Find a Counselor - Helpful Ideas on How to Search for CounselingQuality Counseling Services
Find a Counselor – Searching for Counseling
Some of us have a hard time making an initial call to a counselor no matter what the circumstances. You could be worrying about it because you aren’t sure what it will be like, or what the counselor will be like. You could also be thinking that there is some big stuff that needs to be talked about and worry about how that is going to go.
It shouldn’t also be difficult to find a counselor, on top of all that.
It is difficult though! So I hope the information below is helpful to you. If you aren’t sure how to do this, or you aren’t getting a response from anyone you have contacted, I hope these tips and guidelines help you.
Some mental health providers take insurance or are “in network” with most of them, some are only in network with a few insurance companies, and some don’t take any at all. If you need to use insurance for your counseling, you may want to ask about this first before you tell the person what is going on.
With insurance you can still choose to pay out of pocket for a counselor if you want to do that. You can also choose to submit claims yourself and if you want to do that, ask your counselor to provide you with a receipt, or superbill. A superbill/receipt needs to have all the codes that insurance companies use to process claims.
You’ll need to look for a provider that is able to take Medicaid and also someone who works with the Medicaid organization that manages your care. These managed care organizations are called RAEs or Regional Accountability Entities. The ones that most people in the Denver area are with is called Colorado Access. The other organization is called Colorado Community Health Alliance or CCHA. (There are also a few other RAEs in Colorado but if you live in the Denver area, one of these is most likely the one you are with).
You can find out by calling the telephone number on your Medicaid ID card.
This is really important because you are not allowed to pay out of pocket if you are receiving a service that is covered by Medicaid, and providers are not allowed to collect any fees for covered services either. This isn’t restricted to just in network Medicaid providers, it is all providers.
“Out of Pocket” or “Private Pay”
If you are paying the fee for your counseling yourself, providers refer to this as paying “out of pocket” or “private pay.”
Find a Counselor
Search in more than one way and on more than one website. The more you read counselor biographies, the more you will get a feel for each person and what feels good for you.
If you are using insurance, Medicaid or are receiving help with counseling costs from another source, the best place to start your search is in a directory with that organization. For instance, if you have Anthem BC/BS insurance, searching for a provider in their online directory starts you off with the best chance that whoever you find should still be in network with them (you still need to check when you reach that provider – those directories aren’t updated frequently enough!).
There are also several online directories, such as Psychology Today, Therapy Tribe, Good Therapy, and others. They have different features, and in particular you can often search for a topic such as trauma or grief, along with insurance/Medicaid if you have it, or location.
Once you have a couple of names, Google them. Read their websites. All of this will give you a sense of how it might be to interact with this person and if they can be helpful to you.
If you have circumstances such as you need to find lower cost services, or you have a specialized need, add this into how you are searching. For instance, many counselors place a listing on a site called Open Path Collective if they offer lower cost counseling.
Many people have told me that they reach out to several counselors and hear back from only a few (or no one). When you do reach out to someone, give them some logistical detail on your voice mail or email to them: mention that you have insurance, the company, and that you found them in that company’s directory (or other payment information such as you will be paying out of pocket); ask them to call you back even if they aren’t available; and let them know a little about how flexible you can be with appointment times. Also, don’t forget to listen during their greeting because they might say they don’t have availability, and you’ll know right then to take them off your list of possible counselors.
Please don’t give up! If you still have trouble, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You’ll get an automatic email response with more information in it and if you let me know what trouble you are having, I may be able to give you more specific information to help.