Here are some key things to look at when you are ready to connect with a therapist:
Check your insurance coverage.
At Thrive, we offer services covered under Registered Psychotherapy. Registered Psychotherapists are Masters Degree levelled therapists who have extensive experience working within their specialties. In addition to their Masters degrees, Psychotherapists usually complete additional post graduate programs and certifications linked to whatever they wish to concentrate their practice on.
If you have insurance coverage, it’s a good idea to find out which services and the amount of sessions your insurance plan covers and whether or not your plan limits the amount of coverage per session. Coverage for a Registered Psychotherapist is easily mistaken for a Psychologist, the difference being Psychologists have a Ph.D level education and are therefore Doctors who are qualified to provide a wide range of psychological assessments and to provide diagnoses. If it is medications that you are interested in, you will want to find a practitioner (i.e family doctor) or a Psychiatrist who can prescribe medications. This is important to differentiate since Psychotherapists are not qualified to provide such services but will gladly provide you references for those who can and often psychotherapy is used in conjunction with psychological or psychiatric care.
Ask someone you trust.
When looking for a therapist, a referral from a person or an organization that you deem trustworthy is a great way to start your search. It is important to keep in mind that your needs and goals for therapy will be unique to you and what may be a good match for someone else may not be right for you, but it may get you started. You can begin with your family doctor or, if you see other regulated health care professionals, like our team here at Thrive, you can speak to any of them about psychotherapy services and any questions you may have in terms of the therapists they are connected to. They may have great suggestions and often you can access short consultations to assess if a therapist is the right fit for you. Know that wherever you start is a good place, and although you may need to meet with more than one therapist to find the right fit, starting is the most important part.
Think about your goals ahead of time.
What would you wish to accomplish in Therapy? Getting in touch with the answer to this question can really help you narrow down your search and get a better feel on whether a particular therapists’ biography/profile speaks to you. Your goals may change as you work with your therapist and as your needs evolve and change direction.
At Thrive, we offer free 15-min phone consultations where you have a chance to ask our psychotherapists about their experience and how this can relate to your goals for therapy. Determining this fit between the two of you can be very helpful in your therapeutic search.
Consider online therapy if your time is limited.
Many people find online therapy to be more convenient in terms of accessibility and shorter wait times. Commonly raised concerns for online therapy surround worries about it being less intimate and there being a lack of connection between client and therapist but in the last two years of predominantly online therapy, many have come to appreciate and realize the power of a digital platform and how connection and rapport building between client and therapist has not been affected. This finding is supported by current research and online testimonials demonstrating online therapy in being just as effective as in-person treatment, in addition to allowing many more people to access mental healthcare than ever before.
Ask questions about the things that matter to you.
When you meet your therapist at your first session (or speak to them during your phone consultation), it’s common to forget all the things you were meaning to ask. Write these down prior to meeting and jot down questions as they come to you. Common questions to ask can be:
Are you a Registered Psychotherapist in Ontario?
How many years have you been in practice?
How much experience do you have working with [the issue you would like to work on]?
What do you consider to be your specialty or area of expertise?
What kinds of treatments have you found successful in resolving [the issue you would like resolved]?
Will I need to pay you directly and then seek reimbursement, or do you bill the insurance company?
If I need medication can you prescribe it? If not, what do I do?
How soon can I expect to feel better?
What do we do if our treatment plan isn’t working?
Pay close attention to your own responses.
No matter how many professional accreditations your therapist has, your own feelings of trust and comfort must be of utmost importance. Will therapy be uncomfortable sometimes? Possibly, as you will likely be discussing some difficult and personal topics. But this discomfort will subside, as well as come and go, throughout the whole process. But if you feel uncomfortable with your therapist for any other reason, it’s ok to look for someone else. You do not need more of a reason to switch therapists; feeling uncomfortable is enough.
Here are a few things to notice as you talk with your therapist:
Does your therapist respect your time by being prompt to appointments?
Does the therapist interrupt you, or do they listen carefully to what you’re saying?
How does your body feel during a session? Do you feel tense? And if so, do you feel safe enough to speak about this with your therapist?
Does the therapist brush off or invalidate your concerns?
Do you feel seen, heard, and respected during your session?
Ultimately just getting started with therapy as a tool for your mental wellness is a great step. Ideally you find the right therapist for you from the start, but if not, keep going with the process. Talk to your therapist about your concerns, often this is a part of the process too.
At Thrive we have 3 Registered Psychotherapists who each have their own areas of expertise. Feel free to connect with any of them to discuss your goals for therapy, and see if you can find a fit for you.
Adriana Komorniczak, MCP, RP