How to Find the Best Therapist For You in NYC
Posted on Nov 28, 2018 by Pragmatic Guidesin
At some point throughout our lives, there comes a time when each of us may feel overwhelmed, struggle with anxiety, depression, panic attacks, or other mental health related conditions and can, thus, benefit from therapy. It can be challenging to determine when and how to seek help from a mental health professional and specifically, how to find the best therapist for you.
When to consider mental health treatment in NYC?
It is important to begin recognizing initial signs of worsening mental health, such as feeling persistently down or hopeless, struggling to stop or control worrying, having little interest in doing things you usually enjoy or becoming quickly irritable. While not an exhaustive list, experiencing one or more of these warning signs may indicate it is time to consider therapy.
When you open up to someone you trust and work through mental health concerns like anxiety and depression, together with your therapist you can begin to bring to the surface and unravel negative thoughts and feelings that may have otherwise been internalized. For many people therapy is a form of self-care and a process of personal growth, building self-awareness, and bolstering of coping strategies.
In today’s world, we are constantly inundated with the pressures of social media and troubling current events and news. Over time, exposure to distressing information can chip away at our resiliency, coping skills, and ability to focus and concentrate on important work and life goals. Seeing a therapist is no longer a luxury, but a necessity for many to address depression or anxiety. This is further complicated by the fact that unfortunately, it is often those who could benefit most from therapy who do not have access or means to do so. As a side, this point should not be oversimplified and is too important and extensive to cover in a single post.
When it feels like life stressors are outweighing your reservoir of coping skills, or when negative thoughts and feelings persist and problems do not seem to improve despite your efforts, including seeking support from friends and family, it is likely time to start therapy and treat your anxiety, depression, or other mental health challenges. Taking an active role in improving your emotional well-being allows you to get ahead of your mental health concerns and learn new ways to cope with and manage stress in the future.
How to find the best therapist in NYC?
So you’ve decided it’s time to find a therapist. Now what? Ask your physician or another trusted specialist for medical advice and referrals. You can also ask friends and family who have been or are currently in therapy in NYC what they like about their therapist and if their therapist can provide a referral list. Even if their therapist practices in a different state, most therapists have a wide network of colleagues and they might be able to connect you with someone in your area.
Nowadays we can shop for just about anything online, including therapists. Google and other search engines allow you to browse through the websites and profiles of nearby mental health professionals. You can glean a lot from a summary about a mental health provider’s treatment approach and process. Pictures can also be helpful. Follow your intuition: do they seem warm and approachable? Can you imagine yourself sitting across from them? Most importantly, do your homework and ensure they have good online reviews, are a licensed professional in the state they are practicing, and that they specialize in or have experience with your presenting concerns. The American Psychological Association offers a Psychologist Locator that makes it easy to search for practicing clinical psychologists by location and specialty.
When searching for a therapist for the first time online, it can be helpful to select a group practice. In NYC, you can find a therapist on nearly every block and most provide high-quality care. Though there are many excellent and competent therapists in independent solo private practice, group private practices can offer added assurance, as the therapists have been screened and endorsed by the colleagues with whom they work. Additionally, group practices are naturally embedded with scholarly engagement and exchange of new ideas and research, which allows therapists to develop a more accurate diagnosis and treatment plans based on collaboration and fresh insights.
It is important to keep in mind that when it comes to finding the best therapist for you, convenient and/or cheapest do not always equal good and competent.
Therapy, especially in NYC, can be expensive, and most therapists are out-of-network. Engaging in the therapy process is an investment in your future self and your well-being. At the same time, it is important to consider what you can reasonably afford or if there are areas of your life in which you might be able to cut down on expenses, like eating out or shopping. If paying out of pocket is not feasible, consider local training institutes or sliding scale fee treatment centers.
When choosing a particular therapist, remember that fit and relationship are critical to whether or not you make progress. Research has consistently shown a strong correlation between the quality of the therapeutic relationship and treatment outcome. Additionally, some studies have also found that certain therapists are better at establishing and maintaining meaningful relationships with clients than others.
These findings indicate that treatment outcome has less to do with therapist gender or theoretical orientation (e.g., Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Psychodynamic, Behavioral Therapy, etc.) and more to do with a therapist’s abilities to collaborate, empathize, and stay attuned to nuances and interactions within the therapist-client relationship.
Therapy Group of NYC has streamlined the process of initiating an appointment with the use of our online scheduling system that provides secure and personalized access.
Once You’ve Made an Initial Therapy Appointment
An initial therapy session is vastly different from an interview or any other interpersonal interaction. It can be incredibly relieving to talk about some of your challenges and why you are seeking treatment now. It is also important to discuss treatment goals and what you hope to achieve in therapy. Check in with yourself after the first session and consider whether you feel this particular therapist can help you. Typically it takes 2-3 sessions to have a good sense of fit, but in general, you should leave your first session feeling heard and that the therapist created a safe and supportive space without judgment, curious about questions and topics that came up, and maybe a bit lighter and freer than when you walked in. Hopefully, you will also leave with a better idea of the therapist’s style and whether it will suit your needs.
However, if you feel strongly that it isn’t a good fit, then you don’t need to return. It’s normal and okay to feel unsure and it’s important to reflect on and sift through your initial experience to determine whether it has more to do with fit or if you’re generally feeling anxious about being in therapy. In any case, it is best to be honest with the therapist and, if you decide they aren’t a good match, tell them how you’re feeling and what you’re looking for in a therapist. They might be able to offer some referrals who are more closely aligned with your needs.
We understand that it can be challenging to find the best therapist for you and sometimes anxiety-provoking to make an initial appointment and begin the process. Contact us or request an appointment on our website with one of our caring clinical psychologists and let us know how we can be of help.