Disclaimer: This is based on our personal experiences and what worked for us. We are not medical providers or healthcare practitioners. Please consult your support team for information regarding your healthcare.
TRIGGER WARNING: discussion of therapy and use of diagnosis terms.
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We have been in therapy for more years than we can count. Since the age of 5, we have seen therapists and psychiatrists. To manage our OCD, our anxiety, and our dissociation due to trauma. Our therapy has not been effective until now.
Therapy is not just about the patient, but the skills of the practitioner. Sadly, not all therapists are built alike which means not every person will benefit from sessions.
Finding a good therapist…
The first thing we did wrong was assuming that the therapist we have is the only option. Often, the authority is imbalanced with mental healthcare. Instead of making educated choices as a patient, we rely on the knowledge and credentials of the counselor. For us, autism impacted our mental health functions and we could not find a practitioner that had experience dealing with comorbid disorders. For years, we just let our insurance determine the therapist.
Then we decided to take control. We researched options and even researched the therapists before meeting them.
We used The Psychology Today Directory to find counselors in our area. Then we called to confirm they accepted our insurance. This directory is useful since it tells you some of their specialties. You can see if they have experience with children or adults if they have experience with mental and developmental health, and so on. It is a tool to vet your therapist before scheduling the first appointment.
Healthcare is a service and you are the customer…
Once we didn't feel stuck, we began to pre-draft questions for the therapist. At the first meeting we would grade them on their answers.
We asked, “Do you have experience with autism? Have you worked with trauma disorders? What is your method of therapy? What do you believe about healing?”
Any question that works for you, you should ask. Remember this is your time and you are the one that needs to find healing for you.
Sometimes your options are limited by insurance. We found our therapist through Open Path Collective. They not only help you find a therapist through their data bank, but as a nonprofit the practitioners offer sliding scales for their services. You can find affordable options even if your insurance is not accepted by the counselor.
The Therapist Checklist
What do you need? Self-reflection will help you decipher the best type of therapy for you.
What is your mental health goal? Therapy is supposed to benefit you. Having an end goal in mind before you start your sessions will keep you on track. Also, this allows you to express your goal to the practitioner to help them help you.
Figure out where you can get services. Does your insurance cover it? Is self-pay an option?
Remember that ultimately, therapy is a service you pay for. If you aren't happy with it, you can change it.
You have the power over your wellbeing and the authority to say when something isn't working for you.
For more resources check out
The Top 10 review of virtual therapy service providers.
All kinds of therapy provide a free resource list that is categorized to help you find what you are looking for.
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