Phebe Brako-Owusu, LMFT
I want to go to therapy. Where do I start?
We’ve seen some of our TV faves go to therapy. Molly from Insecure called up her therapist when things got rough in Mexico in Season 4. Randall from This Is Us had a few sessions after Beth convinced him it was time to talk to someone about his anxiety in Season 4. Maybe you want a personal person like that in your corner. Perhaps one of your New Year’s resolutions is to go to therapy but you have no clue where to start. 2020 isn’t quite cancelled even though it’s been quite the year. There’s still time to get the help you desire. There are several ways to access a therapist. Let’s start here:
Check with your Health Insurance
If you have health insurance, you can start by looking up your BEHAVIORAL HEALTH BENEFITS. Insurance companies typically have an online roster of therapists in your area who accept your insurance. You can always call your insurance company for this information as well. Ask about your deductible and/or your co-pay. Your sessions might actually be fully covered.
Check with your Employer
If you’re employed, your employer might have EMPLOYEE ASSISTANCE PROGRAM BENEFITS which give you a number of therapy sessions for free every year. Not sure about that? Ask your HR personnel and they can help you access this free benefit. They typically have a list of therapists they’re contracted with that you can select from. Also, this service is confidential so nothing will go back to your employer without your permission. Talk with your therapist if this is a concern of yours.
When you have the information you need, such as a list of therapists that accept your insurance or your EAP, you’ll be good to go in terms of moving to the next step of finding a therapist. If you’re paying out of pocket, you’re already at the next step.
FIND A THERAPIST
A quick Google search will pull up a list of therapists in your area. Try search terms such as:
“Therapist near me” “Mental health services near me” “multicultural counselor in [insert your city/town]” “marriage therapist in [insert your city/town]”
Most health insurance plans have a list of in-network mental health professionals on their website and this can help you narrow your search.
There are also a number of databases such as:
Therapy for Black Girls
Multicultural Counselors of Color
Therapy for Black Men
BROWSE THERAPIST WEBSITE AND SOCIAL MEDIA PAGES
Many therapists like myself have websites and social media pages on platforms like Facebook and Instagram. A quick Google Search of your prospective therapist will produce these pages. You’ll get a sense of your therapist’s personality, their creativity and perhaps get to know them a little bit before you take the next step.
Therapist contact information will be on their website or on the insurance listing. A note about contacting therapists: Try your best to stay away from connecting with your prospective therapist on social media. Aside the fact that those platforms are not necessarily HIPAA compliant, meaning they’re not held to the highest standards of privacy, some therapists have others manage their social media pages. Instead, give them a call or send them an email to inquire about their availability. I’ve heard from several clients that they haven’t heard back from therapists they’ve called in the past. I get that. Sometimes therapists are unable to get to their phones between sessions like they’d like to because they use that time to wolf down their food or write notes. So if you don’t hear back from them, try again. If you don’t get a call back, try email.
Hopefully these tips will get you started on your journey towards healing.