Who can I turn to?
As it turns out, finding a decent counselor takes a lot of work. A lot of distracting, anxiety producing, sleep reducing work. To put it in perspective, it took me 15 minutes to choose a primary care physician after switching health insurance companies last year. I spent 3 hours at night looking for somebody to share my feelings with.
First I had to find an agency. Seems simple, right? You do a quick google search, read some reviews, call them up. Nah. That’s where I started, but I quickly ran into problems. One place is run by a man who exploited one of his clients (involved in the Jerry Sandusky case) to write a book, which violates oh so many ethics standards. Now, if you have a job, as most of us do, it’s difficult to find a center that’s open at optimal times. One place was open 8-3, and 8-11 on Friday. 8-3. 8-11. Cool, I’ll just squeeze that in with my 7:30-6 work day, no problem. So I had to find a place open on weekends. That narrowed it down significantly, so I started calling them one by one. Scheduling an appointment should be easy, right?! Nope. You have to call a certain place, during business hours (8-4, M-F). I eventually managed to squeeze an intake into one of my days, thanks to the flexibility of one place.
Now comes the worst part: “How are you going to pay for this?” Thankfully I had done my late night homework! If you don’t have insurance, therapy can cost a fortune. Luckily, my health insurance covers everything but a small copay. However, I had to find out which places even accepted my insurance. That’s a fucking chore. Almost half of my research time was spent on this alone. There’s no database for this information and many practices don’t post the insurances they accept. In a very roundabout way I did eventually find a page through my insurance company that finally assured me that I could afford this.
All this back and forth was very taxing. I lost several hours of sleep, I had a busy day coming up, I had to make time to fit in my intake, and it all led up to me experiencing the very problem I was looking to solve. Being an excellent former psych student, however, I managed to cope and walked into my intake session feeling pretty relaxed. But after my time was up, I walked out with a new problem.
I didn’t like the man who took my referral.