When I first set out to start therapy, finding a therapist wasn’t the easiest. My experience with the first therapist I chose to see was discouraging and almost made me give up looking altogether. After our initial consultation, she seemed disengaged and was mostly unresponsive. After trying for a few weeks to schedule a session, I decided to go on the search again. I found my current therapist through my job, and though I haven’t to a session in months, I’m so grateful I ended up in her office.
I called the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) Hotline at my job. Some companies offer EAP in addition to traditional medical programs. The availability and benefits will vary from company to company but it was a great first start. Through EAP we received three free sessions a year. I answered a few general questions and was provided with a list of eligible therapists in the area.
I took that list and looked up each person on Psychology Today to see what their specialties were and to learn more about their background and if they accepted my personal insurance for after I used up all three of my sessions. Insurance companies can also provide you with a list of in-network providers that they will cover a percentage of after reaching your deductible.
finally narrowing down my search and going through a few therapists to find the right fit, I have my therapist now (who I haven’t seen in forever).
Before your first session:
- Do inquire about a FREE consultation over the phone before scheduling your first session
- Do research or ask what your therapist specializes in
- Do ask about certifications/degrees if that matters to you
- Do make sure you see the right type of professional (psychiatrist, therapist, counselor, etc)
- Do go into the session with an open mind. If you need to beforehand write out a few things you may want to discuss and/or ask during your first session
If your first session doesn’t go as well as you would’ve liked or you just don’t gel with the therapist, it’s okay to feel discouraged but don’t let that allow you to give up hope and not continue your search. Not every professional will be the perfect fit and someone who might work well for a certain person, may not necessarily be the one for you.
After your first session:
- Do take time to write out how you feel. The good, the bad, how the session went.
- Do not hesitate to let the professional know if you don’t want to continue sessions
- Do follow-up with the professional if you want to continue sessions
- Do have patience with yourself, and the process of healing
Another resource I love to refer people to is Therapy For Black Girls a Therapist Directory of black women professionals. You also don’t have to be a black woman to benefit from this listing. I know the search for a therapist can be a frustrating, nervewracking, and sometimes discouraging process but it’s soooo worth it once you find the right one for you and get the help you need.
- EAP through job
- List from Insurance Company
- Psychology Today
- Therapy for Black Girls (Therapist Directory)
- Feel free to reach out to me if you need more pointers