budget for the sessions. Note that it's also possible to work with a therapist who is not contracted with your insurance company. In this case, the therapist will give you a receipt called a super bill, which you will present to your insurance company for reimbursement. So don't fret if the therapist you want to work with isn't on the list of in network providers. Typically this works for PPO insurance companies, while HMO companies want you to see a therapist who is contracted with their network.

If you are not going the insurance route, also ask the therapist how much each session will cost so you're not taken unaware and you can budget accordingly. Either way, you'll have some planning to do.

Where is the therapist located? Do you want a therapist who's close to your home or close to your work? How far away from your home do you want to drive? Some people will drive an hour to see a therapist they deeply connect with, and others must have someone within a 10 mile radius. Think about that. Ultimately, the most important thing is having a therapist whom you deeply connect with.

Imagine driving 10 minutes to see a therapist whom you can't stand? Sounds awful doesn't it?

Can the therapist see you online if you have to be out of town? If you are a busy person who does not always have the time to drive over for weekly appointments or if you go out of town regularly, you might also want to consider a therapist who can see you remotely. I personally use a software called Vsee. It's similar to Skype, except it's more secure. Note that in California, I can only see my clients if they are physically located in California. So if you're traveling out of state, I can't see you.

How long will therapy take? Successful therapy takes anywhere from weeks to months. Have this conversation with your therapist so you can mentally prepare yourself and commit to the care you deserve. It's a lot better to be prepared than to unsuccessfully drop out of therapy.

What is the therapist's personality like? We all know which type of person we connect with the most. This is why it's important to have the free consultation that many therapists offer. Figure out if you like their voice, if they sound friendly enough, if you want someone older, younger, more experienced, etc. Do they remind you of someone from your past? Once you have your first session, if you don't feel like they are a good fit or you really don't like their personality, just tell them.  I promise my feelings will not be hurt. Remember. Not every therapist will be the perfect fit for you.

So, if you'd like to have a free 15 minute phone consultation call with me so we can figure out how to get you on board the counseling train, ou can call me on 951-905-3181.