How do you find a therapist???

I feel stuck where I am.

I desperately want to go into counseling, to get more control over my life and my self. I’m tired of being reliant on a pill to get me through the day, and to keep me from being a danger to myself. If that’s all it was, I would learn to deal, but I also want to have kids soon, and you cannot be on my meds while you are pregnant/nursing. So I need to discover a way to cope without them, to at least get to the point I’m at now while off the drugs.

I also just want the experience of therapy. Talking things out helps me. But there are very few people I trust enough in life to talk to, and there’s only so many times they can listen to the same thing. And, while I greatly appreciate all that they DO listen, I feel like someone who actually does therapy (well) does more than listen, they help you process more quickly and give you tools to do so. I want those tools.

My problem is, how on earth do I find a therapist? There are SO MANY bad ones out there, as I’ve learned from other people’s blogs (for example…) and from the experiences of people I know.

My current doctors are all downtown, largely because while I live 30 minutes North of it (in no traffic, which happens so often around here) I work in downtown. But I don’t want to find a psychologist down here because my goal is to get to the point that I can go off meds and have kids…and quit work. At which point we’ll probably move farther North for the hubby’s job. And I know with depression it’s hard to get yourself to care enough to do what you know you need to. When I’m down it’s hard to convince myself to swallow a little pill in my hand with a glass of water in the other. A 30 minute drive and expensive parking? Not happening. However, when I’ve tentatively asked my doctors down here, none of them know anyone up North. So no doctor referral.

I know very few people in the North end, none of whom are in therapy or know someone in therapy or have kids in therapy (not that a child psychologist would do me any good…well..depending who you ask ;-). So no referral from a current patient.

For some reason psychologists and therapists put NO INFO about themselves online. I would like to find someone who has knowledge of the things I’m facing. I would also like to find someone whose theraputic technique is not “try harder.” I blame myself enough for the physical and chemical damage in my brain without a “professional” blaming me, too. And I already can completely shut down if I’m afraid someone is judging me, something I am obsessive about. I do not need a “professional” who I feel is judgmental.

I take that back. I found one great website where therapists will put up some info about themselves, their approach, what their main specialties and secondary specialties are. Unfortunately, virtually none of them are covered by my insurance, because insurance companies are a pain in the @$$ to deal with. And while my sweet, wonderful, supportive hubby is willing to pay for appointments completely out of pocket…we’re trying to save money and the appointments are ridiculously expensive and it seems silly to me when there ARE doctors who the insurance will pay for in full. So that website has basically confirmed for me that 80-90% of therapists would not be a good fit for me (even of the ones who seem great for someone else).

So basically, the only option I see is to pick someone blind. Off a list the insurance company provides.

And that terrifies me.

I do not want to go to a bad therapist. And, from what I hear and have seen, there are far more bad than good. So it will likely be multiple blind picks before I can find someone who 1) knows what they’re doing and 2) I can trust and talk with. And I know myself. A single off-handed comment that I think might be negative can send me into a downward spiral for days.  A bad experience with someone I pretty much have to trust and talk with (in order to see if they’re a good fit) will be very hard for me to get over.

I’m scared to move forward. But I’m tired of being stuck where I am.

Anyone out there have any advice on finding someone good???

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10 Comments

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10 responses to “How do you find a therapist???

  1. I’m sorry sweetie. All I know of this process is guess and check. If you don’t have any referrals then you just have to try one and see if it works out. It’s a horribly scary idea but if that’s what is necessary then I guess that’s all you can do.

    Another option is that some offices have pamphlets/ brochures about their therapists. If you call them maybe you can get some introductory paperwork before you agree to go and see them.

    That’s all I can think of sweetie. When we did this for….everyone in my family now that I think about it, that’s pretty much what we had to do.

    Good luck and let me know if you need anything.

    • *hugs*

      I should ask for literature..hadn’t really thought of that.

      Also, thanks for being one of the people I can talk to. When are you moving up here, again?

  2. Well I was going to suggest on line counseling, but it seems that has been ruled out. I believe there are a few anti depressants that do not cross the placenta and are considered not harmful. Zoloft? Probably others. Maybe you could change to a “safer” med?

    • True, there are…the problem is they give me certain..*side effects*..which..um..interfere with Christine’s February challenge. A lot. And damages my marriage. Which, in turn, causes anxiety/stress. Which is not much of a trade-off. The only meds (that I know of) that do not do this are not proven safe during pregnancy. Thanks for the thoughts, though! I’d never even though of online counseling…heck, I’d never even HEARD of online counseling!

  3. OMG you have Dysthymic Disorder? I’ve never met anyone else who does too! I’m excited. And sad cuz it sucks! But now I’m excited again. How typical.
    Well good luck finding a therapist. It can be sooooo hard and expensive. I wish I could give you advice but I’m in the same boat. No money and I just moved to a new area. What’s a girl to do. As far as having kids, you should read Heather Armstrong’s book It Sucked and Then I Cried. It was very realatable for me with having depression and a baby at the same time. It is manageable but it’s best to have all the tools before you get pregnant. I’m glad I found you! My DD sista! (I can joke about this because it’s my coping mechanism, my psych says it’s OK)

    • Yes!!! I mean..no..not excited..’cause it’s lame..but…you’re the first other person I’ve met, too! Well, “met,” but you know.

      Thanks, good luck to you, too. It took meds to get me to the point where I can convince myself to find a therapist. Now it’s going to take another few weeks to convince me to ACTUALLY go out and find one after the new scariness of picking one.

      Ooooooh, book recommendation! Awesome! I LOOOOVE reading, and I always love getting recommendations, especially for something that’s actually useful. :-D Thank you!

      Joke away, anything that helps deal is aaaaaaaaamazing. I’m pretty much impossible to inadvertantly offend :-)

  4. Hi Eileen,

    I have B-Polar Disorder and for a long period of time I couldn’t talk to anyone about it.

    Then I found this forum – http://www.abssn.org/forums/ – I don’t know where you hail from, but if you Google ‘Depression forums’ you can usually come up with something in your neck of the woods. From there it’s fairly easy to start a topic, or join one already posted asking for help/suggestions on finding a Therapist.

    Good luck honey! I hope everything works out for you.

    P.S. Pop past and read this post if you feel like it – http://tomikastreasuretrove.blogspot.com/2010/02/bi-polar-anonymous.html

    • Thanks, I never considered appealing to LOCAL anonymous online communities! Also, beautiful post, thanks for linking me to it. I love reading things like that. It reminds me that what I face is real, no matter how many well-meaning people say otherwise trying to help. (I tried to say that on your blog, but pretty much stumbled all over my words) And it shows me that even for people dealing w/stuff more serious than mine it CAN get better!

  5. I am quite late in responding, and I hope that by now you have found someone. Please read the current article on my website if you have not. Good luck it is a difficult process sometimes.

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