Making the decision to reach out to a mental health counselor, while not always easy, can be critical to getting the help you need. Many times, we are limited to who we can see based on our insurance and it can be difficult to choose who might be right for you. Here are some considerations when choosing a mental health counselor.
When meeting with a MHC, it is important that you feel rapport or some level of comfort with them. If you feel like there is no connection, it may be difficult to talk about issues and move forward with therapy. This may not be evident until after a few sessions. If you feel like there is no way to establish a trusting working relationship with the practitioner, you may need to find someone else.
Additionally, it may be helpful to know the MHC’s practices and what you prefer. For example, are they more directive in therapy, deciding what to work on in a session and perhaps giving homework or techniques to work on? Or will they let you lead in session, deciding where to go and what to focus on? Knowing how the MHC practices and what you are looking for can help you choose a practitioner. If you are not sure, it is worth exploring in session(s) to find out what works for you.
Advocate for yourself throughout the process. Ask MHC’s about how they practice, what their policies are for rescheduling, cancelling, payment, etc. Another consideration in today’s world is telehealth —so ask what software they are using to protect your privacy and information. Also, if you are not happy, look for someone else. Personally, I have done this a few times, knowing that the therapist assigned by my insurance company was not a good fit. It takes some legwork, but it is worth it to find someone that you gel with.
Lastly, do not forget about the confidential health resources available from Military OneSource. Through the call center, they can connect you with non-medical counseling, specialty consultants and other resources available to help you and your family.