Therapy is freaking expensive. That’s my main takeaway from dipping my toes into the process of finding a therapist. My next takeaway: Dipping my toes into the process is making me more depressed. I’m being somewhat facetious, but only somewhat.
Here are some other takeaways, which I’ve framed more as questions:
- Do you have gender bias on these? I’ve always been more comfortable around girls growing up and women now. Most of my regular friendships and correspondence are with women. So, I think I’d be more comfortable with a therapist that’s a woman as opposed to a man. I’m sure there are great male therapists, but I was specifically filtering those out, which makes the search all the more difficult since I’m necessarily eliminating half the options.
- Do you pick therapists attached to an overall institution, like a health center, or the ones independently practicing? Some don’t even have websites, which in 2020 is a red flag to me. How do you know which is a good fit? Granted, most seem to offer a free consultation to see just that, but that’s a lot of effort. I know that sounds weird to bemoan: effort, but when you’re in a headspace requiring a therapist, effort takes a lot out of you!
- Do you go with in-person (or uh, in-Zoom) therapists or are the apps, like Better Help and Talkspace? Are those reliable and/or cheaper? I’ve sampled both of those apps, but I believe it’s Better Help that doesn’t take insurance, and Talkspace was quite expensive, and again, when you see X person has only been practicing for a few years … That discourages me, too, because I want someone with a lot of experience. In addition to that, I’m obviously trying to find one that particularly specializes in depression/anxiety issues. There are those who don’t seem to specialize in that and others who seem to be a smörgåsbord therapist specializing in everything. Where to start?
- Do you pay with insurance or privately? That seems like an odd question. If you have health insurance, as I do, isn’t it obvious to pay with health insurance? Well, one thing I noticed in digging through this is that a lot of the therapists try to get you to pay privately. They argue, even if you have insurance, you get more autonomy by paying privately. That if you pay with insurance, the insurance folks have a lot of control over how it all works. I don’t know how true any of that is or how it compares. But as at least one example, therapy would’ve been $40 per week with health insurance. I don’t know about you all, but I can’t afford $160 a month! That’s a lot. I get it. These folks are specially trained, licensed professionals, who hopefully would help me, but whew, it’s expensive. On top of all of that, if I were to use health insurance to lessen the load, if that’s wise to do, I’m not sure I even want to keep my health insurance because I’m paying quite a bit a month for it. So, that also factors into all of my contemplation.
I should also note related to that last point that all of my searching has filtered, literally, through my health insurer. They have such a filter on their website so I know who is “in network.”
One of my issues is that I have social anxiety, and that only adds to the difficulty in searching for a good therapist because, as mentioned, some don’t have websites and emails, so the only option is to call, which means I’ll procrastinate and not do it.
Comparative games are asinine, but it’s also hard not fall into those. I’ve heard directly from people who took the plunge into therapy and typically on their first try, found a good pairing. It’s hard not to get envious of that. They did it and it worked out. Or the overall point that I know therapy can work, but it seems so out of reach.
Maybe this is my bias for all the aforementioned reasons in thinking therapy is difficult to access, but is it just me or is therapy difficult to access?! Mental health issues are replete with stigma, shame and silent suffering therein, and the lifeline that exists out there (therapy) seems so out of reach. That’s a weird juxtaposition to my brain. Am I just going about it the wrong way? Has my research sucked? Have I gotten demoralized in the little toe-dipping I have done, and don’t realize it is accessible in a different way? I don’t know.
These are my disjointed musings on what is now the third time I’ve tried in earnest (at least I like to think so!) to seek out a therapist. First, I get demoralized by the search at all. How do I find the right one? And then I get demoralized by the pricing. It’s like working the dating apps, except it also costs $99,945. I’m exaggerating for the joke’s effect, but not by much!
I’m open to any advice and suggestions.