Choosing a Therapist

Selecting a therapist who is the right fit is important because the most vital aspect in a therapy relationship is the comfort and confidence you have with the therapist. A therapist who works well with one person may not be the best choice for another person, so you may want to consider the following information when choosing a therapist. As the pandemic has continued, EAP staff have noticed that many providers may be currently full and that clients are needing to contact more providers before finding a therapist.

What is Therapy?

Therapy is a relationship between an individual and a licensed professional who is trained to help people understand their feelings and change their behavior. The National Institute of Mental Health reports that one-third of adults in the United States experience emotional distress or substance abuse, and millions of people have found relief from these problems through attending therapy.

People consider therapy for many reasons, including:

  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Managing stress, anxiety or depression
  • Making big decisions or changes
  • Difficulty in day-to-day functioning
  • Harmful actions directed at themselves or others
  • Concern for a family member, friend or coworker

Getting Started

As you begin your search for a therapist, you may want to use the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) counseling services. Based on your insurance and personal needs, the EAP can help you find therapists in the Austin area, and can even coach you on how to interview them to determine if they are the right fit for you. You may also want to simply consider getting therapist referrals from the following sources:

  • Friends and family members
  • Physicians or health care professionals
  • Spiritual or religious leaders

You may want to find a therapist on your own or get more information about the providers EAP and others have provided. The provider’s websites and these directories can help you with your search:

Calling a Therapist in the Community

When an EAP counselor provides a referral they will typically give you a few names to choose from, we are aware that many therapists have full practices and it may take a couple of days for them to call you back.  Few therapists in private practice have receptionists, it is normal to reach their voicemail, when you leave a message indicate:

  • Briefly describe the issue you would like to address
  • Inform the counselor that you would like to use UT Select - BCBS
  • Provide your contact information, let them know the best times to reach you and if they have permission to leave a voicemail

Questions to Ask Potential Therapists

Initially you will want to know if the therapist has openings or if they maintain a waitlist or can provide referrals to other therapists with similar specializations. If they have openings describe what brings you to therapy and then you may want to ask some of the following questions to determine if they would be a good fit for you.

When interviewing a potential therapist over the phone, you will probably want to briefly describe your problem and ask the following questions:

  • What is your area of specialization?
  • What is your approach to working with people who are dealing with concerns similar to mine?
  • How does therapy help?
  • Do you understand and are you comfortable with multicultural issues?
  • What are your credentials?
  • How long have you been practicing?
  • What is a typical session like and how long is it?
  • Are you in-network with UT Select/ BCBS?

If a clinician you're really interested in shares that they're full, ask if they have a wait list and how long the wait might be. You can also ask a clinician if they have referrals for colleagues who are in-network with a similar way of practicing, that may have openings available sooner then they do.