By Brahmjot Kaur
The following article appeared in the October 2019 edition of The Campus.
Therapy is beneficial! You don’t need to have faced a traumatic experience to seek therapy. A therapist can be someone you vent to without fear of having your secrets exposed but it can still be intimidating if you aren’t aware of therapy as an option for you. You might be wondering: How does it work? Will my insurance cover it? Do I have a co-pay? What if I don’t like my therapist? Well, not to worry! Your friendly neighborhood therapy-goer is here to help answer some of the tough questions! I have gone to three different counseling centers in seven years, and looking back, therapy has an incredibly positive impact on my mental and emotional health. Also, in case you are wondering, it is possible to see a therapist through your insurance WITHOUT your parents knowing, if necessary.
Question 1: How can I find a therapist that’s right for me?
- Option A: Through your insurance
If you call your insurance provider for help finding a counseling center or therapist, they will most likely direct you to their website. Most insurance websites will have tabs to find different doctors in a variety of fields. After you find some you’re interested in, you should research some of the doctors for reviews and after settling on a few, call their offices to verify that they accept your insurance. You should be aware that you might have a co-pay, depending on your insurance plan. For example, those insured through Medicaid will not have a co-pay.
If you are a dependent on your parent’s insurance, it is possible to use your insurance for therapy without their knowledge. I do strongly recommend discussing the option with your parents; however, understandably, this might not be an option. Regardless of the circumstances, everyone deserves a safe space to receive constructive and helpful therapy.
If you choose not to tell your parents, your first step would be to call your insurance company. The number should be on your insurance card (which you might need when you call). Let the representative know you would like to keep your attendance confidential.
In my experience, when I inquired about the possibility of confidentiality, my insurance representative explained that I could change the billing address for my therapy bills. She also mentioned that despite being a dependent on my parents’ insurance, I am are the only person authorized to view my billings. I recommend calling your insurance company to verify this before making any appointments, since many insurances have their own policies about confidentiality.
- Option B: If you do not have insurance
If you do not have insurance, you can always head over to the City College Counseling Center in the Marshak Science Building, room J-15 or visit www.ccny.cuny.edu/counseling. They provide clinics that are close to campus, as well as 24/7 free and confidential hotlines.
Group therapy is also a great option for students who might need to pay out of pocket. I went to group therapy for a while at the counseling center, and, in fact, preferred it to individual therapy since I bonded with the girls in my session so well. You also get many different perspectives and forms of support in a judgment-free and safe space.
Question 2: What if I don’t like my therapist?
Finding a therapist is a lot like speed dating. Allow me to explain: when you go to a counseling center, there will be many therapists available. It is important to go in with an open mind; they are there to help you! It can be difficult opening up to someone you’ve just met, but remember, everything you discuss in your visit is confidential (unless you state you want to hurt yourself or anyone else).
Sometimes, even after a few sessions, you may feel like you haven’t connected well with your new therapist. After giving it the old college try, I recommend discussing it with the receptionist at your office. They might be hesitant at first, but if you make it clear that you want to change your therapist, they will accommodate you.
My first therapist was not right for me. I felt like I couldn’t open up to her. I was stressed out even thinking about my appointments and when I went, I would talk about superficial events in my life to fill the 45 minutes. After expressing my concerns, I switched counseling facilities altogether. My following therapist was one I stayed with for 5 years until she was transferred. Now I have another therapist in the same counseling center. It took time to adjust, but, once again, going in with an open mind really makes the difference.
There’s nothing wrong with therapy. In my experience, it really helps take some of the weight off your mind, and you should consider it as an option for you!