Talk To Your Faith Leader
If you belong to a religious organization, ask your faith leader if he or she has recommendations. Some have many community connections, including therapists, because people often consult them when facing difficulties.
Know that the information offered by religious leaders may be limited because their primary function is not to connect people to resources. Also, names you receive might be fellow members of your religious organization. Consider whether youd be comfortable seeing someone from your church, synagogue, temple, or mosque. You might like talking with a professional of the same faith and receiving christian or faith-based counseling however, you might not be comfortable talking about personal matters with someone you see regularly in this context.
Know What You Want From Therapy
Understanding your reasons for wanting to work with a therapist will help you narrow down your search. Therapists frequently specialize in certain problems like anxiety or depression, and often they have a unique approach to therapy. Knowing what you wanteven if you have no idea how to get there can help you choose the right therapist.
You dont have to have any answers, but asking yourself some questions can help you determine which therapists to consider.
Here are some questions to consider before you start therapy:5
- What issues are you currently experiencing, and how are they affecting you? Are you overwhelmed? Do you feel helpless? Sad? Worried? Fearful? Angry? Regretful? Stuck?
- What aspects of your daily life are the most difficult?
- Do you have behaviors that are getting in your way or interfering in your relationships?
- What do you want your life to be like when these problems are resolved or are lessened?
Getting Help For Depression: How To Find The Right Therapist
If youre one of the millions of Americans struggling with depression, its likely youve felt overwhelmed at the thought of finding the right therapist for you.
Youre probably asking yourself questions like:
What if we dont connect?
Will I have to go through several therapists before I find the right one for me?
Do I want to confide in a complete stranger about my depression?
How can I trust someone with my mental health issues?
What if they want me to take an antidepressant?
Are there side effects to antidepressants?
What is everyone going to think if they find out Im getting help for depression?
How long is it going to take before I start feeling better?
But in addition to the wonderful world wide web, consider locating a therapist near you by consulting:
- Your general practitioner
- Friends and family you trust
- Your insurance provider
Once you get the names of a few local practitioners who offer depression therapy, you may want to narrow down that list a little further to find someone who focuses on your particular needs.
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How To Find Help
Depression is treatable with professional care, though success rates and length of treatment will vary depending on the severity of the depression. Understanding available treatments and how to find help make the process less overwhelming. To learn more, read How to Find Affordable Therapy. In What to Expect in a First Therapy Session youll find short videos, too.
Use An Online Therapist Directory
An online therapist directory can help you find a therapist in your area. After answering a few simple questions to help narrow your search, you have the option to search for a therapist by credentials or specialty, or you can let experts help you select a therapist. Watch videos to learn more about a therapist and glimpse their personality and interaction style, and when you find one youd like to work with, you can even schedule your first appointment.
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Ask Someone You Trust
A referral from a friend, colleague, or doctor you trust is another way to find a therapist who might be a good fit for you.
While a referral is a good place to start, its important to recognize that you may have different needs and goals with your therapy than the person giving you the recommendation.
So, a good match for one of you might not be as beneficial to the other.
Where To Find A Therapist
There are several ways you can find therapists in your area, but if you want to be sure that they specialize in depression treatment, you should contact local mental health agencies or community centersthey often keep lists of therapists who treat specific conditions such as depression. You can also find therapists through your doctor, family members or friends.
For more information about depression, check out our other blog posts.
Choosing the right therapist for your depression can help you get the best treatment. Therapists are trained to work with people who have mental illnesses such as depression. There is no one-size-fits all therapy that works for everyone, so its important to find someone who fits what you need and has experience treating this type of condition. If you have a therapist that specializes in depression therapy, make sure they communicate openly with you about what the therapy entails and see if they share similar goals.
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Join The Thousands Of People Who Are Already Making Progress
With so much going on this past yearthe pandemic, Black Lives Matter, wild fires, my break-upI found a therapist I really like. She understands me and has taught me how to see things from a different perspective. Im making progress. I forgot it was possible to feel so stable and good most of the time.
She made me feel seen. I felt free to let it all out. I didnt feel like I had to put on any kind of a mask for her. I felt like I was talking to a friend and it was clear she cared about me. I started enjoying life again and stopped being so discouraged by my own thoughts.
Teladoc sessions were amazing and helped structure my perspective on life in a healthy and productive way. I was able to find tactics to help find relief and positive relationship-management skills. I feel much better after my visits.
What Are The Symptoms Of Depression
Depression can be an insidious condition that looks and feels different for everybody. It may present as feelings of hopelessness for one person and irritability or overwhelming fatigue for someone else. If you experience at least five of the following signs of depression for most of the day, nearly every day, for at least two weeks, your physician or therapist might diagnose you with some form of depression:
- Feeling hopeless, pessimistic, sad, or empty
- Feeling worthless or guilty
- Unexplained physical aches, pains, or digestive issues
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Depression Therapy: Preparing For Your First Appointment
It’s not always easy to open up about your personal issues with someone.. So be prepared. Before you first see your doctor or therapist, think about what you’d like to talk about. Consider your goals. Go in with information and questions.
Here are four key ways to prepare.
1. Write down questions.
Come up with some specific things you want to ask. Don’t assume that your doctor will tell you everything you need to know.
For instance, you might ask your doctor:
- Do I need medicine for my depression?
- What kind of medicine will you prescribe?
- What are the side effects and risks?
- How often do I need to take it?
- How quickly will it work?
- Will any of my other medications, herbs, or supplements interact with this medicine?
You could ask your therapist:
- What kind of approach do you use? What will our goals be?
- What will you expect of me? Will you give me specific assignments to do between sessions?
- How often will we meet?
- How do we decide whether therapy will be short-term or long-term?
How much does each session cost, and what is your policy for cancellations or missed appointments?
2. Keep a log or journal.
Keeping track of your mood changes in a diary can be helpful to you, your doctor, and your psychologist or therapist. Just jot down a few lines each day. In each entry, include:
- How you’re feeling that day
- Your current symptoms
- Any events that might have affected your mood
- How much sleep you got the night before
- The exact doses of any medicines you took
What Is The Need For A Depression Therapist
A depression therapist is a mental health professional who can help you identify everyday stressors that worsen your depression and understand your thoughts, perceptions, and feelings. They teach you different and effective ways to challenge these negative thoughts and preconceptions and keep your depression from getting worse. They also encourage you to make healthy and fulfilling connections with family and friends who will provide the love and support you need to combat depression.
Other than the above strategies, your depression therapist slowly and steadily helps you build healthy habits such as healthy sleeping and eating patterns that help you improve your overall social functioning and satisfaction with life. As the individual progresses and shows improvement, your therapist may invite family members to your therapy sessions. They educate your family about depression and how to identify early symptoms of depression. If the severity of your condition is high, your therapist may recommend you to see a psychiatrist, who may prescribe medications to help you combat depression along with therapy sessions. A combination of both treatments may show faster improvement in the signs and symptoms of depression than either one on its own.
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Help For A Family Member Or Friend
Sometimes, a friend or family member who is going through a hard time simply needs someone like you to ask questions and listen closely to what he or she is experiencing. Other times, it is important to encourage loved ones to seek professional treatment, especially if their behavior compromises their ability to care for themselves on a day-to-day basis. In such cases, it can be difficult to know how to initiate a conversation and what to say. A simple expression of concern for the persons well-being may be sufficient to break through the silence, but rarely is one heartfelt conversation enough for a full recovery. Often, therapeutic intervention is needed.
Once your friend or family member decides to seek mental health treatment, you may need to help him or her to schedule an appointment with a licensed mental health professional, and possibly even accompany him or her to the first session. As he or she moves through the healing process, you might find it helpful to have conversations about how you can best offer support. Is it helpful for you to remain in close contact? Or does he or she need some space during treatment? Often one of the most supportive things you can do for someone is to remain nonjudgmental as they go through the healing process. Also, remember to look after your own needs when you are supporting someone else.
Questions answered by therapists from Dear GoodTherapy:
Explore Digital Directories And Virtual Options
Many people start searching for a provider by scrolling through their insurance companys list of providers, then cross-referencing those against another database like Psychology Today to learn more about each practitioner.
The insurance companys list may not be up to date, however, and some providers may not respond to your queries because they are already full.
It may be more efficient in some cases to look at free online directories where you can filter results by who is currently taking new clients. Options include Alma, ZocDoc, Monarch and Headway.
Companies like BetterHelp, 7 Cups of Tea and Talkspace offer online therapy and messaging with a licensed practitioner for a weekly or monthly membership fee.
And if youre specifically looking for a provider of color, a variety of websites have popped up in recent years to help make those connections, including Therapy for Black Girls, LatinxTherapy and the National Queer and Trans Therapists of Color Network.
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Does Therapy Help In Ways That Medication Does Not
Many studies have evaluate the effects of psychotherapy vs. medications. Medication for depression may relieve symptoms more quickly than therapy, but the symptom relief lasts only as long as medication is taken. Therapy has enduring effects it not only relieves symptoms of a current episode of depression but reduces the risk of future episodes. Studies show that both types of treatment change the way the brain functions. Therapy gives people insight into how their own patterns of reactions to negative experience set off a downward spiral of thinking that lead to depression. It also fosters the development of coping skills that interrupt the chain of reactivity. Further, therapy restores a sense of control, something no medication can deliver. Perhaps most important, the bond that develops between patient and therapist becomes an instrument of support and recovery.
As Long As You Continue To Progress In Therapy Its An Option
Some people continue to go to therapy on an ongoing basis. Thats okay, especially if you dont have other people to turn to for support in your life. Ideally, your therapist will be able to help you develop outside sources of support, but thats not always possible. If therapy meets an important need in your life and the expense is not an issue, continuing indefinitely is a legitimate choice.
Signs that you may need to change therapists
- You dont feel comfortable talking about something.
- Your therapist is dismissive of your problems or concerns.
- Your therapist seems to have a personal agenda.
- Your therapist does more talking than listening.
- Your therapist tells you what to do and how to live your life.
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Logistics Are A Factor
Its an unfortunate reality, but logistics matter. If you have a specific budget or schedule that you have to work within, then some counselors will likely be ruled out. Pricing, location, and appointment times all vary by location. If you find a counselor you love, but you cant afford the hourly rate and youre frequently canceling because theyre a 45-minute drive from your office then maybe its not your best option. A great counselor is 100% worth making sacrifices for, but if its not actually feasible you may have to reconsider.
Check Your Employee Benefits
Arniece Stevenson, 34, a graduate student in Philadelphia who works for the Girl Scouts, used her Employee Assistance Program, or E.A.P., to locate a therapist faster than she ever expected.
An E.A.P. is a free intervention program that can help employees resolve personal problems by connecting them with the right resources, and may also provide a small number of free therapy sessions.
E.A.P.s are billed as confidential, but some employees feel wary of contacting them because of privacy concerns. Ms. Stevenson was hesitant, but she finally reached out one evening around midnight. I just had to muster up the courage, she said.
The person she spoke with said someone would be calling her back soon. The following day she heard from a therapist who could begin seeing her right away.
I was shocked I was like, Wait, already? she said.
The therapist she sees is white, and Ms. Stevenson, who is Black, said she would have preferred a provider who was African American. But the two of them happened to click, Ms. Stevenson added.
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Types Of Therapists And Counselors
The following types of mental health professionals have advanced training in therapy and are certified by their respective boards. Many professional organizations provide online searches for qualified professionals. You may also want to double check with your state regulatory board to make sure the therapists license is up to date and there are no ethical violations listed.
However, keep in mind that lay counselorsmembers of the clergy, life coaches, etc.may also be able to provide you with a supportive, listening ear. Its not always the credentials that determine the quality of the therapy.
Common types of mental health professionals:
Psychologist. Psychologists have a doctoral degree in psychology and are licensed in clinical psychology.
Social worker. Licensed Clinical Social Workers have a Masters degree in social work along with additional clinical training.
Marriage and Family Therapists have a Masters degree and clinical experience in marriage and family therapy.
Psychiatrist. A psychiatrist is a physician who specialized in mental health. Because they are medical doctors, psychiatrists can prescribe medication.
How Therapy And Counseling Can Help
Therapy can be an effective treatment for a host of mental and emotional problems. Simply talking about your thoughts and feelings with a supportive person can often make you feel better. It can be very healing, in and of itself, to voice your worries or talk about something thats weighing on your mind. And it feels good to be listened toto know that someone else cares about you and wants to help.
While it can be very helpful to talk about your problems to close friends and family members, sometimes you need help that the people around you arent able to provide. When you need extra support, an outside perspective, or some expert guidance, talking to a therapist or counselor can help. While the support of friends and family is important, therapy is different. Therapists are professionally-trained listeners who can help you get to the root of your problems, overcome emotional challenges, and make positive changes in your life.
You dont have to be diagnosed with a mental health problem to benefit from therapy. Many people in therapy seek help for everyday concerns: relationship problems, job stress, or self-doubt, for example. Others turn to therapy during difficult times, such as a divorce. But in order to reap its benefits, its important to choose the right therapistsomeone you trust who makes you feel cared for and has the experience to help you make changes for the better in your life. A good therapist helps you become stronger and more self-aware.
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