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Forums / Treatments, health professionals and therapies / Barriers to finding the right therapist.

Topic: Barriers to finding the right therapist.

9 posts, 0 answered
  1. Pedro75
    Pedro75 avatar
    5 posts
    2 February 2020

    Hi all,

    Pete here. Posting this here on the advice of another forum member.

    Living with anxiety and depression. Had some really sharp postnatal panic and depression post the birth of my first son. I'm a BB speaker and have had my story published in print and online in an effort to help other Dads who may of experienced postnatal mental illness.
    Sorry for the long intro but I wanted to be sure that everybody feels I am legit.

    Anyway, re therapy. It took me quite some time to find and develop a good relationship with my therapist. Has anyone else found that process to be harder than it should be? I am aware and respect the rules of this forum in "no recommendations' but I wanted to see if anyone else out there thinks that finding the right therapy/therapist can sometimes cost too much time and money? I'm not disputing what therapy costs, just the cost of sitting through sessions before finding the right fit?

    Cheers.

  2. smallwolf
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    smallwolf avatar
    3668 posts
    2 February 2020 in reply to Pedro75
    Hi. I am interested to see where this discussion goes. While I have not had any problems finding the right help, I might have been lucky in that my GP referred me to both my psychologist and psychiatrist. I am guessing she found people she believed would be able to help me. It probably helps that my psychs have similar sense of humor to me as well. With that said, I am aware others have this problem, including someone in real life. I am wondering what makes it fall apart?
    1 person found this helpful
  3. geoff
    Life Member
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
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    geoff avatar
    12842 posts
    3 February 2020 in reply to Pedro75

    Hello Pete, well done for being a speaker and thanks for posting this thread because Dad's are able to get PND, just as I did, but that was some 30 odd years ago.

    It can be difficult trying to find the therapist/counsellor that are able to click with, but we aren't sure until we have a session or two.

    They may appear to be perfect but once we talk to them, the situation maybe different, we aren't able to choose them just by looking at their appearance or how they look.

    I do agree that one, two or three sessions out of the 10 mental health plan appointment can be wasted and this is something that could be addressed or suggested, but it has to go through parliament.

    I was injured at work, however, there were at least four sessions (all with different counsellors, mainly with psychiatrists).

    I know what you are saying and agree.

    Best wishes.

    Geoff.

    2 people found this helpful
  4. romantic_thi3f
    Community Champion
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    romantic_thi3f avatar
    2547 posts
    3 February 2020 in reply to Pedro75

    Hi Pete,

    Thanks for your post and it's great to see you here - it's wonderful that you've been so involved with BB and I can only imagine how many people you are helping by sharing your story. For what it's worth, we thought you were legit anyway :)

    Yes, absolutely. It's really difficult. I think even if the forum allowed recommendations it probably wouldn't be helpful anyway because we all have very different personalities and would connect differently to every therapist.

    While it's true that it can take some time to find the right fit, I've personally found that it's helpful to

    - google them beforehand. You can tell a lot about a therapist by their own website (if they have one). You can also be mindful of red flags ie anything with the word cure, guarantee or promise

    - ask about their fees. If they are offering a MHCP how much is the gap, and then how much is the full fee after the 10 sessions? I've seen psychologists offer fees around 300$ which is understandably a big deterrent

    - asking about their approach to therapy. While the fit matters more than their approach this can give you an idea about what the sessions might look like. Psychodynamic or analytic therapy would be a lot of talking, where as a therapy such as CBT might be working more on your behaviours and thoughts and be very engaged. For some people, they need the idea of things to do, where as others are happy to just have someone to talk to.

    A lot of therapists also offer up snippets of their personality and that can be helpful too; you can often get an idea of if they might have a softer approach or a confrontational one, or be deadly serious vs able to have a good laugh with you. I had a first appointment with a psychologist who told me they were very confrontational and blunt, and that wasn't what I needed or wanted to have in my own therapy

    - consider where their office is and their opening hours. This is such a simple thing but it's commonly overlooked. This can be the difference between a 5-10 minute drive and an hours drive, or the difference between having to leave work early or being able to finish work and then go to therapy after hours

    - schedule an appointment further away. This way it gives you lots of time to reflect on how the session went and if you think this is a therapist you want

    rt

    3 people found this helpful
  5. Pedro75
    Pedro75 avatar
    5 posts
    3 February 2020

    Thanks for all you valuable input.

    I came across a service in the US that I won't name, but it offers a matching service based on an online questionnaire. The questionnaire was good, long, but would have provided a good picture of me and my mental health issues. I decided to try it out see what would happen.

    I was matched with a therapist from Texas which of course wasn't ideal, but, if only wanted online support via skype or message or whatever it might of worked. Didn't follow through obviously but one thing that they did was ask for my CC details straight away which was fair enough. Like I've said, I'm not saying therapy should be free.

    The interesting thing was that after a week and I'd forgotten about it, they emailed me and offered a week free. I found this firstly as a bit corporate but still a nice thing to do as it offered as many digital interactions as I wanted in that week. Now that could help with finding the right fit. But then again, if that didn't work out - I'd feel bad about not continuing.

    Is there any services like that here?

    Cheers,

  6. Nurse Jenn
    Health professional
    • Health professional
    Nurse Jenn avatar
    381 posts
    3 February 2020 in reply to Pedro75

    Hi Pedro75,

    I have enjoyed reading this thread as I also have spoken to people who have felt they have wasted valuable sessions trying to find them right match’. A site like the one you mentioned in the USA might be a great business idea for someone in Australia as I haven’t been able to find anything except the search feature the Australian Psychological Association hosts called Find A Psychologist. https://www.psychology.org.au/Find-a-Psychologist

    The many suggestions that Romantic_Thi3f has outlined in helping find the right person are great and could nearly be made into a published list. I stumbled across a media article on the abc called ‘Finding a Psychologist for your Mental Health Needs’ which was along the lines of what you are talking about. Unfortunately, there were no solutions other than those that have been mentioned here with the exception of potentially arranging a brief phone interview with a potential psychologist prior to commencement of your first appointment. I am not sure if this would be enough but it might help rule out an immediate clash quickly.

    There are peer reviews online for so many services such as Trip Advisor and Google Reviews, Product Review etc. But it is a slow moving area where peers are able to provide comment to the Heath Services they receive. I think it is fairly common to RateMy Doctor, Hospital, Therapist etc. in the USA but it hasn’t quite made its way down under. I wonder if having public peer reviews of health professionals and health services would support people to find the right connection faster, or hinder even more?

    This is a really interesting and important discussion. I wonder if there are any other untapped solutions out there?

    Nurse Jenn

    1 person found this helpful
  7. smallwolf
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
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    smallwolf avatar
    3668 posts
    3 February 2020 in reply to Nurse Jenn

    Jenn,

    What are the "Rate my ..." services like in the US?

    I am skeptical by nature and think these could hinder finding a connection. For example:

    • how many would give a good rating? typically posts are for bad service? I mean would you write "I really loved my session with ...."
    • I am guessing these are opinions of patients?
    • how much trust is placed in what is written?
    • once a session if mine was late because of an emergency situation. If someone did not being late, and posts a negative review ....?

    These might start based on a good premise, but can be skewed? Like I said, I have little trust in some area.

    Tim

    1 person found this helpful
  8. geoff
    Life Member
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    geoff avatar
    12842 posts
    4 February 2020 in reply to Pedro75

    Hi Pete, what a friend says about a therapist, who they have found to be their saviour and suggests them to someone else, doesn't necessarily mean that there will be the same connection with them, personalties can be similar but not identical.

    Questionnaires can give you a basic understanding of what has been asked but the structure of them doesn't allow any verification and depending on the mood you are in, can change from one day to another.

    Even phone calls to determine whether a counsellor is the one you need, still can only give you an idea, but facial expressions are very important.

    Any of these maybe appropriate to establish a first base, but can't guarantee that 10 sessions will be successful.

    Best wishes.

    Geoff.

    1 person found this helpful
  9. Pedro75
    Pedro75 avatar
    5 posts
    4 February 2020 in reply to smallwolf

    Hey Tim and Jenn,

    I think as business has and continues to evolve via digital technology, models are changing. I guess that's why established businesses like the Taxi industry and some holiday services hate Uber and AirBnB.

    I think peer review is a good thing. But I totally get your POV Geoff, small things like being late can be an unfair picture of the service, but like most peer review sites, the service provider does have right of reply. Again, Mental Health is very different to getting a ride or booking a place to stay. I have found via the Better Help service in the US that they only post positive reviews. Plus my personal view is that just like this site, reviews could be moderated. There is no perfect solution yet.

    My experience has been that all my therapists have never provided me with a unprofessional service or crossed any professional boundaries. That experience spans 25 years of seeking counselling. But only just now is where I've really clicked and am growing more and more.

    My hope in starting this discussion is to see if we can improve access to therapy. I prefer face to face but that's me. Why couldn't someone get relief from a SMS conversation? Or via Facetime or a chat room? I think if there were multiple ways in which to engage, we could increase or empower people to start a therapeutic process, which can only be a good thing for the individual and their families. Am I way off? Any clinicians out there with a view?

    Cheers,

    My

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