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Getting Started: Talk Therapy for Depression

How to Find a Therapist

If you need help finding a therapist, try these suggestions:

  • Ask family and friends. Chances are some of your family or friends have seen a therapist. Ask those you trust for a recommendation. If a therapist you contact can’t see you, ask if she can recommend another therapist.
  • Ask your doctor. Your doctor likely has referrals to mental health specialists in your area.
  • Ask your clergy person. Most clergy members will be able to provide you with referrals for mental health providers.
  • Check with your employee assistance program (EAP). If you work for a large company, your EAP may be able to provide a referral.
  • Check with your insurance company. If you have insurance, your insurance company likely has a list of therapists in their network.

Making an Appointment With a Therapist

After you’ve collected a few names, call at least two therapists and talk with them about your situation. Feel free to ask them questions about their experience dealing with depression and their approach to treatment. If you like what you hear, make an appointment. But don’t feel that you have to commit to the first therapist you speak with or even the first one you see.

“When you’re looking for a therapist, it’s important to do some comparison shopping,” Endlich tells WebMD. “If you don’t think the therapist is the right fit for you, look for someone else. It’s really important to feel comfortable and find the right fit, and this might take a few phone calls or visits.”

What to Expect at a Therapy Session

At your first session, be prepared to tell your therapist about your depression and what led you to seek help. It may be helpful to think about what you’d like to get out of the therapy. For example, are you looking for ways to better deal with personal relationships, or are you hoping to set goals for yourself and make changes? It’s helpful to be as honest as you can with your therapist about your depression and your goals for therapy.

After listening to your situation, the therapist should be able to tell you what type of treatment he recommends and come up with a treatment plan for you. If the therapist thinks you might benefit from medication, he may recommend that you also meet with a psychiatrist or doctor.

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