Updated: Oct 24
Admitting to yourself that you could use some help is hard enough, but sometimes it can feel even harder to find someone to help you. In fact, the OhioPHP Covid-19 Well-being Survey showed that forty percent of Ohio healthcare workers who were distressed didn’t seek help because they didn’t know where to turn (1).
Here are some ways to find a therapist:
Employee Assistance Program
Find out if your employer offers an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) as one of your benefits. You may be eligible to get some free therapy sessions through the EAP. If you need continued services, the EAP will usually work with you to connect to a therapist covered by your insurance.
Ask Friends and Family
You can ask around to friends or family who may already be in therapy or know someone who likes their therapist.
It may not always be a good idea to see the same therapist as a family member, but there may be other therapists in the same practice that you could try.
Your Insurance Provider
Most insurance providers will have a directory of in-network providers for a variety of concerns including mental health support.
Anonymous Screening Tool
Go to wellbeingcare.org to take some screening questionnaires. The Well-Being CARES service is an online anonymous platform available to all healthcare workers in Ohio. It is sponsored by the Ohio State Medical Association and is run in collaboration with OhioPHP. Your answers will go to a counselor who will respond through the website. If requested, the counselor can provide some resources if you identify what part of Ohio you are in and/or whether you want virtual options.
There are filters for location/zip code, insurance, gender, specialties, and types of therapy.
Contact information usually includes the ability to email or call the therapist.
Some providers will do a 15-minute consultation to see if you would be a good fit.
Other providers will answer questions over email to see if your situation makes sense for the services that they provide.
If you’re interested in online services, you could try one of many online platforms such as BetterHelp, Talkspace, or Cerebral. Note: This information is provided as a resource/educational purposes, not a specific endorsement of their services.
One of the many services OhioPHP can provide to healthcare professionals is connecting people with referrals for a number of issues. If you are looking for a therapist in your area, you can reach out to OhioPHP by clicking here.
Learning more about the therapists you find:
Many therapists work in group practices that have their own websites and bios that you can read. Independent therapists usually have a profile on the Psychology Today website (see above). Reading therapist bios on websites can help give you an idea of the therapist’s experience and conditions that they commonly treat.
Types of Therapists:
All of the following mental health professionals are trained to provide therapy services. They just have different levels or types of training. Some of the terms below describe the degree that the individual has obtained. Other terms describe the level of licensure based on state requirements.
The most important part of therapy is building a trusting relationship where you feel safe in sharing your thoughts and feelings and be willing to hear your therapist’s observations and recommendations. The number of sessions that you have with the therapist can vary based on what your needs are and what type of therapy is being used. It’s okay if you have a visit or two with a therapist and you don’t feel a connection. It can take time to find the right person to work with.
Psychologists have a doctoral degree that can take 4-7 years to obtain after an undergraduate degree. The Doctorate in Psychology degree (PsyD) trains psychologists to provide treatment clinically. The Doctorate in Philosophy (PhD) majoring in psychology trains psychologists to provide clinical services as well as to conduct research and teach. They are both able to practice independently after they obtain licensure through their state medical board, which requires 3600 hours of supervised training in Ohio. They diagnose and treat mental health conditions and conduct psychological testing.
Social Worker (LSW/LISW)
Social workers are trained in seeing how the environment and social circumstances affect a patient’s mental and physical health. They can provide individual therapy, group therapy, case management services, and hospital discharge services.
LSW-Licensed Social Worker-minimum Bachelor of Social Work, may provide therapy under supervision*
LISW (LCSW Licensed Clinical Social Worker in other states)-Licensed Independent Social Worker-minimum Master of Social Work and 2 years of supervision
Professional counselors have a master’s degree in counseling and can provide therapy in a variety of settings. They can also treat many different types of mental health conditions and emotions related to stressful situations.
LPC-Licensed Professional Counselor-Master’s degree, may provide therapy under supervision
LPCC/PCC-Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor-Master’s degree and 2 years of supervision, practice independently
Substance Use Disorder Therapist (CDCA/LCDCII/LCDCIII/LICDC)
Chemical dependency counselors provide therapy specifically for the treatment of substance use disorders. All levels except the LICDC require supervision when providing substance use disorder counseling. These are all levels based on the state licensure and have minimum educational degree requirements. To practice independently, the counselor must have a master’s degree and 2 years of supervision.
CDCA-Chemical Dependency Counselor Assistant
LCDCII-Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor II
LCDCIII-Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor III
LICDC-Licensed Independent Chemical Dependency Counselor
Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT)
Marriage and Family therapists have a master’s degree and 2 years of supervision and provide therapy services to individuals, couples and family members specifically in the context of the interactions/relationships of the family members.
*Supervision means having a more experienced therapist oversee the therapist providing services (similar to how resident physicians have attendings oversee their work). To practice independently, many mental health professionals have done at least 2 years under supervision before being granted a more advanced license. When there’s an S or CS after the credentials (for example, LISW-S or LICDC-CS), it means that the provider has additional training that allows them to supervise other people who are working towards the next step in their licensure.
Other professionals that can (but not always) provide therapy:
In nursing and medicine, there are some nurses and physicians that can provide therapy services, but it is not common. This is due to the high need for medication treatment and the limited number of providers who can prescribe medications.
Psychiatric and Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP)
Nurse practitioners have a master’s degree and obtain additional training to get certified to specialize in becoming a psychiatric and mental health NP. They can prescribe medications and work with a collaborating physician to practice in Ohio.
Physicians (MD/DO) who have special training in psychotherapy have a doctorate in medicine and have completed a four-year psychiatry residency. They can prescribe medications to treat mental health and substance use disorders. Some psychiatrists will only see patients to prescribe medication, whereas other psychiatrists will only provide psychotherapy. Some will do both. It is important to ask if you are considering therapy with a psychiatrist.
Types of Therapy:
Providers can also have training in different types of therapy. A few of the most common techniques are below. There are plenty more though!
CBT-Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
This type of therapy focuses on the relationship between thoughts and behavior. People commonly have thoughts that are not fully accurate and can lead to harmful behaviors. CBT can help people recognize these thoughts and change their behavior.
ACT-Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
This type of therapy focuses on acceptance of the feelings and thoughts that a person is experiencing and then making a commitment to changing behaviors to improve their life.
EMDR-Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy
This is a specialized form of therapy used commonly to treat Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). It involves bilateral repetitive eye movement or physical motions like tapping on the body which decreases the intensity of the emotions and physical reactions associated with traumatic events.
This type of therapy requires additional training. See the EMDRIA website for a certified therapist (emdria.org).
DBT-Dialectical Behavioral Therapy
This type of therapy is commonly used with people who primarily have borderline personality disorder (BPD) and possibly other mental health conditions. This type of therapy focuses on helping people cope with stressful situations, regulate emotions and better manage relationships.
Other things to consider:
Some therapists are not in network with any insurance but will provide you with a receipt so that you can submit a claim to your insurance for out of network benefits (if you have any).
When paying out of pocket, you are entitled to a Good Faith Estimate that gives you an idea of how much you will pay for your sessions. Ask if they accept HSA/FSA funds if paying out of pocket.
Therapist schedules will vary on in person visits, virtual visits, or both. If it is virtual, the therapist must have a license in the state that you are located in.
You may also benefit from group therapy which would be led by a licensed mental health professional. If the group is led by a peer or another member of the general public, it would be considered a support group rather than therapy.