Need Skills? Use Telka's tools
Need Skills? Use Telka's tools
This website is a work in progress. If you don't find the answer to your mental health question here, email Telka directly. Due to a high volume, responses may be delayed but, Telka does answer all emails. Thank you for taking an interest in this site and please visit again soon!
Whether you are new to mental health services or having difficulty getting what you need, these FAQ may help.
1. Like everything medical, mental health is a covered benefit with most health insurance. First step is to locate the mental health providers listed in your mental health provider directory.
If you do not have mental health coverage, your budget will impact choices.
Michigan 211 may help locate your options. Free emotional support via phone 24/7 is available by calling 888-535-6136 then prompt 8.
2. Clarify your service needs. What would you like help with? What do you hope to achieve with mental health therapy? Grief work? Guidance, mentoring or support for relationships or other stress? Symptom specific treatment? Diagnostics? Remember that only doctors, psychiatrists and nurse practitioners may prescribe medication. Speak with your primary care doctor if medication is your main concern.
a. Evidenced based treatment approaches to mental health offer help that has been studied and proven successful. Evidenced based therapy is best for treatment of mood disorders such as anxiety or depression, guidance through stressful life events and recovery from grief, trauma and substance use disorders.
b. Supportive therapy is for those seeking “someone to talk to”. The therapist’s role is that of a paid listener. Supportive therapy does not set expectations, focus on change or measure outcome. That said, it’s only fair to inform you that most communities offer supportive resources at no cost. 12-step programs, local community support groups, community centers, women's centers, schools, religious organizations, and non-profit organizations are helpful in providing support without requiring a mental illness diagnosis or creating a medical record.
3. Once you have identified your specific needs, it's time to do your research. Check the education, credentials, license, and years of experience for everyone you consider. Just because someone claims to be a "therapist" or "counselor" does not mean they are a reputable mental health provider. Ask people you trust for names of therapists in your community. Ask your healthcare providers, educators, religious community, co-workers, neighbors, friends, and family. Some social media groups offer recommendations as well. Conduct an internet search by location, treatment areas and services offered. A commonly referenced site is www.psychologytoday.com.
4. Yup, it may be hard to locate a therapist accepting new clients. www.PsychologyToday.com is a marketing site paid for by therapists interested in promoting their services, but some are not accepting new clients right now. Your insurance provider directory may or may not be updated with correct information. If you struggle finding a therapist with openings, remember that good healthcare is difficult to find in ALL specialty areas. You will have an easier search if you have flexible daytime scheduling. If you can, avoid asking for the first or last appointment of the workday, evenings or weekends. You can request priority scheduling once you are established with your provider.
I’m sorry that happened to you, unfortunately bad experiences are real. Just like with a bad plumber, minister, police officer, lawyer, or teacher—every profession includes a range of personalities and skill levels. Every profession has a learning curve during the first 10 years.
1. Let’s consider what made the experience “bad”. Use what you learned in the past to avoid the same results when screening and communicating with a potential new therapist.
2. You are not required to, but you are allowed to ask questions prior to scheduling therapy.
Check their education and experience level. Do they have expertise in treating your concern? You are allowed to "shop" for a good fit. Speaking with a new therapist does not obligate or trap you into continued work with them.
3. Inform the therapist of your needs and expectations up front. Discuss your likes and dislikes based on past experiences. Ask them if your needs align with their skills and services.
4. If you are court ordered for treatment, discuss your options and your rights with your caseworker, attorney, probation officer or advocate.
Check out the “Creating Best Results” pdf on this site. In addition to those 20 tips, I also suggest that you take responsibility for your therapy. The therapist provides the map, but it’s your journey and your choice of destination. You are welcome to use all the tools, videos and resources on this site with the therapist of your choice.
1. You could simply ask that exact question directly to your current therapist either in person, on the phone, a voicemail or in writing. " I want to try a new therapist, but I am afraid to talk to you about it because I don't want to offend you " A professional, skilled therapist will thank you for your honesty and assist you with whatever you need. If you prefer services that better accommodate your schedule, location, budget, personal preferences or treatment needs, your current therapist could offer ideas to assist you with a transfer of services.
2. "Trying someone new" whether that be in the form of a transfer, referral, consult or closure, is similar in all healthcare. Patients have the right to advocate for their needs, assess progress and report satisfaction regarding care*. Honest feedback is important to create the best results.
3. You are not responsible for your therapist's emotions. Therapy is not a personal relationship; it is a professional relationship. You might feel loyal, friendly, empathetic or caring toward your therapist, but the bottom line is that therapy is medical treatment, not friendship. You are not being rude or unkind when you advocate for your mental health. Practice communicating your needs assertively to help overcome fears and to establish healthy boundaries.
4. Based on your specific situation, personalize any of these examples to share in person, via voice message, or in writing.
Thoughts for consideration: Identifying therapy goals, acknowledging mental health symptoms, and stating changes you are willing to make, is a great way to help improve your therapy experience. If your interest in "trying a new therapist" stems from disinterest in addressing self-defeating behaviors, addictions or other behavioral changes necessary for mental health, then switching therapists may not be the answer. Discuss your thoughts about “trying someone new” with your other healthcare providers and with people whose judgement you trust.
(*If therapy is employer mandated, court ordered, or connected to legally binding contracts, involuntary placement or incarceration—then contact your caseworker, attorney, human resources representative, probation/parole officer or mental health patient rights advocate to gain understanding of your specific patient rights.)
Unfortunately, there is not really an effective way that you can find counseling for someone else. Unless your loved one is a minor or has a legal guardian— adults must seek their own mental health services. I understand that you are trying to be helpful, and I see that your heart is in the right place, but because mental health treatment is a medical decision requiring motivation and compliance, the best treatment outcomes require that adults take responsibility for scheduling their own care with the provider of their choice.
So, what can you do to help? You should never work harder on someone else’s problem than they are, but you can be a role model for mental health and support your loved one’s decision to seek help. You may share these additional tips:
1. If they have insurance, tell them they may access their mental health provider directory for names of in-network therapists.
2. If applicable, encourage your loved one to discuss mental health treatment options and referrals with their primary care doctor, psychiatrist, probation officer, caseworker or 988 mental help line.
4. Some employers offer several free counseling sessions through their employee assistance programs.
6. Depending on the severity of your concern, you can access therapy for yourself to learn more about how to maintain your own mental health when concerned about loved ones. Thank you for asking this question. It's hard to witness distress in our loved ones. You are a good person.
You are not alone, unfortunately. Specialists in all areas of medicine may be difficult to access depending on insurance, location and resources. Remember that psychiatrists are medical doctors who specialize in mental health. They are not the same as counselors, therapists, neurologists or psychologists. Understanding the differences can help you determine if a psychiatrist is needed. Here are a few additional tips that may help sort out the confusion:
1. For a non-emergency psychiatric evaluation, a doctor-to-doctor referral will be the fastest route. Talk to your doctor about your interest in seeing a psychiatrist.
2. Psychiatric nurse practitioners and physician assistants in a mental health practice may be easier to access than a psychiatrist.
3. Some mental health facilities and group practices require that new incoming patients schedule the first evaluation with a therapist in that practice before scheduling with their psychiatrist.
4. If you are still struggling, contact your insurance company for assistance in securing a mental health provider.
Okay, if you are still stuck after all that, email me. :).
In the past, my 11 week CBT program was accredited as 22 continuing education credits for social workers in Michigan. Varies segments of my program were also accredited for nursing education.
I no longer travel or offer the large seminars. These days my consultations and trainings are free to those interested in learning more about my tools. I volunteer now as a way to give back to the profession I love. All of my materials are free to use as you wish.
Email me directly if you would like to schedule a consultation.
MATERIALS ON THIS SITE ARE NOT INTENDED TO SUBSTITUTE OR REPLACE MEDICAL CARE . This site is not intended to diagnose or treat emergencies, medical conditions or psychiatric concerns. Consult your own health care professional with your concerns. Telka does not offer emergency services or crisis intervention. Telka is not a physician, does not prescribe medication. Suicide Prevention Hot line