Therapy Tools

How Daily Affirmations Can Positively Impact Your Life

Daily positive affirmations are statements that can boost your confidence and counteract negative thoughts and feelings. They encourage you to focus on your strengths instead of telling yourself things that accentuate your shortcomings, which can be bad for your mental health.

The Science Behind the Practice

Negative thoughts can have a significant impact on your self-esteem and self-confidence. When a person experiences too many, it can become like an infestation. Positive affirmations can be said to boost feelings about yourself and counteract negative thoughts.

When you say things to yourself, you store them in your brain. Negative thoughts are stronger than positive ones. If you are continually saying or thinking unpleasant things about yourself, your brain will start to believe them over time. The best way to replace negative thoughts is to say three positive affirmations for each negative thought you have.

The fastest way to rewire your brain and feel more positive about yourself is to say these daily affirmations out loud. When you hear something out loud, your brain stores it more quickly. In time you will begin to believe the positive affirmations instead of allowing negative beliefs about yourself to persist.

While affirmations can help rewire faulty thinking about yourself and the world around you, changing your behaviors will reinforce these new positive beliefs. While it may be beneficial to affirm that you will remain calm when a coworker annoys you, you will still need to create the habit of staying calm and not reacting when provoked.

How to Choose Your Daily Affirmations

Different types of affirmations can be helpful for different situations:

Intentions – Intentions are behaviors, attitudes, and traits you would like to develop. Deciding what is essential to you can help you set intentions for yourself. These intentions might include healthy lifestyle choices or being a more supportive friend.

Phrasing -Phrase your daily affirmations as if they are already true. “I am a supportive friend.” versus “I want to be a more supportive friend.” Framing your affirmations in the present rewires your brain to believe it and can help make it a reality.

Realistic – Affirmations that are realistic and hopeful are more likely to work than those that are far-fetched. Unrealistic affirmations cause your inner judge not to believe them. If it feels like too much of a stretch, there is likely a better way to say it that will feel more true.

Positive – Daily affirmations should always be positive. You are trying to rewire your brain to adopt these new beliefs about yourself and of what you are capable. That will also help counteract any negative thoughts you have been holding onto and repeating to yourself.

Examples of Daily Affirmations

Almost anything can be used as a daily affirmation so long as it is positive and works for you. Writing your affirmations is best because they will be relevant and help you work towards your personal goals. Here are some examples of ways you can affirm yourself each day.

I choose to be happy

No one but me decides how I feel

I accept and love myself completely

By being myself, I bring happiness to other people

I am unique and beautiful

I am good enough

I am an important and valuable person

I choose to think good thoughts

My anxiety does not control my life; I do

I am safe, and everything is right in my world

I breathe, and I am calm

I have come this far and I am proud of myself

This one moment does not define who I am

Only I determine the way I choose to feel

I believe in who I am

I am consistent in the things I say and do

I do not need to rely on others for acceptance

I am resilient and can handle my problems

Today I create a wonderful day and a fantastic future

How to Practice Daily Affirmations

The first step is to create a list of affirmations that make you feel good and relate to your circumstances. While the best way is to make up your own, we’ve provided a deck of daily affirmations that are a great place to start.

Some people prefer to say their daily affirmations in the morning before they begin the day:

Stand in front of the mirror and repeat them a few times to yourself

Say them to yourself at night instead or during the day

Tell yourself three positive things for each negative thought you have throughout the day

You can also make recordings of yourself saying the affirmations and listen. Another popular way to affirm yourself is to write your statements on post-it notes and stick them where you will see them throughout the day; on your mirror, the dash of your car, your computer monitor at work, your desk, or on the refrigerator. Find what works for you, and you will have the most success.

To make daily affirmations a habit:

Repeat them for 3-5 minutes, twice a day

Repeat each statement 10 times out loud

Ask a friend or family member to repeat them to you, to reinforce the beliefs

Be consistent, and try not to skip any days

Be patient. It will take a little time to change your beliefs

Key Takeaways

Daily affirmations are a great way to use positive self-talk to change negative thinking into healthy, positive beliefs or become more motivated. Think about the thoughts and behaviors you would like to change and what your goals are.

Once you have decided what you want to achieve through affirmations, write or look for positive statements that are believable and counteract the negative thoughts and beliefs you have been telling yourself. Repeat these positive affirmations several times a day, especially when experiencing negative thoughts. With practice, you will build a daily affirmation routine to lead a more positive, healthy, and prosperous life.

Article Sources:

Healthline 2020 https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/do-affirmations-work

Mindtools 2020 https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/affirmations.htm

C. Moore 2021 https://positivepsychology.com/daily-affirmations/

Verywell Mind 2020 https://www.verywellmind.com/how-positive-affirmations-help-manage-stress-3144814

Therapy Tools

Understanding the Types of Counselors

You’ve reached the decision to seek support from a counselor. You have healing to do, and you understand that you can’t do it alone. But when you start looking for a counselor, you find it’s not as easy as you thought. There are many different types of counselors, and the letters following their names look like alphabet soup. 

Don’t let confusion stand in the way of getting help. This guide for understanding the types of counselors will assist you in finding the help that is the right fit for your needs.

Select a Counselor Based On Your Unique Needs

When it comes to counselors, one size doesn’t fit all. That’s because people have unique lives and concerns. Therefore, you want a counselor who specializes in the area of helping that best suits your needs. 

Mental Health Counselors. These counselors are like mental health general practitioners. They address various mental health concerns, including depression, anxiety, trauma, stress management, relationship issues, and personality disorders. If you aren’t sure about the type of counseling you need most, a mental health counselor likely is your best choice.Marriage and Family Therapists. These counselors focus specifically on couples and families. They address issues that affect life in and out of the home — for example, behavioral issues, marital problems, domestic violence, infertility, and substance use.Pastoral Counselors. These counselors combine psychology and faith to provide emotional and spiritual support. They address issues including questioning faith, dealing with death or disease, and preparing for marriage. They may work at a church or a more traditional counseling practice.Recreational Therapists. These counselors work with injured patients to address the physical and emotional needs resulting from their injuries. These counselors use art, animal therapy, games, sports, music, drama, or dance treatment methods. They work in nursing facilities, hospitals, rehab centers, and community centers.Rehabilitation Counselors. These counselors are similar to recreational therapists and may include speech therapists. They work with patients with long-term physical, mental, and emotional disabilities. Their treatment methods are more traditional, but they work in the same places as recreational therapists. School Counselors. These counselors work with students of all levels. They address any issues that can affect a student’s quality of education, including learning disabilities, bullying, substance use, and problems at home. They work through the school district and office at the school site.Substance Abuse Counselors. These counselors help patients understand the cause of their addictions and treat them through recovery. They address addictions, including those related to drugs, alcohol, sex, eating, and gambling. They work in hospitals, private practices, mental health treatment centers, and government agencies.

Understanding the types of counselors out there is a solid first step toward choosing the right counselor for you. Choose a counselor that specializes in the area of your unique needs. Feel drawn toward one of the categories above? That’s probably a sign that you should look for a counselor with that specialty.

Classifications of Mental Health Professionals

In addition to considering the type of counselor you need, you’ll notice that there are usually many letters after the counselor’s name. These classifications can be confusing and intimidating, but they shouldn’t be. The letters stand for the counselor’s various degrees and certifications. In other words, they tell you the level of expertise and training the counselor has. A counselor likely has a master’s or doctorate in counseling. Some have medical degrees. 

Here are some common classifications of mental health professionals:

Psychiatrist. A psychiatrist has a medical degree (M.D. or D.O.). Their training includes four years of medical school, a year-long internship, and at least three years of specialized training as a psychiatric resident. They treat all types of mental health disorders, prescribe medication, and can perform medical procedures.Psychologist. A psychologist has a doctoral degree (Ph.D., Psy.D., or Ed.D.) in psychology. After graduate school, they complete a multi-year internship. They do not have medical degrees. So, although they can treat mental health disorders, they cannot perform medical procedures or prescribe medications. As a result, they typically work with a psychiatrist or other medical doctor.Licensed Mental Health Counselor. This mental health professional has a master’s degree (M.A.) in psychology, counseling, or another mental health field. They work two years with a mental health professional after graduate school for licensing. They cannot perform medical procedures or prescribe medications.Clinical Social Worker. A social worker has at minimum a master’s degree in social work. Social workers can provide counseling and advocate for patients and their families. They cannot perform medical procedures or prescribe medications.

The letters after a counselor’s name also signify the type of state credentials they have. While required and available, credentials may vary among states. They generally reflect the type of counseling the professional does.

What those letters after the counselor’s name mean:

Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC)Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC)Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC)Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor of Mental Health (LPCC) Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor (LCMHC)Licensed Mental Health Practitioner (LMHP)

How All Counseling Can Help

Now you have a better understanding of the types of counselors out there; it’s time for you to take the next step in your mental health journey. It’s time to find the right counselor for you. All Counseling is here to help you get the mental health support you deserve. Use our searchable counselor directory to find the counselor you need.
Therapy Tools

Finding the Right Counselor for You

Reaching the decision to seek out a counselor is a brave step that isn’t always easy to take. The next step is finding the right counselor for you. It would be great if finding the right counselor was as simple as identifying the right type of counselor with appropriate credentials. But it doesn’t always work that way. Sometimes finding the right counselor for you takes time and requires meeting with multiple mental health professionals before finding the right fit. Whether you interview multiple counselors or love the first one you meet, your mental health is worth the process.

There are a lot of counselors out there and many different ways to find the one that’s right for you. You probably don’t just want to Google counselors in your area and pick the first name on the list. A more strategic search will help you narrow your options and hopefully find a fit more quickly.

8 Ways to Find a Counselor

Primary Care Physician. You likely already have a primary care physician that you know and trust. They can refer you to a counselor they partner with.

Friends or Family. I found my counselor through a friend. You’d probably be surprised by how many of your friends or family members see counselors and would gladly share their experiences (and names) with you.

Directories. Counselors list their services in online directories. You can learn about each counselor, their credentials, and the services they offer through directories. All Counseling offers a sortable directory of therapists to help you find a counselor in your area to fit your needs.  

Health Insurance Company. Your health insurance provider can give you a list of counselors they work with and whose services they cover.

Places of Worship. People within your religious community, including church leaders, can share names of counselors they recommend, especially if you’re looking for a faith-based counselor. 

Support Groups. Groups, such as those for LGBTQ+ people, often have lists of counselors they recommend for those within their groups.

Education Institutions. Universities, colleges, and schools of all types have counselors on staff, as well as outside counselors they recommend for services. 

Nonprofit Organizations. Organizations that serve niche communities with specialized needs often partner with counselors who they recommend to those they serve.    

Once you have a shortlist of counselor names to consider, research them online. Set up a phone consultation to see if the fit feels right for you. Your first session likely will be more like an interview where you try to determine face-to-face if the counselor is right for you. 

Sometimes you meet a counselor and you just know the fit is right. Other times it’s not. Then there are times when you aren’t sure, and it takes more than one session to decide. Please don’t give up, no matter how much searching it takes. It’ll be worth it when you find the right person. 

How to Know When a Counselor is Right for You

You Feel Comfortable. How you feel when talking to the counselor is a significant indicator of whether the fit is right. Do you feel comfortable talking to this person? Do you trust their expertise? Are they respectful of your time, feelings, and healing process? Do they share their thoughts on your diagnosis and advice with you? Like any other medical professional, you don’t want to partner with a counselor you don’t feel comfortable with or don’t trust completely.

They Understand You. Is your counselor respectful of your lifestyle choices and belief system? Do they acknowledge experiences you have that they cannot understand? If not, they may not be the right fit for you. It may even take you a few appointments to figure this out. Start by asking them about their philosophies on care. Also, even if they don’t have the same experiences as you, do they try to learn about impactful experiences to better understand and support you? Your counselor needs to fit you and your needs, not vice versa. If they aren’t willing to meet you where you are, they probably aren’t a good fit. 

You Share Goals. What are your goals for therapy? Does your counselor support those goals and express a willingness to work with you to accomplish them? If so, it’s more likely that you’re in the right place.

Their Expertise Fits. Does the counselor’s area of expertise fit with your mental health needs? You want to make sure the counselor you see is the right type. For example, you probably don’t want to go to a faith-based counselor if you don’t have strong religious beliefs.

Consider Cost. Sadly cost is a practical factor you have to deal with, even when searching for mental health services. Consider whether your insurance covers the counselors you meet with. Also, understand how much it will cost you out-of-pocket.

Evaluate Location and Hours. You’ll need to attend counseling appointments regularly. Consider whether the counselor’s office is convenient for you and whether their office hours fit your schedule well. 

If the counselor you choose is not a fit, it’s absolutely acceptable to move on. Not every counselor is the right fit for every person. Your goal is to find someone who is the perfect fit for you. And remember, you’ll likely only have to go through this process once before you form a long-lasting relationship with your chosen counselor.

Let All Counseling Help Find the Right Counselor for You

It’s critical that you find the right counselor for you, even if it takes meeting multiple counselors to find that fit. It will be worth the process when you find the right person to help you begin your journey of discovery and healing. All Counseling is here to help you get the mental health support you deserve. Use our searchable counselor directory to find the counselor you need.
Therapy Tools

Will My Insurance Cover Therapy?

You’ve recognized that you need a mental health professional to help work through some concerns. You chose a counselor with the right credentials and are ready to make an appointment. Now you’re wondering, “Will my insurance cover therapy?” The answer is “probably.”

Congress passed the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA) in 2008 to ensure equal treatment coverage for mental illness and addiction. The law requires that insurance companies treat mental health and substance use disorder coverage equal to or better than medical coverage. It means that insurance companies must handle mental and physical health treatment the same. 

But insurance companies still may determine “medical necessity” in mental health coverage. Also, the law doesn’t cover all insurance plans.

The bottom line is that if you have health insurance, it probably provides some coverage.

The questions then become things like:

How much of my therapy will insurance cover?Will insurance cover the counselor I want to see?What will I be responsible for out-of-pocket?When does coverage start?What counseling services will it cover?

We’ll answer all of those questions in this post.

Types of Insurance Coverage 

If you have insurance through your employer, it may include therapy coverage. Whether you have mental health coverage depends on the type of insurance you have. If your health insurance provides mental health coverages, deductibles and copays also likely apply. 

How much those cost and what you’re responsible for out of pocket, depends on your insurance plan. Copays typically are $10-$40, depending on your insurance. Therapists typically charge $75-$200 a session.

Types of insurance coverage include:

Employer Paid Insurance with 50+ Employees: Companies with 50 or more full-time employees must provide health insurance. While the mandate doesn’t include providing mental health services coverage, most coverage includes some counseling services. Employer Paid Insurance with Fewer Than 50 Employees: Smaller companies are not required to provide health insurance for employees. But if they do, they must include coverage for mental health services. Marketplace Plans: Health insurance purchased under the Affordable Care Act must include coverage for mental health services. The terms of that coverage vary.Children’s Health Insurance Program: CHIP federally-funded children’s health insurance provides mental health coverage. The terms of the coverage vary among states.Medicaid: All state-run Medicaid plans must cover mental health services. The terms of coverage vary among states.Medicare: Medicare coverage covers mental health services, but the amount of coverage and the amounts you must pay depend on your plan. It also doesn’t cover all types of therapy.

While almost all health insurance provides some coverage for mental health services, some people choose not to use it for their therapy. This decision is because insurance companies only pay for services they consider “medically necessary.” That means you must have an official diagnosis on file for them to pay claims. Some people are not comfortable having their diagnosis on file and their employer potentially becoming aware of it. 

How Do You Know if Your Insurance Covers Therapy?

You don’t want to make an appointment with your therapist, only to find that your insurance doesn’t cover it and you can’t afford their services. You also don’t want to find out too late that the counselor you’ve bonded with doesn’t accept your insurance.

To know if your insurance covers therapy:

Check with Your Insurance Provider: Your insurance provider will have a list of services they cover online. If you still aren’t sure or want to find a more straightforward answer, you can call your provider and ask if your plan covers counseling and all the details involved.Check with Human Resources: You likely aren’t the first person in your company to have a question about counseling coverage. Ask your company’s HR representative whether your insurance plan covers counseling and the details of that coverage.Ask the Counselor: When you call to set up an appointment with the counselor you choose, ask the person booking your appointment whether they accept your insurance. They may not know the details of the plan’s coverage, but they can at least tell you if they take your insurance.

Therapy Coverage by Major Insurance Company

Aetna
Nearly all Aetna Behavioral Health plans cover therapy for mental and behavioral health conditions. 

The Affordable Care Act requires that health insurance offered through the health insurance marketplace or small employers cover mental health services. While not required by federal law, most large employers also cover mental health services. 

While rare, your Aetna plan may not cover therapy services if: 

You work for a large employer that doesn’t include mental health benefits in its insurance coverage. Your health insurance plan was created before 2014 when the ACA enacted its mental health coverage requirement.

In other situations, your Aetna plan may not cover the specific type of therapy service you’re seeking, or your coverage may not apply until you spend a certain amount on medical services.

To determine your copay:

Log in to your member accountSelect “Find Care & Pricing” Type “Behavioral Health” to find providers in your network

You don’t need a referral when you visit any doctor in the Aetna network.

Learn more about Aetna mental health coverage. 

Anthem
Anthem covers mental health services. But Anthem Blue Cross won’t cover any therapies that aren’t evidence-based or based. Treatment also needs to be based upon a specific mental health diagnosis. For these reasons, Anthem Blue Cross will not cover career counseling, life coaching, holistic therapies, or reiki healing

Therapy costs with Anthem Blue Cross vary based on the specific plan. A copayment of $50-$65 or a 20-50% coinsurance per session with your in-network therapist is typical.

Anthem Blue Cross offers both HMO and PPO plans. If you have an HMO health insurance plan, you need a referral from your primary care physician before you begin searching for a therapist. If you have a PPO plan, you can start working with a therapist as soon as you’re ready.

To check if your Anthem Blue Cross health insurance plan covers therapy services, review your summary and benefits document. You’ll find this document through your online Anthem Blue Cross account. Within this document, you’ll find the different rates of coverage — including copayment or coinsurance amounts — for each type of service available. Look for “outpatient mental health services” to see your coverage for therapy.

Learn more about Anthem behavioral health coverage.

Beacon Health Options
Beacon Health Options covers mental health services. Beacon often covers different kinds of psychotherapy depending on your specific insurance plan. Therapy options usually include coverage for mental health conditions and substance use issues.

Your therapist may use various techniques, but some common types of individual therapy that Beacon Health Options usually covers include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Psychodynamic Therapy. You may also be covered for family or group therapy under your Beacon Health Options plan, depending on your specific coverage details. 

Before starting therapy, double-check that your therapist accepts your Beacon Health Options insurance plan. You can also contact Beacon Health Options directly to find out more about what therapies your plan covers. To contact Beacon, call the number on your insurance card or use the online client portal. 

Like most insurance, Beacon Health Options don’t usually covert: 

Couples counseling Life coaching Career coachingTherapy sessions outside the therapy office.

Contact the company directly if you’re not sure whether your plan covers a particular therapy.

The cost of therapy with Beacon Health Options changes, depending mostly on two key factors:

Your specific plan’s benefitsWhether you’re seeing a therapist who’s in-network with Beacon Health Options

Your deductible is the total amount you need to pay for medical costs each year before your insurance coverage begins. All your medical costs contribute to this, not just therapy costs. If you haven’t met your deductible for the year, your insurance usually will not cover therapy sessions, and you will be responsible for the total cost. 

After you meet your deductible, your coinsurance is a set fee you pay at every therapy session. It typically ranges from $15 to $50 per session.

Depending on what kind of plan you have, you may need to get a referral from your primary care physician to see a therapist through Beacon Health Options. Here are the requirements: 

HMO – Yes, you’re typically required to see your primary care physician for a referral before your insurance company will provide outpatient therapy coverage. POS – Yes, you’re typically required to see your primary care physician for a referral to therapy before your insurance company will provide outpatient coverage. PPO – No, you typically don’t need to see your primary care physician for a referral before accessing outpatient mental health services. EPO – No, you typically don’t need to see your primary care physician for a referral before accessing outpatient mental health services.

Learn more about Beacon mental health coverage. 

Blue Cross and Blue Shield
The majority of Blue Cross Blue Shield plans cover therapy. You may have coverage if you work for a large employer that doesn’t include mental health benefits in its insurance coverage, or your health insurance plan was created before 2014, when the ACA enacted the mental health coverage requirement.

There also are other situations when your Blue Cross Blue Shield plan may not cover the specific type of therapy service, or your coverage may not apply until you spend a certain amount on medical services first. 

If you choose a therapist in-network with Blue Cross Blue Shield, your therapy sessions likely cost $15 to $50 per session after meeting your deductible. The amount is your copay or the fixed amount you owe at each therapy visit. The deductible is the total amount you need to spend on medical costs in any given year before your health insurance begins to cover the cost of services. Here are examples of what you may see on your summary of benefits and what they mean: 

$15 copay, after $5,000 deductible – After you spend $5,000 in medical costs this year, your therapy sessions will cost $15 per session. $15 copay, after $1,000 deductible – After you spend $1,000 in medical costs this year, your therapy sessions will cost $15 per session. $15 copay, deductible does not apply – Your therapy sessions will cost $15 per session regardless of your deductible amount. 

If you choose a therapist who is not in-network with Blue Cross Blue Shield and have a Blue Cross Blue Shield PPO Plan, your therapy session will likely cost between $50-$100 per session or 20%-50% of the total amount that your therapist charges per session. This percentage is called coinsurance. You pay the therapist’s full fee at the session, send a claim to your health insurance company, and receive a check or direct deposit for the remaining percentage that your plan covers.

PPO plans typically only cover out-of-network services after you meet your deductible. Here are examples you may see on your summary of benefits and what they mean: 

20% coinsurance, after $5,000 deductible, therapist charges $100/session – After you spend $5,000 in medical costs this year, your plan will reimburse you $80 of your therapy session fee. Your therapy cost is $20 per session. 20% coinsurance, after $1,000 deductible, therapist charges $150/session – After you spend $1,000 in medical costs this year, your plan will reimburse you $120 of your therapy fee each time you submit a claim. Your therapy cost is $24/session.

If you choose a therapist who is not in-network with Blue Cross Blue Shield and you have a Blue Cross Blue Shield HMO or EPO plan, your plan will likely not reimburse you for sessions. You would owe the therapist’s full fee at the time of the session and not receive reimbursement. 

If cost is a barrier to seeking therapy, you can look for a therapist who offers a sliding scale or lower session fees based on financial need.

Whether you need to see your primary care doctor before visiting a Blue Cross Blue Shield therapist depends on your insurance plan type: 

HMO or POS plan – Yes, you are typically required to see your primary care physician for a referral to therapy before Blue Cross Blue Shield will pay for services. PPO or EPO plan – No, you typically don’t need to see your primary care physician for a referral to therapy before Blue Cross Blue Shield will pay for services.

To check whether your Blue Cross Blue Shield plan covers therapy, look for the “Outpatient Mental Health” line item on your summary of benefits. You can find your summary of benefits by logging into your Blue Cross Blue Shield Member Services portal (find your local Blue Cross Blue Shield company here), calling member services, or checking your employer’s benefits portal.

Learn more about Blue Cross Blue Shield behavioral health coverage.

CareFirst
CareFirst covers mental health services. To determine your copay, log in to your member account, select “Find Care & Pricing” and type “Behavioral Health” to find providers in your network.

No referral is required, and you can visit any doctor in network.

Learn more about CareFirst mental health coverage.

CareSource
CareSource offers behavioral health as part of your core benefits, so you can receive counseling and addiction services from your CareSource health plan. To determine your copay, you have to view your plan. 

If you want to see a mental health professional, you can go to any provider in the CareSource network. You don’t need a doctor’s referral or prior approval for most outpatient treatment. 

CareSource can help you find a provider close to you. For help finding a provider or more information, call member services at 833-674-6437. 

Centene Corporation
Centene Corporation covers behavioral health services, including substance use treatment. If you see a participating adviser, you will pay:

$65 copay per visit, deductible does not applyOther than office visit – No charge or 40% coinsurance Out of network – Not covered

Centene also can refer you to a behavioral health provider in your area.

Learn more about Centene Corporation’s mental health coverage.

Cigna
Cigna provides coverage to enable treatment of mental health conditions under employer-sponsored health plans. Your employer’s plan may include access to: 

A behavioral health network of licensed mental health providers Mental health services and follow up case management services Consultations, referral services, and outpatient services Referrals to local community support groups, behavioral coaches, and online resources

You pay your share of costs according to your Cigna plan. For plans with a deductible, you pay for care until you meet the plan deductible if it has one. When you meet the deductible, the plan covers some or all of your costs as outlined in your plan documents. There’s no separate deductible if mental health and substance use coverage is included under your employer’s medical plan.

A referral is required for Cigna to cover mental health services. Follow your employer’s medical plan requirements to make an appointment with a mental health professional. Your doctor, counselor, or therapist may also refer you and help you coordinate care or treatment.

Check your plan documents for information about treatments because you may need prior approval from Cigna before you get the service to receive coverage under your plan.

Learn more about Cigna mental health coverage.

HealthPartners
HealthPartners has 55 clinics across the Twin Cities and western Wisconsin. They see patients, including same day care at clinics or urgent care locations, and have a 24/7 nurse line.

The copay for a HealthPartners visit varies by plan. Behavioral health services don’t require a referral.

For more information call 952-883-5811 or 888-638-8787.

Humana
Humana covers behavioral health services, including for mental health and substance use. 

Your summary and benefits document lists the coverage provided for each service type. When you find your summary and benefits document, which is generally found online through your Humana portal, look for the “mental health services” line. You’ll find the coverage rates for both in-network and out-of-network therapy visits there.

You may need to see your primary care physician before starting therapy if you have an HMO plan. If your plan is PPO or FFS, you won’t need to see your primary care physician before finding a therapist. You can start searching for the right therapist for you whenever you’re ready. 

Learn more about Humana mental health coverage.

Kaiser Foundation
The Kaiser Foundation offers treatment and support for all mental, emotional, and substance use conditions. 

Your summary of benefits and coverage documents summarize essential information about your plan’s health benefits and coverage. 

Your first step in receiving benefits is to call the Kaiser Foundation office nearest you. You’ll talk to someone from the mental health care team or schedule an initial assessment for a later date. 

During your assessment, you’ll talk about what you’re experiencing, why you’re seeking care, things you can do to support your mental health, and what you hope to achieve through treatment. Your answers will help the team figure out what type of care will be most helpful for you. Treatment will continue from there.

Learn more about Kaiser Foundation’s mental healthcare services.

Medicare
Medicare only covers mental health services you receive through a licensed psychiatrist, clinical psychologist, or other health professional who accepts Medicare assignments. 

Medicare Part B (medical insurance) helps pay for the following outpatient mental health services: 

One depression screening per year from a primary care doctor or at a primary care clinic that can provide follow-up treatment and referralsIndividual and group psychotherapy with doctors (or with certain other licensed professionals, as the state where you get the services allows) Family counseling, if the purpose is to help with your treatment. Testing to determine if you’re getting the services and help you needPsychiatric evaluationMedication managementDiagnostic tests Partial hospitalization A one-time “Welcome to Medicare” preventive visit. This visit includes a review of your possible risk factors for depression. A yearly “wellness” visit. Talk to your doctor or other health care provider about changes in your mental health since your last visit. 

Part B also covers outpatient mental health services to treat substance use.

You pay nothing for your annual depression screening if your doctor or health care provider accepts the assignment. After you meet the Part B deductible, you pay 20% of the Medicare-approved amount for visits to your doctor or other health care provider to diagnose or treat your condition. If you get your services in a hospital outpatient clinic or hospital outpatient department, you may have to pay an additional copayment or coinsurance amount to the hospital.

Learn more about Medicare mental health coverage.

Magellan Health
Magellan Health specializes in behavioral health benefits and partners with other insurance companies to provide mental health coverage. 

To check if your Magellan Health plan covers therapy, find your summary and benefits document. This document lists how much your Magellan Health plan covers and how much of the costs will be your responsibility. Look under “outpatient mental health” or “mental/behavioral health outpatient services” to find this item. You can find your summary and benefits document through your Magellan Health online portal.

While the cost for therapy depends on your Magellan Health plan, expect to pay a coinsurance of 20-40% per session with your in-network therapist. This cost increases if you choose to see an out-of-network therapist. Cost also varies based on your primary health insurance plan.

Because Magellan Health contracts with various health insurance companies to provide behavioral health services, it depends on your health insurance plan whether you need a referral from your primary care physician before seeing a mental health professional. If you have an HMO health insurance plan, you will need to see your primary care physician first. But, if you have a PPO health insurance plan, you can start to look for a therapist that matches your needs as soon as you’re ready.

Learn more about Magellan Health mental health coverage.

Molina Healthcare
Molina Healthcare covers behavioral health services and treatment for substance use for providers in its network.

Members also can call Molina Healthcare’s Behavioral Health Crisis Line 24 hours a day, 365 days a year at 888-275-8750. The service connects you to a qualified nurse who can speak to you in your language.

Check your member handbook to determine if your plan includes a copay.

Call member services at 855-687-7861 if you need behavioral health or substance abuse services. 

Learn more about Molina Healthcare mental health coverage.

Mutual of Omaha (Medicare Supplement)
In general, Mutual of Omaha covers substance use and mental health treatment costs. Some of the specific plans available through Mutual of Omaha include a Mutually Preferred PPO Plan and HMO/POS plans.

Original Medicare Part B (medical insurance) helps pay for covered outpatient services. Mutual of Omaha frequently includes behavioral health services. 

Some plans require precertification, including possible authorization by another professional review organization. It is indicated on the member’s Mutually Preferred ID card if this is necessary. There are specific network procedures in these instances. 

Most outpatient behavioral health services may not require precertification, but it’s important to check with the company before obtaining service.

Learn more about Mutual of Omaha mental health coverage.

TRICARE (Military Insurance)
TRICARE covers various services for mental health and substance use disorders. Copays for treatment vary by plan.

You don’t need a referral or pre-authorization for outpatient mental health or substance use disorder care.

Learn more about TRICARE mental health coverage. 

United Healthcare
United Healthcare coverage of mental health services depends on your plan. You can sign in to your health plan or call the number on your member ID card to determine if you are eligible for services and, if so, what copays it requires.

Wellcare (Medicaid)
The WellCare Behavioral Health Integrated Program enables a holistic approach to care in which one integrated care management team is responsible for medical and behavioral health. Most Medicaid plans cover mental health services, but coverage varies by state.

Copays for mental health care services vary, but you don’t need approval or referral for coverage. 

Learn more about Medicaid mental health coverage in your state.

WPS
WPS offers behavioral management services, including mental healthcare and substance use treatment. 

The copay is $220 or less for behavioral health services.

The Behavioral Health Management program doesn’t require triage or prior authorization before contacting customer service or scheduling a behavioral health practitioner appointment. It requires prior approval for inpatient treatment and out-of-network practitioners or providers. 

Learn more about WPS mental health coverage.

What Types of Therapy Does Insurance Cover?

You may find out that your health insurance plan covers mental health services but still have some questions about when the coverage kicks in and what types of therapies it covers. 

The insurance provider and your company’s human resources representative can likely answer those questions.

To start your insurance coverage for therapy, you may need:

Pre-Authorization: Some health insurance plans require that they authorize coverage before receiving healthcare services, including those for mental health.To Meet a Deductible: As mentioned previously, you may have to reach an out-of-pocket deductible before your insurance company starts covering therapy. That means you may need to pay for your initial appointments before you receive coverage. If this is the case, you’ll need to consider how much those appointments will cost and whether paying for them is feasible.

If your health insurance covers mental health services, it typically covers an array of services, as long as they’re “medically necessary.” Make sure your plan covers the services that you need.

Mental health coverage insurance typically includes services for:

Mental health emergency servicesCo-occurring medical and mental health concernsTalk therapy (although your insurance may limit the number of sessions covered during a specific timeframe)Online therapyAddiction treatmentRehabilitation services

How All Counseling Can Help

All Counseling wants to make sure you receive the mental health support you deserve. Use our searchable counselor directory to find a counselor who fits your needs and accepts your insurance.
Therapy Tools. Artesian. Chicago. Illinois

How to Tell Someone They Need Therapy

“Girl, you need some help!” You know you’ve wanted to say this at one point or another. Especially since the No. 1 reason people go to therapy is to figure out how to deal with other people who refuse to go. But you can’t just blurt it out that way. You have to figure out how to tell someone they need therapy to encourage them to take action and not turn them against you.

In today’s post, we’ll review some of the ways you can help someone see they need therapy.

It’s difficult to see someone you care about struggling, especially when you know they could get help. But you have to tell someone they need therapy in a careful, loving way, so they respond positively.

9 Ways You Can Help Make a Difference

1. Educate Yourself

You’re probably not a doctor, so you can’t just start randomly recommending mental health treatment to others. Before you recommend therapy, it’s essential to understand what therapy is and why people seek it. Therapy helps people with various mental illnesses and emotional challenges. It can help eliminate or control symptoms so the person can feel better. Counseling isn’t just for people with mental illness. It’s for anyone who has trouble regulating their emotions or who wants to talk something over with a caring, compassionate, yet unbiased expert.  

Therapy treats emotional health concerns including:

Difficulty regulating emotionsExperiencing traumaMedical illnessGrief and lossMental health disordersAddictionDifficulty coping with daily life

2. Talk in Private

Going to therapy and what happens in sessions are private matters, just like other medical appointments. That means discussions about treatment and emotional health matters also are private. When you recommend therapy to a loved one, make sure to do so in private. You’re unlikely to get a positive response if you encourage counseling in front of others.

3. Take It Seriously

If you want your loved one to take your recommendation for therapy seriously, you need to discuss it genuinely. Explain what precisely you’re concerned about and why you think they may benefit from counseling. Be empathetic in your tone and word choices. But do not offer sympathy in a way that makes the person think you pity them.

4. Be Confidential

Make sure your loved one understands that what you’re discussing is between the two of you. Let them know you’re talking about counseling with them because you’re concerned about their wellbeing. And that you won’t repeat any of what the two of you say to anyone else. It’s not your story to tell, so keep this promise.

5. Share Your Personal Experience

Perhaps one of the most effective ways to convince someone to try therapy is by sharing your own counseling experiences. After you tell your loved one what you’re concerned about, explain why you went to counseling and how it helped you. This explanation is even more beneficial if you have similar mental health concerns and recognize them in your loved one.

6. Destigmatize the Experience

The stigma surrounding mental health is one of the reasons it’s so difficult for people to go to therapy. Almost half of Americans believe it is weak to get counseling. Prepare for this view from your loved one. Help destigmatize therapy by talking about your own experience or that of others you know (if you have their permission). Tell them it’s brave and responsible to take care of their physical and mental health. 

7. Offer to Help

Another common reason people don’t go to therapy is that they don’t know where to go, how to pay for it, or what to expect. Offer to help your loved one find the right counselor. Offer also to help them research whether their insurance pays for therapy. And share your experience about what to expect from counseling, especially that first therapy appointment. Don’t just tell them they need to go to therapy and run. Offer to assist them right through booking that first session. You may even offer to drive them to the appointment to help get them there.

8. Provide Ongoing Support

Helping your loved one doesn’t end with their first therapy appointment. Offer support through the therapeutic process. Be there to talk when and if they want to. Use the same empathy and care you used when you discussed starting therapy.

9. Don’t Bug or Be Overly Persistent

You are not the therapy police. Your loved one may not be ready to go to therapy. If they say “no,” you need to respect that, even if you disagree. If they decide to go to therapy, they don’t have to discuss it with you, nor should you ask them about their sessions. If they want to talk to you about their appointments or things they discuss, they will. Otherwise, you’ve done your part by encouraging them to go.

Finding Support and Help

Telling someone they need therapy is a difficult thing to do, but infusing empathy into the discussion can make a major difference in the end results. You never know how they will respond, but if you care about a person, it’s vital to tell them that you see them struggling and you offer help and support.

All Counseling also wants to help. We want to help your loved ones find the right counselor to get them the mental health support they deserve. They can use our searchable therapist directory to find the counselor they need.

How to Encourage Someone to See a Therapist | NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness. (2021). Retrieved 21 October 2021, from https://www.nami.org/Blogs/NAMI-Blog/November-2017/How-to-Encourage-Someone-to-See-a-Therapist

The #1 Reason People Go to Therapy | Amen Clinics. (2021). Retrieved 9 October 2021, from https://www.amenclinics.com/blog/the-1-reason-people-go-to-therapy/
Therapy Tools

Why Is It So Hard to Go to Therapy?

You know why you don’t want to go to the dentist. After all, who wants a drill on their teeth? And pretty much every annual exam comes with uncomfortable tests that everyone would rather avoid. But is the same true for therapy? Why is it so hard to go to therapy?

The likely reason it’s so challenging to go to therapy is the stigma that still surrounds mental health concerns. Nearly half of Americans believe therapy is a sign of weakness. This belief exists even though one out of every six Americans was in therapy in 2020.

One out of every six people took steps to better their emotional health, the same way they overcame fear to care for their physical or oral health. It doesn’t seem weak. It seems brave and responsible.

How to Know If You Need Therapy

Therapy helps people with various mental illnesses and emotional challenges. It can help eliminate or control symptoms so the person can feel better. Counseling isn’t just for people with mental illness. It’s for anyone who has trouble regulating their emotions or who wants to talk something over with a caring, compassionate, yet unbiased expert.

Therapy treats emotional health concerns including:

Difficulty regulating emotions
Experiencing trauma
Medical illness
Difficulty coping with daily life
Grief and loss
Mental health disorders
Addiction

If you’re experiencing any of these concerns or don’t feel like you’re living up to your expectations for your life, you should consider therapy.

What Keeps People From Seeking Therapy?

The stigma surrounding mental health issues and caring for your mental health is the primary reason it’s so difficult for people to go to therapy. But once people get help from a mental health professional, they’re almost always glad they did. You can work through any issues that are holding you back from therapy.

You Don’t Know Where to Go

Finding the right counselor for you is intimidating enough to make many people delay going to therapy. Sometimes finding the right therapist takes time and requires meeting with multiple mental health professionals before you find the right fit. Whether you interview multiple counselors or connect with the first one you meet, your mental health is worth the investment of time. Once you find the right counselor, it’s unlikely that you’ll need to search again.

Not sure where to begin looking for a counselor? Try All Counseling’s searchable counselor directory.

You Don’t Know What to Expect

Uncertainty frequently results in procrastination. You may put off going to therapy because you don’t know what to expect. But you are totally in control of your treatment. Many visits will be like having a conversation with a doctor in an office. Your counselor would discuss other non-talk therapeutic approaches with you, and you would have the opportunity to agree to any changes in methods.

In your first therapy appointment, you and your counselor get to know each other and determine if the fit is right.

Your therapist likely will ask you questions in the first appointment like:

What brought you to therapy?
What are your symptoms?
How long have you had these symptoms?
How have you been handling these feelings?

The counselor will also ask you general medical information and questions about your history and current living situation. Then they will answer any questions you have.

In the first session, you and your counselor will agree on a general therapy treatment plan. This plan lays the groundwork for what to expect in future sessions.

You Don’t Know How You’ll Pay

Once you find a therapist you’re interested in, you should determine how you’ll pay for the appointment. The fees therapists charge range from $75-$200 per session. Many health insurance plans cover therapy, but the coverage varies. Even with insurance, you’ll likely need to pay a copay of $10-$40. Check with your insurance administrator or the counselor’s office to determine if they accept your insurance and how much you’ll need to pay for each appointment. Many therapists offer special payment arrangements for people who don’t have insurance or can’t afford the fee.

You’re Afraid of What You’ll Learn

Any health-related diagnosis can be frightening, including those related to mental health issues. It makes sense if you put off therapy because you’re afraid of your diagnosis or what you’ll learn about yourself. Working on your mental health can be intimidating. And there may be times when you wonder if therapy is working. But here’s the thing. If you’re considering counseling, you know you need to go. That means the uncertainty of what you’ll discover is probably more distressing than knowing the truth.

All Counseling Understands that Going to Therapy is Hard

Just get in the door. Making the appointment and walking into the counselor’s office is a brave step that sets you on the path to improving your mental health. The majority of people who go to therapy report positive results. It’s worth pushing beyond fear. All Counseling wants to help you find the right counselor to get the mental health support you deserve. Use our searchable therapist directory to find the counselor you need.

Shocking number of Americans say 2020 pushed them to try therapy for the first time – digitalhub. (2021). Retrieved 21 October 2021, from https://swnsdigital.com/2021/01/shocking-number-of-americans-say-2020-pushed-them-to-try-therapy-for-the-first-time/
Therapy Tools

Types of Child Therapy

The decision to put your child in therapy can be a scary one to make. You might feel nervous about putting your child in the care of someone else. Or you might be fearful that they won’t benefit from therapy. And we all understand that kids can, well, say embarrassing comments unintentionally. We want to break down all the types of childhood therapies so you can understand better. We will explain what child therapy is, different approaches to child therapy, what it includes, and how it can help.

What is Child Therapy?

Child therapy is a way for parents to seek outside assistance for a child who has problems coping with everyday life. Children who struggle with emotions and behavior or find it challenging to deal with stress benefit from a safe, therapeutic relationship.

Therapy for children can include different activities that promote healthy emotional and behavioral regulation, including:

Playing games
Drawing or painting
Dancing
Reading
Writing

Counselors can tailor activities to encourage the development of social skills, anger management, communication, and healthy emotional expression.

How Can A Child Benefit From Therapy?

As a parent, you may wonder what the benefits of child therapy are. You may also question whether therapy makes a difference for children. Research shows that when children have healthy relationships with trusted adults, it’s easier for them to cope with challenges. A counselor can provide a safe, trusting environment that adds additional support to the child’s life.

Therapy for children takes an active learning position that allows children to practice skills in real-time. Each child might need practice on specific skills. Your child’s counselor will have in-depth conversations with them about their lives, feelings, and problems. From there, your child’s counselor can tailor therapy to their specific needs.

Specific ways therapy can help children include:

assessing ongoing conditions in your child’s life and keeping you aware of anything that needs attention
developing a continuing practice of emotional awareness
processing any difficulties or challenges that may arise

Types of Child Therapy

Just as there are many approaches to therapy for adults, there are different approaches to therapy for children. The following are some of the most common types of therapy used with children.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for children helps explain how emotions and thoughts connect to behaviors. By identifying and replacing negative thinking patterns with more positive ones, your child can incorporate this positive thinking into more positive behavior.

For example, a child might become angry upon hearing laughter when they walk into the cafeteria. They assume someone made a joke about them. CBT teaches children to recognize the other possibilities and the triggers associated with their feelings. Maybe that first thought they had isn’t true. Maybe someone in the cafeteria told a funny joke that has nothing to do with them. By brainstorming different ways of thinking, they can avoid anger. Instead, they join in the conversation and ask what the joke was.

With practice CBT teaches children how to recognize triggers, emotions and teaches skills to cope.

Play Therapy

Play is essential in a child’s development. Children begin to understand the world around them through play. For example, by playing house or playing imaginary characters inspired by their favorite superhero.

A counselor might play a game with a child to understand the child’s view on a situation that’s bothering them. Play Therapy can also help teach children healthy coping skills in a way that keeps them engaged.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy helps older children work through traumatic experiences. Counselors adapt this approach from work used in adults dealing with a Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder diagnosis.

DBT’s goal is to help older children and adolescents learn to accept their feelings regarding their trauma. It also helps them develop more positive patterns of thinking about themselves. These new ways of thinking lessen emotional distress. Counselors also can administer DBT in a group setting for similar age groups. Groups add the benefit of social skills to the therapeutic setting.

Family-Focused Treatment

Sometimes, children need to work on specific skills that involve the whole family. Learning appropriate behavior, emotion regulation strategies, and boundaries can include parents and siblings. It’s Family-Focused Treatment because it incorporates the entire family’s dynamics to help foster change. Families can benefit from practicing healthy communication skills in a therapeutic setting. A counselor can intervene if family members express words or feelings in unhelpful ways.

Parent-Child Therapy

Parent-Child Interaction Therapy examines the dynamic between a parent and a child or between both parents and a child. This therapy is helpful for parents who need to work on specific parenting skills, such as appropriate discipline or managing boundaries with their child.

PCIT focuses on these skills to facilitate the child’s ability to manage difficult emotions and control problematic behavior. This work can enhance the parent-child relationship.

Group Therapy

Children benefit from spending time with other children their age. Group Therapy works by increasing socialization and communication skills. Group Therapy for children often incorporates activities, such as games, art, learning a new skill, or practicing academic skills.

Group Therapy allows children to meet and interact with peers dealing with similar concerns. This interaction is beneficial for some children and helps them realize they are not alone.

Music and Art Therapy

Sometimes referred to as expressive arts, music and art therapy are good approaches for children. As they utilize creative expression, children are natural candidates for these therapeutic approaches. By listening to or learning to play an instrument, children utilize parts of their brain that expand their development. By expressing their emotions through art, children can have a safe, therapeutic place to make their inner world and experience make more sense.

Your child’s counselor may use a combination of various expressive arts activities and skills practice. This helps your child express themselves. They also practice a skill that can help them improve their behavior or regulate their emotions.

Supporting Your Child in Therapy

As a parent, you want to be a supportive part of your child’s therapeutic process. Being supportive includes encouraging your child to participate, being empathetic to any struggles your child expresses while in therapy, and maintaining realistic goals.

The therapy process takes time. Your child might need time adjusting to this new supportive relationship. Make sure you’re not putting pressure on your child or yourself to get them “fixed” in a short amount of time.

Try not to demand that your child tell you every detail about what happened in their therapy session. They may have a difficult time remembering everything they did. Your child’s counselor will inform you of what you need to know.

Lastly, remind your child that you love and care for them. Remind them that sometimes therapy can be difficult but that you’re proud of them for making an effort. Continue providing praise and support throughout the therapeutic process. You want your child to know you’re cheering them on.

How All Counseling Can Help

If you think your child would benefit from one of the types of child therapy, contact All Counseling. We’ll help you get connected to a counselor in your area that can meet your child’s needs. With a detailed directory of various counselors and the ability to filter by approach, insurance acceptance, age, treatment type, state, and more, All Counseling is the place where you can get the mental health support you need.
Therapy Tools

Does Therapy Work?

About 40 million Americans received therapy in 2019, and we know the number of people seeking help since the COVID-19 pandemic hit has increased. And still, a lot of people leave their therapist’s office after a session still struggling and wondering if therapy actually works. 

The answer is yes, therapy does work, but it does require that you find the right therapist and you understand what progress of therapy looks like.

What is Therapy?

Therapy helps you understand and process your feelings, motivations, and actions so you feel better emotionally and are better equipped to handle challenges in the future. Different types of psychotherapy treat various mental health disorders and concerns. There also are various types of counselors who perform these professional mental health services.

Creating a Therapy Treatment Plan

Once you find the right counselor for you, the two of you work together to create a treatment plan, which will serve as a guide for your future work and healing. 

Counseling treatment plans include:

Assessment – The history and backstory the counselor gathered during your first counseling session.Presenting Problem – The issue or concern that brought you to therapy. This part of the plan also will include an official diagnosis at some point.Goals for Therapy – An outline of what you hope to accomplish through counseling.Methods – A list of the therapeutic techniques the counselor plans to use to help you accomplish your therapy goals.Plan – A summary of how long the counselor thinks it will take you to accomplish your goals together. This component includes how often you should attend sessions, how long those sessions will be, and how long they expect your overall treatment to take.

The therapy treatment plan guides everything that happens in your sessions. It secures an understanding of what you and your counselor are trying to accomplish together. If the treatment plan changes during therapy, and it may, you and your counselor discuss the changes.

How To Know if Therapy is Working

It’s easy to wonder if therapy works when you’re in the midst of your treatment plan. Working through emotional health issues can leave you feeling drained and maybe even worse after counseling sessions. But don’t mistake these feelings for lack of progress. They probably mean that you and your counselor are working through important issues together.

Consider Your Diagnosis – Think about your therapy treatment plan when you wonder if therapy works or if it’s working for you. You now have an official diagnosis. Before you went to treatment, you either didn’t know what was going on with you, or you were guessing. Now you have a formal diagnosis that allows you to better understand your feelings, symptoms, and how to heal from them.Review Your Goals – Review the goals outlined in your therapy treatment plan. Have you accomplished some goals outlined in the plan? Are you moving toward accomplishing others? Do you have a better understanding of yourself? If you’re reaching your goals, you’re making the progress your mental health expert thinks you should make, whether you feel like you’re progressing or not.Ponder the Methods – Think about the methods outlined in your treatment plan. Chances are if you are feeling poorly after sessions, it’s because you’re putting in the work. It’s emotionally tiring to unpack your baggage and false beliefs to move toward healing. The treatment methods your counselor is using may be meant to make you think about things you don’t want to revisit and reframe or understand them better. If you’re doing that, even if it’s uncomfortable, it means therapy is working.Measure Control – A lot of people go to therapy because of things that make them feel out of control. Whether they survived a trauma, don’t feel like they’re living up to their full potential, or have spiraling anxiety, therapy helps you neutralize threats and re-establish a sense of control over yourself and your situation. If you’re feeling more in control of your life, you probably have therapy to thank.Ask Your Therapist – If you don’t feel like you’re improving with therapy, ask your counselor what they think. Maybe they see a real improvement that you haven’t identified. Or perhaps they need to change methods. Anytime you feel discomfort from therapy, it’s good to discuss those feelings with your mental health professional.

All Counseling Knows Therapy Works

Therapy may not always make you feel comfortable. You may even feel tired or down after counseling sessions. These feelings likely are because you’re working through some challenges. Always talk to your therapist if you’re uncertain if you’re making progress. The majority of people who go to therapy report positive results.

All Counseling wants to help you find the right counselor to help you get the mental health support you deserve. Use our searchable therapist directory to find the counselor you need.

2020 was so bad, 1 in 6 Americans entered therapy for the first time!. (2021). Retrieved 21 October 2021, from https://www.studyfinds.org/2020-so-bad-americans-entered-therapy-first-time/

Mental health treatment or counseling among adults U.S. 2002-2019 | Statista. (2021). Retrieved 21 October 2021, from https://www.statista.com/statistics/794027/mental-health-treatment-counseling-past-year-us-adults/
Therapy Tools

What to Expect from Your First Therapy Session

It’s time for your first therapy session. You’re anxious and a bit uncertain, but you’re also excited to get started and to start feeling better. Before the appointment, here’s what to expect from your first therapy session.

What Will Your First Session Look Like?

Your first therapy session isn’t like the others you will attend. The appointment’s goal is for you and your counselor to get to know each other. The majority of the session might feel like “housekeeping” as you and your therapist lay the foundation for successful treatment.

Completing Paperwork

As with any other medical appointment, you have to complete a fair amount of paperwork before your first therapy session. Just like with another doctor, completing paperwork is only necessary once, so there is no need to worry that you’ll have to deal with it every time.

You likely will be given forms or told where the paperwork is online when you schedule an appointment. It’s also possible that they’ll ask you to complete some or all of the forms and return them before your first session. The early submission allows your counselor to review your concerns and medical history before your session, so they understand your issues beforehand.

It’s important to be as thorough as possible in completing the paperwork, as you can expect your therapist to review anything you left blank. If you are seeing your therapist in person, they also may ask you to attend your first session early to complete paperwork.

Paying for Services

You may be asked to pay for your session before or after you meet with your counselor. Most counselors receive payment after the session so you can book your next appointment at the same time. Therapists charge $75-$300 per session often depending on a therapist’s training, experience, and qualifications.

Many health insurance plans cover therapy, and some therapists file insurance for you, so you may be asked to submit your insurance information. Even with insurance, you’ll likely need to pay a copay of $10-$80.

Health Screening

The counselor’s staff may ask you to do a short health screening each time you arrive for an appointment. An assistant may do the screening, which could include weighing you and checking your blood pressure or temperature. They will then document this data in your chart for your therapist. These screenings help your counselor assess whether a physical health issue may be causing or exacerbating your mental health concerns. Not all counselors do these screenings.

Answering Basic Questions

Although you’ve completed the paperwork, your therapist likely will ask you basic questions during your appointment. After you introduce yourselves to each other, your therapist will review your medical history and the reason for the session.

Your therapist likely will ask you about things like:

Where do you live?
Who do you live with?
How would you describe your home life?
Where do you work?
How long have you worked there?
Where did you grow up?
Do you have siblings?
What are your relationships with your family like?
What was your parents’ relationship like?
What was your household like?
Any addiction, mental health issues with members of your family?

As a trauma therapist, I often have my clients complete the ACE Inventory to discover their ACE Score. The ACE Inventory helps a therapist assess for various types of childhood trauma under the age of 18. Adverse Childhood Experiences in children, left untreated, often lead to various physical and mental health challenges as adults. Examples of these concerns include diabetes, heart disease, substance use disorders, anxiety, depression, disordered eating, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Discussing Concerns

Your therapist needs to know why you’re seeking therapy. This need means they’ll ask you many questions about why you’re seeking treatment, your symptoms, and how you’ve been coping.

Your therapist will ask mental health questions like:

What brought you to therapy?
What are your symptoms?
How long have you had these symptoms?
How have you been handling these feelings?
Have you sought treatment in the past?
How did that work for you?
Are you currently working with another therapist?
Do you have any mental health issues in your family history?
How is your home life?
Are you thinking about harming yourself or others?
Do you have a history of suicidal thoughts or self-harm?
What do you hope to achieve from therapy?

Remember, it is important to be honest with your therapist. They can only help you when they know what is really going on.

As a therapist, I am aware of how challenging a first appointment can be for some people. A perfect stranger is asking you to expose your soul to them. Of course, that would feel uncomfortable. That’s why it’s so important to do your homework when selecting a therapist.

A therapeutic relationship is built on trust and honesty. If you don’t feel comfortable with your therapist and something feels off, you may want to consider finding another therapist.

Asking Questions

Your counselor will offer to answer any questions you have about therapy. I often encourage clients to come to counseling prepared. You may want to jot down questions in advance, so you don’t forget them when you’re at the appointment. It’s also helpful to come with a pen and paper to take notes of things you don’t want to forget.

Questions you may want to ask your counselor include:

Are our sessions confidential?
Is there a time when they wouldn’t be?
How long have you been a therapist?
Why did you become a therapist?
What therapeutic approaches do you use?
What do you think about what you’ve heard from me so far?
Can you help me?
What type of experience do you have assisting other people like me?
How often will we need to meet?
What kind of work should I plan to do between sessions?

For some people, it’s also important to know if their counselor attends therapy or ever has. If this question (or any others) makes you feel more comfortable about your counselor’s ability to treat you, you should ask it.

I think therapists need to do their own work. Meaning, they need to either see a therapist themselves or attend intensive workshops to work on themselves. They also should go to training and consult with other therapists. I don’t recommend seeing a therapist who doesn’t do these things.

Revealing Initial Thoughts

Likely toward the end of your session, your counselor will tell you their initial thoughts about the concerns that brought you to therapy. If they don’t volunteer their thoughts, ask them, so you aren’t left wondering after the session. Your therapist may be confident in an initial diagnosis after your brief meeting. They also may need more information. But they can tell you what they think based on your first therapy session. This diagnosis may change as your therapist learns more about you and your specific situation.

Creating a Treatment Plan

In the first session, you and your counselor will agree on a therapy treatment plan. This collaborative plan will include the length of your sessions, how frequently you’ll meet, what they suspect you’re experiencing, and how they plan to treat it. Your treatment plan also may change as you work together more, but your counselor should always keep you informed of any changes. You also can refuse or refute changes if you disagree with them.

It’s important to remember that most therapists are trained to “meet a client where they are.” This adage means the therapist may need to change your plan if new concerns arise. For example, if you have a treatment plan that you’ve agreed to work on reducing your anxiety, and you come into your next session and state that your grandfather just passed away, it would be appropriate for your therapist to shift the plan to help you process your feelings around your grandfather’s passing.

The change doesn’t mean the therapist isn’t tending to the treatment plan. They are meeting you where you are. You could expect your therapist to return to the treatment plan as long as that is how you want to use your scheduled time.

Addressing Immediate Concerns

Before the end of your first session, your therapist will address any immediate mental health concerns. They may ask you to start taking a specific prescription, give you homework, or even send you to the hospital if you are a danger to yourself or others. Your counselor wants to make sure you are safe and able to take care of yourself after you leave.

Don’t Get Discouraged

About 20% of people who seek help stop their counseling too soon. The most common reason people become discouraged after their first therapy session is because they don’t necessarily feel better. They didn’t have the breakthrough they were expecting after the first session. But the first session is about establishing a patient/counselor relationship and laying the groundwork for future treatment. You should ask yourself how you felt about the session, but don’t get frustrated if you don’t feel better immediately. You’ll notice more progress after subsequent sessions.

Some people terminate treatment because they change their mind about wanting help. For example, they may decide they no longer want to work on their marriage or stop drinking. I always explain to clients that my door is always open for them, if they decide they want help.

Some people just need a break from therapy because it is hard work. It takes time for people to change. It doesn’t happen overnight. But, if you stick with it, you usually begin to feel some relief from your symptoms. You get even better over time.

Adjust if Needed

You may determine at any time that a specific counselor is not the right fit for you. You may even make this decision after the first therapy session. You have to feel comfortable with your counselor and feel like you’re moving in the right direction. If you don’t, make a change.

If your therapist isn’t sharing information about their diagnosis with you, isn’t encouraging you to make progress, or helping you learn and grow, I suggest you seek help from someone else. While it may be disappointing, it will be worthwhile when you’re partnered with the right counselor and on your way to healing.

How All Counseling Can Help

Your first therapy session should not be intimidating or stressful. The session’s purpose is for you and your counselor to meet and get to know each other. If you don’t feel like the counselor is right for you, you can change at any time. All Counseling wants to help you find the right counselor to help you get the mental health support you deserve. Use our searchable therapist directory to find the counselor you need.

Are your clients leaving too soon?. (2021). Retrieved 30 September 2021, from https://www.apa.org/monitor/2015/04/clients

What to Expect In Your First Therapy Session. (2021). Retrieved 30 September 2021, from https://www.lyrahealth.com/blog/what-to-expect-first-therapy-session/
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How to Get Started With Therapy

You think you need to go to therapy, but you feel nervous about the process. You want to get help for the issues bothering you, but you don’t know how to get started with therapy. Don’t let uncertainty about what to expect intimidate you or keep you from getting the help you need. This post explains the basics of how treatment works.

6 Steps to Get You Started

People beginning therapy for the first time may feel uncertain about the process. Treatment doesn’t need to be intimidating. Regardless of which type of talk therapy you’re receiving, the process is pretty much the same.

1. Choose a Therapist

The first step is to decide you want to seek help. The second step is to find the right counselor for you. This step may be the most challenging part, depending on how well and how quickly you mesh with the counselor you choose.

Sometimes finding the right therapist takes time and requires meeting with multiple mental health professionals before you find the right fit. Whether you interview multiple counselors or connect with the first one you meet, your mental health is worth the investment of time. Once you find the right counselor, it’s unlikely that you’ll need to search again.

2. Consider Payment

Once you find a therapist you’re interested in, you should determine how you’ll pay for the appointment. If payment isn’t clearly discussed early on, it can be like another client in the room. You can’t be free to do the work of therapy if you’re worried about payment.

The fees therapists charge can range from $75-$200 per session. Many health insurance plans cover therapy, but the coverage varies. Even with insurance, you’ll likely need to pay a copay of $10-$40.

Check with your insurance administrator or the counselor’s office to determine if they accept your insurance and how much you’ll need to pay for each appointment. Many therapists offer payment via a sliding scale for those who don’t have insurance or can’t afford the fee for service. 

3. Make an Appointment

The best way to determine if a counselor is a right fit is to meet them either virtually or in person. Many therapists provide a 15-minute no-fee consultation. Call the office and make an appointment. The person scheduling the appointment will tell you everything you need to know for the initial meeting, including any paperwork you need to complete beforehand and where to locate it. 

4. Prepare for the Appointment

You don’t need to do much to prepare for your first therapy appointment. After you make the appointment and complete the necessary paperwork, make sure you know where the office is or the credentials to log-in for a virtual meeting. Then you just show up on time (or early, if they requested you do so) to meet your counselor for the first time.

Before your first appointment, consider the following questions you may want to ask your counselor:

Can I trust that the information I share with you is confidential?How many sessions do you think I’ll need?What’s your approach to therapy?How long will each session last?What can I expect from our future sessions?

5. Attend the Counseling Appointment

The first appointment isn’t like the others you will attend. The goal of the initial appointment is for you and your counselor to get to know each other. This first meeting allows you to determine if the fit is right.

Approach your first appointment like an interview where you and your therapist ask one another questions and learn about each other. Each of you will have your questions answered and enter your relationship feeling more comfortable.

Your therapist likely will ask you questions in the first appointment like:

What brought you to therapy?What are your concerns?How long have you felt this way?How have you been handling these feelings?

The counselor will also ask you general medical information and questions about your history and current living situation. 

In the first session, you and your counselor will agree on a general therapy treatment plan. The plan will include the length of your sessions, how frequently you’ll meet, what they suspect (based on the limited information they have from that meeting) you’re experiencing, and how they will engage with you to create a treatment plan.

Your treatment plan likely will change as your therapist gets to know you better and you work together. Your counselor should always keep you informed of and be agreeable to any changes.

6. Adjust as Needed

Not only may your treatment plan change, but you may also determine at any time that a specific counselor is not the right fit for you. You have to feel comfortable with your counselor and feel like you’re making progress. If you don’t, it’s probably time for a change.

If your therapist isn’t sharing information about their diagnosis with you or challenging you to make progress, treating you like an equal, and helping you learn and grow, then it’s time to move on. While it may be disappointing to start the process over, it will be worthwhile when you’re connected with the right counselor and on your way to healing.

Let All Counseling Help You Get Started With Therapy

Some people wonder why they should talk to a therapist instead of a family member or friend. After all, why pay to talk to someone when you can do it for free? Therapy is about much more than talking. Counselors have professional training to prepare them to help people through all types of life challenges. And the vast majority of people who go to therapy report positive results.

All Counseling wants to help you find the right counselor to help you get the mental health support you deserve. Use our searchable counselor directory to find the counselor you need.
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