"Get therapy" seems to be a common decree around these parts, but that's usually where the suggestion begins and ends. Okay: but how? Can I get the Baedeker Guide to Seeking Therapy?
Let's say I come to a point in my life where talking myself out of my problems isn't quite cutting it anymore, and I decide I need the help of a mental health professional to un-wedge me (or help me un-wedge myself) from a mental rut. A good first step. Then what do I do?
Assume for the sake of argument there is no clear single hot-button issue or diagnosable problem like depression, anxiety, work trauma, etc., that I'd need a specialist for: let's say I'm just generally interested in receiving help sorting through my problems and developing the tools needed to be successful in taking charge of my life.
- How do I go about choosing a therapist? How do I determine whether I am in need of the services of, or distinguish between, a counselor, career counselor, social worker, psychologist, or psychiatrist? Is it the severity of the issues at hand? Their nature? What I can afford?
- How do I locate a therapist? Do I ask my primary care physician for a suggestion, or do I just whip out the phone book and go from there? If so, how do I determine if the person in question is well-established and well-respected or scammy? Is there such a thing as a "general issue" counselor? Are there therapist referral sources?
- How do you decide on a type of therapy? How is one to know whether she wants psychoanalysis, behavioral therapy, group therapy, CBT, or any other of the vast number of methods and approaches?
- What about seeking out low-cost options? What about determining the applicability of health insurance?
This is suggested so frequently around here without any follow-up for the nitty gritty how-to aspects, and I actually have no idea how you'd go about doing this in real life, so I figured I'd ask.
Just to clarify, this is more of a general purpose inquiry than a personal or situation-specific need. I'm looking for the general thought process, decision tree, and resource guide. Thank you!