Choosing Behavioral Health Care
If you think that you or someone you care for may benefit from psychotherapy or another form of behavioral health treatment, the best place to start is with your primary care provider. Discuss your symptoms with them and ask them if it would be best for you to pursue care from a specialized psychiatry or therapy provider. They usually will have a list of organizations they partner with for in-person care, but you can always discus online care options with telehealth providers, like Inpathy.
You can also schedule a session with a behavioral health provider directly through a number of online resources and tools. Websites like ZocDoc.com and Healthgrades.com both have extensive databases and profiles of providers across the United States. Many insurance companies have databases of physicians who take their insurance, along with short profiles. You can also meet with a psychiatry or therapy provider directly from home using online video calls, which may be a good option if finding time to schedule an appointment is usually a daunting and stressful process. You can read more about the telehealth option InSight offers here.
Spend time with these resources reading through profiles and considering what you’re looking for in a provider. Perhaps there’s a specialty you’d like to look into like child and adolescent or addiction psychiatry? Maybe you’re interested in learning more about a type of therapy, like cognitive behavioral therapy, and you’d like to find a provider who specializes in it. Check out the Types of Providers page for more information on the different kinds of behavioral health providers.
Whatever source you choose to find a provider, you should meet in person with at least two or three providers before deciding on who you’d like to see regularly. Make it clear with each provider initially that you are identifying options and that this is an early stage in your journey. Meeting with multiple providers will give you a chance to compare what you do and do not like about each, allowing you to make a more informed choice overall.
Ask questions. When meeting with a new provider, ask them questions about their practice and specialties. Here are a few sample questions to ask:
- How long have they been in practice?
- How much experience do they have with clients like you? With your specific issues?
- What kind of training did they receive?
- What kind of approach to treatment do they prefer?
The Bottom Line:
Above all else, you are a consumer of services in this matter. Do not be intimidated by the idea of seeking professional help, or think that because these are specialists, they are infallible. Providers are human beings too, and some will be a better fit for you than others.