UT’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) provides short-term counseling and consultation, and the counselors can link staff and faculty to mental health counselors in the community by providing specialized lists of referral options for the faculty or staff member to contact. 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. With this trend in mind, here are a few tips to looking for a therapist:
- Searching for “therapist Austin” on Google will generate thousands of results to wade through, but the results may not be specific to your needs. In https://eap.utexas.edu/counseling/choosing-therapist, there are several therapist directories that you can sort through to find out more about therapists and to search by insurance. These directories are more detailed and often more up-to-date than the provider list on BCBS’s main website.
- When contacting providers, you can reach out by phone or email to several at once. It can be more expedient to ask if they have availability for new clients before discussing your needs in depth. If a clinician you are interested in shares that they are currently full, you can ask if they maintain a waitlist and how long they anticipate the wait might be. If you are planning to use your BCBS UT Select benefits, you can confirm that the provider still accepts your insurance.
- All therapists should offer a consultation either by phone, video, or in-person to help assess goodness of fit. This consultation is a time to ask both logistical and relational questions. For examples of potential questions to ask, scroll to the bottom of this page on the EAP website: https://eap.utexas.edu/counseling/choosing-therapist.
In addition, this blog post from Therapy for Black girls offers a great guide on navigating the emotions, practical questions and considerations of the consultation:
- The majority of therapists are offering telehealth appointments while some are starting to offer in-person appointments. Keep in mind what would work best for you and your schedule. For instance, if you can only meet during your hour lunch break, seeing a therapist through telehealth will make that possible as you will not need to travel to and from the therapist’s office. If you do not have privacy in your home or work place, you may want to inquire about meeting in person. For other tips on preparing for reaching
- MD Live offers free ongoing therapy sessions through telehealth only. For more information and to set up an account, please go to https://members.mdlive.com/bcbstx/landing_home.
- EAP counselors are well-equipped to navigate the process of connecting to a therapist. If you would like one of the EAP counselors to make suggestions for longer-term therapy, please reach out the main office at 512-471-3366 or email at email@example.com.