1-800-ask-a-therapist

Dr. Melfi: "It sounds to me like Anthony Jr. may have stumbled onto existentialism." Tony Soprano: "Fucking Internet." - The Sopranos "D-Girl" Episode, Season 2

hi there!

I’m cooking up a big post for next week. In the meantime, I’ve been receiving more questions about how to navigate the finding-a-therapist seas, so I thought I’d share some ideas here:

F.A.T.Q.T.I.S.O.K.T.A.T (Frequently Asked Therapy Questions that I Sort of Know the Answers to)

Where are all the affordable therapists???????

  • Trying to find their own affordable therapists during this mess! I’m not kidding!!!!!!!

but a few current options I recommend:

  • Open Path Collective - a nationwide network of mental health professionals dedicated to providing in-office mental health care—at a reduced rate—to individuals, couples, children, and families in need.

  • If you currently have insurance, it’s worth it to check with your insurance provider about what mental health services are included in your plan. Often times people “in network” are waaaay more affordable than ones that don’t accept insurance. This is also a semi-helpful link that provides more information on understanding health insurance. Reach out to me if you have any questions about this and I’ll help you navigate it.

  • Pro tip: Check out local university counseling center websites and see who the post doc interns are. Post-doc fellows have completed their doctoral training and are gaining more experience and clinical hours before they officially get licensed. While they will still be working under supervision, they are often more affordable than more senior therapists.

  • Reach out to people you admire who talk way too much about their own therapist and ask them to ask their therapist for some low fee options. Typically the best referrals come from current patients or other therapists.

What’s the deal with zoom therapy sessions these days? Am I limited to a therapist in my area or can I meet with someone in another state now that we’re virtual?

  • Whewwwww this question is more complex than it should be. Technically speaking, a therapist is only supposed to practice with a person who is residing in the state the therapist is licensed in, at the time of service. I know. This is so dumb. Many therapists have applied for temporary licenses in other states other than the ones they are licensed in, so it’s possible you can work with someone who is out of state. However, it’s best to check with a therapist (if out of state) during an initial consultation about where they are licensed. Also important if you think you’ll be moving soon or traveling a bunch.

I would really like to work with a therapist of color but everyone on psychology today is a White middle aged Jewish woman named Judy.

  • You’re not wrong. This is a bigger issue that someone needs to write an anthology on, but the short answer is: therapists of color DO exist and are unfortunately not exempt from the same systemic racism that is preventing you from finding them.

  • A few places to look are: open path collective (above — again, they tend to offer a more diverse group of mental health professionals), Therapy for Black Girls, Therapy for Black Men

  • Ask around — it’s so annoying, but again, your best bet is to ask friends who are currently working with people of color.

  • In case you couldn’t tell, I am most definitely NOT a psychology today stan, but there are filters where you can narrow your search to “Ethnicity Served” and see people who look more like you than Judy does.

  • When sifting through the options, therapists will list their “specialties” and it’s usually a good sign if they have something written about: “racial identity, unconscious biases, etc….”

Do I need therapy? How do I know?

  • This question is really common and I wish I had a beautiful response that told you exactly when/why/how you should or shouldn’t start seeing a therapist.

    My philosophy is:

Therapy is WORK (work work work work). It can be extremely rewarding but also extremely draining, unsettling and expensive. I do believe that everyone can benefit from therapy (I mean, you get 50 minutes a week to talk about ANYTHING YOUR ANXIETY/HEART/EGO DESIRES with a person whose main job is to listen to you, empathize with your struggle and help you find better ways to cope). That being said, I also think it’s important to get real with yourself if you’re truly ready (or in a place) to go to the deep, often times dark, places therapy (when done well) will eventually take you. If everything I’ve said about therapy hasn’t freaked you out yet, I think that’s a good sign that you’re probably ready for it!

The therapeutic relationship is complicated, beautiful, messy, frustrating and most of all — another relationship in your life. Most of us have some relational problems and those will likely play out with whatever therapist you choose to work with, no matter how amazing they are. Part of what is wiiiiiild about the therapy process is while in most of our day-to-day relationships we aren’t processing (in real time) how our interpersonal characteristics are playing out with another person, we just sort of let them be and if there are issues we talk shit about that person to another trusted person, and the cycle continues.

When working with a therapist, you have the opportunity to pause during conversations, check in with yourself and the other person, and explore what is coming up in that moment. Usually you’ll find that whatever dynamics and conversations start to unfold in the therapy process relate to conversations you’re having with other people who are not your therapist. If this is only sort of making sense, welcome to the therapeutic process! But no, for real, therapy is a tool that is right for some and wrong for others. Also I’ve only been mentioning Talk Therapy here, there are plenty other modalities of therapy that are more focused on relieving stress and tension from your body (e.g. Somatic Experiencing Therapy) and ones that involve the administration of an infusion of Ketamine + talk therapy for symptoms of depression.

Point is: there are plenty o’ therapy fish in the sea, and while the process is daunting, I don’t want it to scare anyone struggling from getting the support you deserve. There are few things I enjoy more than talking to someone about the magical realism that is therapy.

love,

Jesse