GOING TO THERAPY PART 1: WHERE TO START
Therapy is one of my favorite non-food topics because it completely transformed my life; how I think, how I speak, & how I act. It's a total work in progress (foreverrrrr), but that's now a beautiful, fun, & interesting thing to me. I talk about therapy a lot on insta and field a lot of questions on finding a therapist and I also wanted to tell you, from my very non-expert experience as a patient, what it's like and what you should expect if you're considering starting. So this is a 3 part series: Finding & starting, What happens in a session, and my own experience with medication (antidepressants and anti anxiety). Hope it helps!
Here's the background: I starting going to a therapist in high school when my parents split up but I didn't take it seriously. I didnt particularly connect with the therapist and also wanted to be pretty much anywhere else but that room. Hi confused little 16 year old boy crazy self, I want to give you a hug right now!
Then when I was 25, I went through a big break up, and about a year later was still very unhappy - not only about the guy, just about life in general. I lived with my sister at the time who had started therapy and was finding it so insightful. She told me I may actually be depressed, which felt like a relief, and nudged (ok gently shoved) me to start going. It was important to note that it wasnt a catastrophic event that landed me in a therapy chair (those came later), and i'm super grateful for that. I lucked out and Liz's therapist was able to refer me to mine through her network. Many great therapists will not see your friends or family members (thank god!) so they can be as unbiased with their thoughts as possible.
Liz found her doctor through NYU Psychoanalytic Institute, which is a great resource. You fill out an application and speak to someone who helps place you with a therapist who is likely to fit.
The type of therapy we do is called psychotherapy, which makes me feel like a real psycho whenever I write that out ;) BUT,what's super cool, is even if you're not sure that talk therapy is for you, there are lots of different types! My best friend Kaylee (info below) is a yoga therapist, which is more movement based- and she's also great at talk therapy too. I also know people who do art therapy (drawing to get feelings out? Yes please), and dance therapy and music therapy and acting-therapy and more spiritually guided therapy too. There is no one way or one style, if traditional talk therapy doesnt feel like it's the right fit right now, think about what sounds interesting to you, and roll with that!
In my opinion, the absolute best way to find a therapist is to ask someone who you like who they go to, and if they can ask for a referral for you.
Mine is an MD, but many of my friends go to and are LCSW (licensed social workers). I am not an expert on licensing but feel free to leave a comment below if you are!
OK the elephant in the room: treatment is fucking expensive. Unfortunately therapy is more often than not a luxury service. Mine is out of pocket although she has lowered the rate for me so I can come more frequently. Probably wasnt so smart that I barely paid taxes one year in order to afford going multiple times a week (paying for that one now oops!!).
Re insurance: It may be helpful to check your out of network benefits because many therapists work with that. Often you can get reimbursed. Below are a few that do accept insurance, plus some great resources, many of whom will offer sliding scale rates based on your financial situation. I've written about many of these in this post on finding your Angel Network.
- Kaylee Rutchik
- Raina Murphy at Guiding Light Psychotherapy
- Jenny Weinstein & Remy Dowd
- NYU Institute for Psychoanalysis (I inadvertently found my amazing therapist through this program).
- The Fifth Avenue Counseling Center (accepts most insurance)
- Psychology Today (You can search by your insurance)
In all seriousness, setting up the initial appointment is the hardest part. Next up... what going to a therapy session is really like.