The Irrational Mind

On A Personal Note: Finding A New Therapist

It has been a year since I moved to D.C. following a brief stint at my parents’ house in the greater D.C. metro area. I arrived and spent time settling in with my then-fiance, now-husband, working as a dog walker and nanny as I finished my M.S. thesis in atmospheric science.

I thought I was doing well, mentally, at the time. I still had breakdowns, but they were nothing compared to the mental anguish I felt during my last year of grad school. For the most part, I’d stopped gaining weight from binge eating, and was maintaining a rather constant state of obesity.

It wasn’t until our May wedding was quickly approaching that I took the time to look for a new therapist. This was frustrating, as I therapistneeded to find someone that would accept my current insurance (Tricare through my father, as I was still under 26 and unmarried) as well as the insurance I would be under once Matt and I got married.

Growing up on Tricare, I never had to think much about health insurance. The military takes good care of its people, and I was used to having nearly any service I needed covered without a copay. Now, with normal people insurance, I had to be more careful.

I searched around online for providers accepting both forms of insurance. I picked a woman nearby, set up an appointment, and arrived ridiculously early to the office for fear of getting lost.

I wanted to like the therapist, I really did.

She seemed generally good at what she was doing, but she kept interrupting to ask about my insurance. I assured her that I was covered under Tricare, and that my military ID served as my health insurance card. I understand that that point is often confusing for various healthcare providers. What I don’t understand is why I had to spend so much time talking about money throughout the session. It made me uncomfortable.

She wasn’t able to figure out how to bill Tricare, and I didn’t feel it was my job to figure it out and explain it to her. She contacted me again after my wedding to ask if I wanted to see her now that I was on a different insurance. I didn’t answer the phone or respond to the voicemail or follow-up email.

I’m sure I took it too personally, but I was not interested in a therapist so focused on payment that my treatment was sacrificed.

I finally looked for a new therapist again last week. It took a few hours of research before finding one that was not into spiritual laying-hands-on healing practices. That may be your style, and that’s fine! I am more interested in traditional psychological/psychiatric treatments.

Again, I nervously arrived early at the new therapist’s office, wondering if she would grill me on my insurance.

Happily, I entered her office and she spent the first 5 minutes explaining her policies to me and asking about my insurance. Then we moved on. I knew I owed her a copay, but because I wasn’t sure of the amount, she told me just to check and get back with her later. Phew! What a welcome change of approach!

While I’ve only had one session with this new therapist, I’ve liked her so far, and it was worth the time, effort, and anxiety I put into finding her.

I encourage you to continue looking for a therapist if you have been turned off by the process in the past. Do you have any frustrating stories to share yourself?

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