My same nameless colleague who now takes the bus also wants to go to therapy. However, she has limited experience with therapists and asked if I have any pointers on finding the right one. Of course I do. She said she doesn’t want anyone who will yell at her. Apparently she once had a therapist who reduced her to tears at every session making her pop even more anti-anxiety medication. I’m not surprised, there are a lot of bad therapists out there, especially in NYC where there I a glut of individuals in the “helping professions” who go into the therapy biz trying to work out their own shit. But that’s another post altogether.
We were at her desk yesterday sifting through names that popped up in her area who also take her insurance. (Her insurance, which she pays for – our employer does not cover us.) She was looking at psychiatrists and I asked her if that was because she needs someone to prescribe medication. She answered affirmatively. I suggested she see a psychologist for therapy and a psychiatrist for medication management because, in NYC at least, most psychiatrists really don’t do psychotherapy and those who do often are not very good at it. This has been my experience and that of my collection of friends and family, of course, but that is also a lot of local experience.
So, she took down a few names of psychologists she liked the profile/location of and asked what to do next. “Call them and hopefully you’ll get their voicemail; that is the first step, seeing if you like the sound of them.” I find when I am therapist shopping I can rule out many just by their voice or their message.
My colleague called a few of the named psychologists; it was 5pm on a Friday so of course no therapist in Manhattan was in their office. She said, “I see what you mean, I can tell a lot just from their voices.” She didn’t like any of the ones she called said she would go through some this weekend and asked what she should do if she liked the sound of someone. “Leave a message for them to call you back to discuss the possibility of coming in for a free consultation.”
“Free?” she queried. “Hell yes! You’re not gong to pay a therapist to interview them. And you will know they are a shmuck if they can’t afford 30 minutes to let you do so.” She thought that advice was sound and printed out her list of the 300 PhDs in a .3-mile radius of our office.
Here are some other sources of advice about how to find a good therapist: