Whether you are facing a combination of different problems or a unique issue of your own, finding a provider specializing in therapeutic medical treatment is the first hurdle to cross in order to help your life, especially if you are new to therapy.
Getting hold of a good healthcare professional, trained in the methods of rehabilitation, can be a challenging and lengthy process. This could be due to limited options in your area or you may feel the therapists you have come across are not right for you.
Psychotherapy can be a great tool to overcome mental health issues, but if you don’t take the necessary steps to pick a good therapist, you will end up wasting time and money, going from one clinician to another before you end up finding the right fit.
That said, life may be complicated, but finding a good therapist shouldn’t be, providing you do a bit of research, have patience and use your intuition. Here is how to go about it.
Where to begin?
Keep an open mind at the start of your search. Decades of experience and good education may not necessarily mean that the therapist may be appropriate for you. Some may be good, some may be bad, and some may be excellent.
To begin with, ask your managed care company for the full list of providers and then ask a friend or colleague if they can recommend a psychiatrist from the list. (This will save you tons of time and could be the luckiest thing to happen to you)
You can also check with professional institutions whether they provide psychotherapy and gain knowledge about the therapist’s expertise. The American Psychiatric Association and the American Psychological Association both maintain a list of therapists for people looking for one on their Psychologist Locator and National Register respectively.
Know what you want
Ask yourself a few questions first, before figuring out what you want from the therapist you are searching for. Some essential factors to consider are:
- What mental health challenges are you facing?
- What is your preferred session length and frequency?
- How flexible is your schedule?
- Cost of teletherapy?
- Who do you prefer to work with?
- What type of therapist will be right for you?
- What types of therapy are you open to?
- Texting, video conferencing or live chat options. Which do you prefer?
Cast a wide net
The key to proper research is to sift through data and cast a wide net for the best fits. If you filter, you will find tons of options from:
- Just punch your zip code to a reliable online database to generate a list of counselors in your area dealing with issues like marriage, drug abuse, etc.
- Search using search engines for online therapy networks to narrow down your choices.
- Check the testimonials on the website of the therapist to gather information about their credentials, contact information, experience and specialty.
- Browse further on a potential therapist through social media accounts .
- Before making a commitment to an online therapist, schedule a consultation over phone or video call to help you determine whether they are the right fit. By asking questions you can get to learn more about them.
- If an online therapy platform offers a free trial, use the opportunity to access and evaluate the service at ease.
Try an online therapy platform
Virtual therapy platforms are available in the market these days that can match you with an accredited and licensed therapist with whom you can work with via phone or online.
With weekly sessions as low as $35 per week, some people find digital therapy apps much more convenient and affordable than in-person treatment. The first place one should look is:
Offers Psychiatric care too
Easy to use
This platform provides a unique feature that makes online therapy feel almost like in-person traditional treatment. Their secure method allows the viewer to hide the face on their screen during a video session which makes it ideal for newcomers and those who are new to therapy.
Therapists on Amwell provide care for anxiety, depression, stress management, LGBTQ counseling, bereavement, panic attacks, couples counseling and insomnia, etc.
Doctor on Demand
Appointment within days
Therapists with average 15 yrs experience
Some insurances accepted
Similar to Amwell, Doctor on Demand is best for round the clock services on both physical and behavioral health. Available 24×7, the team of providers can help get one on track and order prescriptions if required.
Some issues which Doctor on Demand can help with and treat include skin conditions, allergies, men’s health, women’s health, cold and flu, headaches, postpartum, depression, grief and loss, stress and PTSD among others.
Financial aid available
Offers webinars on self care
BetterHelp is considered the mainstay of online therapy platforms because of its wide network and affordable pricing. The mission of the company is to provide professional therapy to anyone struggling with life’s challenges in an accessible, affordable and convenient manner through computer, tablet or smartphone.
BetterHelp specializes in treating stress, anxiety, relationships, anger, trauma, LGBT, grief, family conflicts, parenting, depression, self-esteem and more.
How to access therapy on a budget
If you are struggling with chronic mental health issues you may try to access treatment through online therapy chat to get relief, but getting the best medical care on a budget can be tough, even if you have health insurance coverage.
Fortunately, cost-effective measures can be taken to prevent shelling out of significant amounts for mental health care treatment. Some options are:
• Sliding scale therapists: Sliding scale psychotherapists or social workers are those who adjust their hourly charges to make treatment affordable to the user. You can look for sliding-scale therapists who work across the nation on mental health directories like FindTreatment.gov.
• Free or low income services: If you can’t pay out of your pocket or have no mental health insurance then the low-fee or free community mental health clinics can provide the succor you need. To find a clinic in your area you can contact the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) helpline for recommendations in your community.
• Support groups: Support groups can help people suffering from postpartum depression, alcohol and substance disorder, eating disorder or grief. Unlike individual therapy, support groups connect people with others who are undergoing similar symptoms and allow them to share their opinion.
• Local institutions: Many universities and colleges have health practitioner programs that organize clinics, run by graduate students, at reduced rates to the public, often as low as $1. The students work under an experienced professional and as the case load is limited, they can devote much more time to the patient.
• Find an in-network professional: If you have health insurance, check with your service provider whether they cover mental health services. Many online therapy providers accept insurance, but there is no harm in double-checking if everything is covered or if there are any copay or deductible amounts.
• Community services: Free therapy may also be available in community centers like hospitals and schools but finding it may take some doing. Places or worship like churches and synagogues are resources where you might find these types of programs as well.
Where to find free online therapy
If you are worried about how to pay for effective online mental health care treatment, the good news is that sometimes you can access help for free.
Many websites offer free or affordable online therapy along with other benefits like trained volunteer listeners, free 24×7 chat or an interactive mental health platform that can help.
Based on five critical features for anyone seeking online mental health support, check out these free popular online therapy services:
eTherapyPro (best overall)
Price/week: Free first 3 days. $40/week after
Appointment type: chat, video, phone
7 Cups (best for peer support)
- Free for chatting with caring listeners.
- $150/month for online therapy
Appointment type: Chat
iPrevail (best for on-demand care)
- Free peer-to-peer coaching. Monthly
- $9.99 for a licensed therapist.
Appointment type: Chat
TickTalkTo (best for accessible care)
Price: Free chat with a happiness expert
Appointment type: Chat
Everyone needs help at some stage in life, whether from mental health issues or day-to-day stress problems. What is important is to seek immediate help from a reputed therapist who can help you cope with the mechanisms to regain health and strength.
A long-lasting therapeutic relationship will help you overcome all the mental health challenges and begin your journey to total mental recovery.