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  • Writer's pictureDeana Riley

10 Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Counseling (Part 2)

Updated: Feb 22



a therapist and a client sit in chairs
Deana Riley wants to help you get the most out of your counseling!

This is the second of a two-part series. To read part 1, click here!


Deana Riley provides online counseling to individuals and couples across Georgia using her 30+ years of experience in the field! In this series of posts, she shares her insights about how you can get the most of your therapy investment.


#6: Don't Stay with the Same Therapist Too Long

After years of providing therapy to 100s of clients, it has become clear to me that in some cases, a therapist can offer every skill they have to their client with positive results and the client may have more needs that would better be met by a therapist with a different set of skills or even a different personality.  As clients heal and grow, the type of therapy they need may change over time.  Therapists and clients don’t often talk about this issue.  It doesn’t mean the therapist is incompetent, nor does it mean that the client’s needs are insatiable.  It’s purely the outcome of having finished some important work but having more work to do; this acknowledges that needs can change throughout the therapeutic process.  If as the therapist or client, you begin feeling stagnant or unclear what the future goals are in therapy, it’s crucial to have a conversation about this with each other.  Too often, I hear stories of clients who say, I’m not sure if the therapy is helping anymore or I’m not sure whether it’s worth going anymore.  As therapists, if our client doesn’t seem to be progressing anymore, ethically, we need to have an open conversation with our client to assess where the process is at.  This usually offers an opportunity to celebrate the clients progress and determine what goals are left for the client.  Is it time to terminate the process or is another therapist better equipped to help the client meet their next goals or do we need to continue together but in a new direction?

  

#7: Be Willing to Pay for a Quality Provider

Remember the old saying, “you get what you pay for”?  This can be true for therapy.  I’m definitely not trying to imply that all therapists who are either on insurance panels or charge a sliding fee are less competent.  But, at the same time, it’s not uncommon for therapist who are either new to the field or recently out of school to be more likely to be working in positions that are covered by insurance (so that the insurance company is sending them referrals) or they are open to a sliding feel while building their reputation in the field and building their referral sources.  Oftentimes the therapists in the roles offering services at a greatly reduced rate are less experienced and have been in the field a shorter period of time. Many seasoned, quality therapists have enough referrals to afford to practice in a self pay practice.  The fact is that the insurance industry does not pay providers a competitive rate.  Unfortunately for the client, the extra time required to navigate the insurance industries required logistics and chasing unpaid fees makes being an in network insurance provider cost prohibitive for many clinicians.  Most clinicians I know are either practicing in a completely self pay practice or they are working towards becoming self pay only.  Of course there are always exceptions but, generally speaking, you will get what you pay for with therapy and a quality therapist is worth every dime. 


#8: Be Willing to Work with Providers Outside of Your Insurance Providers Network

I know for some individuals, this is the only way that counseling may seem affordable but if you aren’t in a clinical circumstance where you may need frequent sessions, consider discussing with your therapist possible ways to space out sessions to make it more affordable.  Or consider giving up something you’re paying for that is frivolous to fit the expense of quality counseling into your budget. 

 

#9: Be Open to Virtual Counseling Options

Since the onset of the pandemic, therapists have had to offer virtual sessions to make a living.  I have to admit that initially, I was afraid this would compromise the quality of care but I was surprised to find that not only was the quality of care maintained but, for some, the convenience of sessions where clients could be in their chosen environment and eliminating of the stress of commuting sessions, appears to have increased the effectiveness of the therapeutic outcome.


#10:  Don't Wait Too Long to Take the First Step to Start Therapy

Many times people tell themselves, I’m going to start counseling with great intentions but it falls to the bottom of their  to-do list and the struggle snowballs. If this is your experience, the sooner you start the counseling process, then sooner you will begin experiencing relief. I realize it can feel scary to reach out and take that first step.  If you have attempted to reach out with either no response or a negative experience, this just means you haven’t found the right provider yet. It takes incredible courage and perseverance to get with the right therapist and participate in therapy. You can do it! Don’t give up. Once you settle into the right match, therapy can be one of the most meaningful, helpful things you’ve ever done.


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