Every so often I answer the phone here at Life Skills Resource Group Orlando to encounter someone who has been looking for help for awhile and just can’t seem to find the right resource. I can hear the confusion and desperation in their voices: their tone says “Please, won’t someone care enough to help me figure this out?” or “Please, take the time to listen!” When I get off the phone and have been able to help a person like this, it absolutely makes my day. It is one of my very favorite things about working in counseling.
This happened a few days ago. Someone called on the phone sounding so lost and frustrated. By the time we got off the phone, she didn’t sound so hopeless anymore. And I was so honored to be able to help.
I don’t say this to toot my own horn. I don’t say this to make our co-owners Cindy Fabico and Amy Smith look good (although the fact that they encourage me to spend time helping people find the right resources is awesome!). I say this to remind you of how good it feels when you are able to help someone. And I say this to remind you that it is okay to need help.
The mental health care system (and health care system in general) can be difficult to navigate. Do you need a psychiatrist, psychologist, counselor? Is there a difference between a therapist and a counselor? What do all those letters (LMHC, LMFT, LCSW, PsyD, PhD, etc.) even mean? Once you’ve figured out what you need, how do you find a counselor who is right for you? It’s enough to make someone scream “I just want someone to listen and help!”
And so, I wanted to take a minute today to share some mental health resources with you.
There are lots of great articles out there full of specifics on good methods to find a therapist, what to look for in a counselor, and to help you understand many of the questions I listed above (like the differences between psychiatrists, psychologists, counselors, and therapists, as well as almost anything else you want to know about finding a counselor!).
When it comes to specific tools to find a therapist, we definitely recommend talking to family, friends, and professionals (like your primary care provider) that you trust for ideas! The internet is an excellent tool for researching too. We very frequently begin a search for referrals on PsychologyToday.com with their Find a Therapist tool! What we like so much about this tool is that you can search by zip code (so you know the therapists you find are near you) and you can also narrow by categories like your insurance company, the type of issue you’re dealing with, the age of the client, the language the therapist speaks (Dr. Melissa Rojas in our office provides counseling in Spanish!), a counselor’s special training (Risa Bos in our office is trained in clinical hypnosis and EMDR!) and more. This narrows down the field you’ll want to research. If you’re still having trouble finding someone who is in-network with your insurance company, call your insurance company! They should have a list of their providers and be able to help you determine a referral that is right for you.
We’re happy to help you with searching or narrowing down (give us a call at 407-355-7378), and we’re also happy to look at counselor names and tell you of anyone we know and would recommend. You don’t have to choose a Life Skills Resource Group counselor for us to help you – it is important to us that you find the counselor who is right for you!
Next, you’ll be ready to contact therapists. We believe that any therapist should be willing to speak with you (typically on the phone) to help you determine if they are the right fit for you. That’s why we offer a free phone consultation, and we recommend that you insist upon speaking with any therapist before scheduling a first meeting. Your gut reaction and level of comfort tell you a lot about if you’ll be comfortable working with a particular counselor.
From there, you are on your way! Schedule a first appointment and know that you are always allowed to look for a new counselor if you don’t feel like the counselor is the right fit – this is your counseling!
I hope those resources help you in your search for the right counselor. I also wanted to take a minute to make a plug for compassion, kindness, and putting oneself in the shoes of another. Life is difficult. There are times we all feel at our wit’s end. When we are exhausted, demoralized, lost, or without hope, the words and actions of those we meet mean so much. Have you been upset and made more so by someone who didn’t take a moment to understand or to help? Have you been lost and felt cared for by someone who did as little as smile at you or give you an encouraging word? I am of the opinion that kindness can always help and that kindness is always worth the time it takes.
I encourage you to go out of your way to help someone today. Whether it is taking one extra step to help a client at your work, smiling at a parent struggling to keep a child occupied, or buying a stranger who looks sad a coffee, your actions can make a big difference in the life of another.
And that’s why we’re here, at Life Skills Resource Group Orlando, to try to help each other live, learn, and grow. Give us a call at 407-355-7378 for help finding a counselor or to work with one of our 5 amazing counselors. We’re excited to be on your team.
In human kindness, Krista Bringley