Wednesdays every week at 2 pm, Mimi and I have a talk! Mimi is not my bestie, but she is my therapist. As an African-american woman, I honestly can think of no one from childhood and even adulthood until recently. Luckily, I realized many years ago that the trauma I experienced was going to need more than praying and fasting, and required a therapist. The reason why I love my therapists is I can talk to her without judgment and free worrying about what we discuss will not get back to the person I am talking about. It is a safe and confidential zone where I have been able to really face and heal from a lot of trauma I have experienced.
If you need a therapists, then here is what you need to consider before choosing one:
1. Does your insurance cover therapy? Like any other medical cost, therapy can be expensive, so before you go out and find a therapist, check to see if you can use your health insurance. I would recommend finding a therapist in your health coverage network. Do your research to keep the cost down or eliminate them all together, so this does not prevent you from seeking help.
2. Do you qualify for a free therapist? Also, depending on what the trauma/therapy need is, there are many free programs. For example, as an active duty military, I qualify for free therapy for myself and my children through a program called Give an Hour. Another example is when a family member was battling cancer, her children were able to receive free therapy they give to caretakers of cancer patients.
3. When conducting your search here are some key factors to ask:
Are they in my insurance network? Again, do not let cost be a reason why you do not seek help.
Where are they located? When I was going in person, location was important because I knew it was not realistic to keep appointments if I had to travel far.
What are their specialties? Find a therapist that specializes in your need for therapy. For example, I searched for a therapist that addressed divorce and domestic violence trauma, but typically mine can still help with other issues I have.
Do I prefer a certain demographic? As an African-American woman, I prefer a fellow African-american woman because I feel more comfortable and have to do less explaining of my culture's idiosyncrasies.
Do they offer virtual and/or in person? Nowadays many therapists are doing virtual therapy due to COVID, and insurance is covering the costs. I currently do virtual do to COVID, but prefer it in person.
Are they taking new patients? On the intake interview really be in tune with how you feel when talking with them. You want to feel very comfortable. MiMi, my therapist, now feels like my older Auntie and I feel very safe and comfortable with her.
I have had a lot of stuff in my lifetime, so I have seen a therapist weekly for almost three years, but that does not necessarily mean that is your story. Your therapy frequency is up to you and your therapists, so be flexible. Also, let go of the shame of needing therapy and actually be proud that you are taking care of yourself for your Mental Health Matters!