Finding the right therapist can be daunting and unfortunately take some time and effort. It’s best to get started right away so there’s support in place when you need it. Assuming you have mental health coverage, here’s a guideline that may help:
- Check out these recommended KAD therapists and adoption therapists.
- Ask the KADs you know for personal referrals, or utilize one of the many KAD Facebook groups. Cross-reference the list you create with your healthcare provider list.
- Try online tools such as the Psychology Today Therapist Finder. You can narrow your search by area, insurance provider, gender, focus, and more. Your insurance provider may have its own searchable tool.
- Think carefully about whether or not you’ll feel more comfortable speaking intimately with a certain gender. Be honest with yourself and narrow down your list accordingly. Better to do this now before getting started.
- You’ll want a therapist who’s familiar with adoption and trauma, but are there other issues coming into play? If you have a history of substance abuse, crime, or sexual abuse, look for a therapist who has experience in those areas, too.
- Ask yourself which type of therapy might suit you best. Do you just need someone to listen to help you begin to understand the source of your pain? Or are you already aware of what you need to work on, and more interested in cognitive behavioral therapy? Have you heard wonderful things about EMDR for trauma? Familiarize yourself with these forms of treatment if you can, and find someone who practices your preferred method.
- Now that you’ve created and pared down your list, it’s time to make some phone calls. Emails are good for basic questions that might not be answered on their site–such as health insurance and whether they’re accepting new patients. But in order to get a feel for someone, you need to speak with them. Be aware of what their voice makes you feel. Ask them questions, including whether they’ve been in therapy themselves. (Hint: You want that answer to be yes.) What kind of license do they have? Have they successfully treated others like you?
- The first session will likely only cover filling out forms and getting a feel for one another. Pay attention to how you feel in their presence. They’ll likely ask you at the end if you want to schedule another appointment. If you can’t be honest in the moment because it feels uncomfortable, call or email later. If you know from the beginning that you’re not comfortable, you likely won’t make much progress. You should know by the third session whether it’s a good fit. If not, start searching for another immediately so not to lose steam. It’s a bummer to start over again, but hopefully you can cull from the list you’ve already created.
- Read articles with suggestions like this from the New York Times.
Do you not have mental health coverage or any health insurance at all? If so, many areas have community mental health centers or clinics for therapists in training who will take your care very seriously. They will have regular access to licensed therapists to consult with if things get out of their realm. You can seek out sliding scale therapy or check with local churches.
Visit or dial 211 to find crisis resources available in your area.
If you do have health insurance but it doesn’t cover mental health, try to make use of what it does cover. Acupuncture is now covered by more insurers and can be a great emotional and body healer.
TO BE ADDED:
Tips on how to seek help abroad.
Links to immigration lawyers for those deported or in fear of deportation.