What to Consider When Choosing a Provider
Before you can choose a specific provider, you must identify the type of provider you want to see.
After you’ve done that, there are many resources to locate and identify a potential provider. Online resources like ZocDoc.com identify doctors in your area, show the kinds of insurance they take, and allow you to set up appointments through the website. You could also try healthgrades.com, a search tool for providers in specific areas with consumer reviews.
When choosing a provider it’s important to have your goals in mind. Behavioral health providers offer treatment for a range of conditions, but finding someone with a specialty that aligns with your interest may be more suited to your needs. A good rule of thumb is to consider the severity of your symptoms or diagnosis1. If you are seeking a generalized therapeutic environment, perhaps seeking a diagnosis or advice, finding a licensed professional counselor (LPC) or social worker with a private practice may be a good place to start. Social workers and LPCs can offer initial assessments and make suggestions for continued care based on their determination of your needs. Alternatively, if you’re seeking treatment for severe symptoms that interfere with your daily life, it may be better to start with a professional who can prescribe medication or psychological testing.
Your insurance may also play a part in the provider you choose. Your insurance policy may only cover certain types of behavioral health, or may have limits for how many sessions they’ll cover with a specific type of provider. Check with your insurance agent if you are unsure of your coverage.
As you’re searching, it’s important to take note of the provider’s treatment approaches and philosophy. You can find this information through some online profiles as well as providers’ personal websites. If you can’t find the information online, contact the provider through email or phone and ask.
It’s important to find a provider with whose ideologies you feel comfortable. They may or may not align with your own, but finding someone who you feel can understand you is an important step to feeling satisfied with your behavioral health services.