Recommend me a therapist in Portland, OR.
May 22, 2018 12:19 PM   Subscribe

Looking for a therapist in Portland, OR. Can you recommend one that can help with depression/anxiety/grief, or help me figure out what kind of therapist would be good for me? More details inside.

So I've dealt with depression and anxiety (general and social) for a while, and it's been manageable. But this year is bringing a lot more to the surface with some family issues and dealing with the impending loss of my mother-in-law to cancer. In short, it's been really hard. I've been off and on thinking about seeking therapy, but every time I get to a point of researching (usually in a depressive bout) I get overwhelmed.

Portland has a really nice website for all the therapists, but when I drill down and start reading bios and therapy styles I can't really tell what would help me. I unfortunately can't narrow down by health care provider because I've got Kaiser so I'd have to go to a Kaiser facility, and it's too inconvenient for me to go regularly.

Maybe the therapy style is less important though and it's more about the personality?

These are my current areas of focus:
-Depression, possibly bipolar (previous therapists have floated that idea)
-Social anxiety and general anxiety
-Grief and balancing my emotional needs with supporting my family
-More open communication (I don't talk about myself/my needs/frustrations often and bury them down, trying to solve others' problems or keep the peace).
-Career problems (I'm an artist, so lots of imposter syndrome + guilt issues coupled with the stress of freelance life)

I tend to be emotional but also logical in my approach.

If anyone can suggest a therapist in Portland, OR they've had success with (and maybe tell a little why?), that'd be great. (Bonus points if it's somewhat near Buckman/Kerns area and not crazy expensive!) If you don't live here but have had a therapist, can you tell me what you looked for or what made you click with your therapist? I suspect I might need to do a bit of interviewing, but I'm just feeling overwhelmed at the prospect.

Thanks all in advance!
posted by actionpact to Health & Fitness (11 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I can recommend some therapists outside of Kaiser, but unfortunately don't know anyone in that network. In terms of selecting a therapist, I would say the two most important things are that they are a person you trust/enjoy speaking with, and you like their approach. I have general anxiety and some depression and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) has been great for me; I know others who have benefited from CBT. If it lists their approach in the bio, take some time to read about it and see if it connects with you.
posted by Packy_1962 at 12:33 PM on May 22, 2018

Response by poster: Just chiming in to add: I am totally happy with non-Kaiser therapists! I am expecting I'll be paying out of pocket.
posted by actionpact at 12:35 PM on May 22, 2018

I worked with Claire Colaco a few years ago and found her to be extremely warm, generous, and gently challenging in just the right way. She uses a combination of modalities, including a lot of mindfulness. I got the sense that she worked with a lot of creative types as well, and we definitely discussed my creative work in sessions. I really can't recommend her highly enough.

She's in the Kerns area. Her website says her current fee is $100/session, but when I saw her she was offering a pretty significant sliding scale (I was working as a restaurant server and paid $35/session.)
posted by rabbitbookworm at 12:38 PM on May 22, 2018

This is not for a specific person, but when I was looking for a therapist in Portland, my friends pointed me towards the Psychology Today website, which has a great find a therapist database that is really robust in Portland. You can sort by insurance, see rates, areas of specialty, and a brief bio about potential doctors. I found it very helpful and I hope you do too!
posted by chatongriffes at 12:56 PM on May 22, 2018

Kaiser in Oregon has providers that are available only at their clinics. There are very few outside therapists in the kaiser system and they are usually highly specialized.

You’ll need to contact kaiser for an assessment (usually a 2-5 mo wait) the. You’ll get assessed and assigned to a therapist (you don’t really get to choose much; it’s based off availability). Then usually there is another month or two wait to see your therapist and then after that you’ll likely only be able to see hem once every 4-6 weeks.

Lots of people in Oregon go outside Kaiser’s system for mental heath care. My wife stopped working for them because their systems are counterproductive for most mental heath treatment. They’ve been sued multiple times for by providing services required of them. Having had to work with their system as a patient, I would suggest finding someone with a sliding scale outside of Kaiser’s walled garden.

Kaiser is awesome for lots of things, but mental heath care is not one of them.
posted by furnace.heart at 1:24 PM on May 22, 2018

Whoops! Just saw you’re willing to play outside kaiser.

Gillian Chachere is a former coworker of my wife and is apparently a great therapist, but I don’t know her availability. She might have some resources for you as she knows tons of therapists too.
posted by furnace.heart at 1:32 PM on May 22, 2018

I worked with Michael Kohler, LiCSW, for a long time and he changed my life. I'd go back in a heartbeat if I needed to.
posted by fairlynearlyready at 2:55 PM on May 22, 2018

I enjoyed talking with Shelly Oliver (LCSW) and would see her again if needed.
posted by a halcyon day at 3:48 PM on May 22, 2018

I see Marilyn Pool and really like her. I believe she does do reduced-rate intake interviews to see if she's a good fit for folks, and she definitely provides references for other providers if you want to shop around a bit.

Also, depending on what your employer provides for benefits, you may be able to use your Heath Reimbursement Account to cover non-Kaiser therapy as long as you get a letter of medical necessity from the provider. I have Kaiser insurance as well, and have used my HRA for therapy for years, since Kaiser doesn't cover maintenance therapy.
posted by Kpele at 3:48 PM on May 22, 2018

Response by poster: Thanks all for the helpful answers! This really helps my search.
posted by actionpact at 11:35 AM on May 23, 2018

I've been working with Dr. Bret Fuller for about two years now, and I have to say I adore him. I went in looking for a pure CBT approach (after a weird and unhelpful stint with a somatic therapist) and, while I discovered he has a strong flavor of psychoanalysis, that's OK because my experience with anxiety has improved IMMENSELY after working with him. He is kind, funny, and warm.

Honestly though, I think finding a therapist is a lot like dating. Some people you'll click with, and some you won't. Sometimes you'll go in looking for X quality, and discover that X isn't so important because the rest of the person (or therapeutic relationship) outweighs that. I would advise, over everything else, to NOT be afraid to 'dump' your therapist if you've been working together for a few months (or a single session!) and it's not working for you. I wasted a bunch of time with my less-helpful-for-me therapist, because I was afraid to own my needs. (Which, ironically, is probably something to address in therapy.)
posted by opossumnus at 11:46 AM on May 23, 2018

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