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I Asked My Therapist How To Find A Therapist

The number one question I get asked is “How do I find a good therapist?” and I’m ashamed to say, I have no idea. I wanted an answer, so who better to ask than my own therapist? She found/was assigned to me while I was being held in a psych ward (not ideal). She’ll have an answer.

Below is a transcript from a conversation with my therapist:

Amanda: Let’s say I’m someone who’s decided they need help, that they need to see a therapist. How do I go about finding a good therapist?

Therapist: Asking friends for recommendations is the best place to start.

Amanda: Yeah, but asking friends about therapy can be daunting, what with the stigma and all that.

Therapist: You want to find someone who you can be as honest as possible with.

Amanda: What if you can’t bring yourself to talk to anyone about it? I couldn’t talk about it for years and look how I turned out!

Therapist: Yeah.

Amanda: Not great.

Therapist: Yeah.

Amanda: Also, what if you don’t have any friends in therapy? What if you do, but they never talk about it?!

Therapist: Word of mouth is the best way to find a good therapist.

Amanda: Yeah but not many people are mouthing those words, you know?

Therapist: …

Amanda: It’s just not a thing people talk about a lot. Therapy isn’t an underrated documentary series. People aren’t going to dinner parties like “Seen any good therapists lately?” or “I saw a therapist the other day who you’d loooove” or “You know which therapist you HAVE to see”.

Therapist: A lot of people have to pick their therapists based on their insurance.

Amanda: Ok, that sucks. What if you don’t have insurance? What if you can’t afford a therapist?

Therapist: Then you can contact a community health center.

Amanda: What about online? I searched “how to find a good therapist” and it was just a bunch of Psychology Today links and sketchy looking ads. It’s nearly as stressful as asking friends. I just want a legit therapist! Why is this so hard?

Therapist: Amanda, it’s just not that easy. I wish I had a better answer.

Amanda: I thought you’d have THE answer, then I’d share it with the world, and we’d solve the mental health issue once and for all!

Therapist: Did you take your lithium today?

Amanda: Not yet.

Therapist: Please take it soon.

Amanda: I dunno, I just wish there were a better way. I have no solutions. It’s just…ughhh.

Therapist: Sometimes, to get started, all you need is someone who you trust, and all you need to do is talk, and all they need to do is listen. Doesn’t need to be a mental health professional. Just someone who will let you talk.

Amanda: Yeah. It’s just that people who are suffering (or feel like they may be suffering) from some kind of mental illness. They have a lot to deal with already without the whole ask your friends/ask your insurance/ask your dentist/ask a pigeon/ask yourself what is this bullshit? This is bullshit that there’s not a better way.

Therapist: I know.

Amanda: I guess I’ll just talk about it even more, so people don’t feel too uncomfortable about it.

Therapist: That’s a good plan.

Amanda: Last question.

Therapist: Sure.

Amanda: What’s it gonna take to get you to cry?

Therapist: Amanda.

Amanda: YES FINE I’LL TAKE MY LITHIUM. See you on Friday.