What is Therapy?
Therapy, which can also be called psychotherapy or counseling, is an effective treatment option to help you work through any mental, emotional, or relational issue. There is a wide range of issues that can be addressed from everyday stressors (i.e. work stress, marital conflict) to crises (i.e. sudden losses, natural disasters) to mental illnesses (i.e. bipolar disorder, addiction). Therapy can be used as the sole treatment or in conjunction with other treatment methods, including medication if needed.
Therapy is facilitated by a therapist or mental health professional. Typically, this person has at least a master’s degree and is licensed by their state as a social worker, professional counselor, mental health counselor, marriage and family therapist, or psychologist. In addition to a therapist’s education and qualifications for state licensure, they may have specialized training or practice within a certain niche (i.e. depression, anxiety, infidelity, sexual abuse, perinatal or postpartum care).
Teletherapy or telemental health is when you receive therapy through telecommunication tools or devices, such as a website, phone or mobile app. Some people prefer this method because it can be less expensive and more flexible.
Finding a Therapist through Insurance
The same way you see a primary care doctor for wellness visits or for a presenting issue, you can also see a mental health professional through your health insurance. You will only be responsible for your co-pay (the specialist fee).
Your health insurance can provide you with a list of therapists who accept your insurance. You can contact those therapists to see who is accepting new clients and who may be a good fit. Look on the back of your insurance card for a phone number next to words like “mental health” or “behavioral health.” Call that number and ask them how you can access the list of in-network therapists.
If you have found a therapist who does not (or no longer) accepts your insurance, they may be able to help you get reimbursed. For example, if your therapist charges $120/hr, you would pay your therapist their full fee. Then, they would provide you or your health insurance company with a superbill, which is a detailed invoice including information about the services and payment rendered. Once your insurance receives the information, they will process the superbill and render a decision about reimbursing you with a percentage of the fee(s) you paid.
Please note that when you see a therapist through your insurance or if a therapist provides a superbill, they must indicate a diagnosis on the bill. Also note, that there is no guarantee that the insurance company will reimburse the expense.
Finding a Therapist Online
Below are a few directories you can peruse to find therapists. Through the websites below you can find therapists that work with individuals, couples, families, and children. It is highly recommended and likely that you will need to contact more than one therapist in your area prior to finding someone you can schedule an appointment with. You may also need to have initial sessions with more than one therapist before finding the therapist that is the right fit for you.
Psychology Today is one of the most popular directories to find a therapist. Therapists go through a verification process with Psychology Today to ensure that you are receiving services from a licensed professional. The therapists’ profile includes the kinds of issues they work with, their qualifications, payment/insurance information, and may also include languages they speak and the faith they practice.
To find therapists in Psychology Today who are Christian, follow the directions below:
- Type in your zip code in the search box. You will see profiles of therapists in your area.
- Scroll down on the left panel of the screen, look under “Faith” and click on “Christian”. Your list of profiles will narrow down to therapists in your area who identify as Christian.
- On the left side of the screen, under “Types of Therapy,” you can click on “Christian Counseling” for therapists who also use Christian Counseling in their practice. This will further narrow your list down to Christian therapists who specifically utilize Christian Counseling in their therapy practice.
- Please note that you may have more therapists in your area who are Christian, but may not be trained in Christian Counseling. These therapists may still be able to use biblical principles to guide the therapy process. Therefore, you can 1) let the therapist know that your Christian faith is important to you and 2) ask them if they will be able to incorporate your faith in the therapeutic process.
The Christian Counselor Directory consists of both counselors who are Christian and those who are trained in Christian counseling. The credentials and license are different for both and the directory encourages you to carefully consider this when reviewing counselor profiles. Select the choice that is most suitable for your needs.
Therapy for Black Girls’ directory includes therapists, a majority of which are Black women, who specifically have experience working with Black girls and women. Their profile may include their specialty areas and whether they accept insurance, new clients, and if they prescribe medication.
Therapy for Black Men’s directory features both therapists and coaches who have experience working with Black boys and men. A majority of the therapists are Black men and women, but there are other therapists of color to choose from as well. Their profile includes more information about their specialty areas, qualifications, license information, and payment options.
This directory includes therapists who deliver services in person or online. Their profile consists of the therapist’s specialty, address, and the insurance companies they accept.
Talk Space matches you up with a licensed therapist based on your response to a questionnaire. Therapy sessions are conducted via text, video, and audio and some also include live sessions. The price/package is dependent upon the level and amount of interaction you want with your therapist.
BetterHelp is a telemental health service, in which therapy is provided via online chat sessions, texting therapy, or web therapy. An online assistant will walk you through the process of selecting a licensed therapist and package that fits your needs.
NOTE: The list above are general resources for selecting a therapist. Dr. Shannon Mason has no affiliation with any of the sites mentioned. By choosing to use these resources, you also agree to hold Dr. Shannon harmless from any and all claims, loss, liabilities, and costs. You assume all risks associated with using these resources.