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Finding a Therapist

What is Therapy?

“Therapy”--short for psychotherapy--can be a key part of healing for everyone affected by sibling sexual trauma.  Psychotherapy helps people with mental trauma to recover and live a full life, the same way that physical therapy helps people get back to the things they want to do after an injury. Therapy can help at any point in life, from soon after the trauma to many years later. Some people go to therapy for awhile, take a break, and come back to it later in life.  Traditional talk therapy is one option but there are other types of therapy that can be very helpful for sexual trauma.  They can be used instead of talk therapy, or in addition to it. There are also other healing strategies that can be helpful in combination with any kind of therapy.

 

Therapists may have a variety of job titles: psychologist, psychotherapist, counselor, clinical social worker. Whatever the job title, look for someone who is licensed and who has had training that includes supervised experience. Psychiatrists can also prescribe and manage medication.

 

1in6.org: Effective Therapy for Male Survivors

 

The thought of starting therapy can be scary. Some people are afraid that going to therapy shows that they are weak, or “crazy.” They may fear that other people will look down on them. They may not know what to expect or how to navigate the system. 

 

It can be hard to find a therapist who is available and qualified. Paying for therapy or getting insurance to cover mental health issues can be tricky, especially in the US. Unfortunately, the times that people need therapy are the times in life that it’s hardest to overcome these obstacles. 

 

It’s important to find a therapist that you can relate to; someone you feel comfortable with, someone who can relate to you. The first therapist you try may not be the best one for you. If that happens, it’s fine to let them know, and to ask for someone different or go somewhere else. 

 

Despite these obstacles, it is worth it to keep trying until you find a type of therapy and a person who can be your guide and partner through healing. 

 

Where to Start: Finding a Therapist in the US   (*free or very low cost options)

  • If you have a primary care physician, ask for a referral to a mental health therapist. You don’t have to tell the reason you need it, but you may need to tell some of your own symptoms (such as trouble sleeping, low energy, hard time focusing on life, etc). Your primary care physician may be able to help you get started on basic help and low-dose medication for stress, anxiety, and depression until therapy can begin.  

  • *Ask your local sexual assault resource center for a referral or recommendation. Some centers offer their own counseling specific to sexual trauma survivors and their families. 

  • Going to the ER and/or being admitted to the psych unit can be a route to getting mental health services more quickly if you feel you can’t wait or can’t pay. If you are having serious thoughts of suicide, call 911 or go to the closest Emergency Room.  

  • Charlie Health offers online intensive therapy with no waiting lists for young people in teens and twenties, including family therapy, individual, addiction, and therapy for children with sexual behavior problems

  • International Institue for Trauma & Addiction Professionals Search Tool

  • *If you are a student, contact your school’s counseling or mental health center.

  • *Your employer may have an Employee Assistance Program.  

  • *Call 211 or your local public health department and ask if your community has a free or sliding scale mental health clinic.

  • Contact your insurance company for a list of mental health providers.  

  • *If you report the sexual contact to authorities, even if they don’t pursue charges, survivors and their parents may be eligible for counseling through crime victims assistance funds. Contact your local prosecutor’s office (District Attorney or States’ Attorney) and ask for victim services. (Unfortunately there may be a long waiting list for these services.)

  • *If anyone under age 18 needs help for sexual trauma, a Child Advocacy Center can help.

  • For guidance finding therapy for those who have caused sexual trauma or are worried they might, contact StopItNow.org

  • If you want to find a therapist who celebrates your culture or sexual/gender identity, try this tool: Inclusive Therapists

  • Find members of the Association of Black Psychologists

  • *If you are a veteran, contact the VA or the Veterans Crisis Line (text, phone, chat, TTY) 

  • If you need help with substance abuse, try the Substance Abuse and Mental Health National Hotline or use their online search tool.

 

Paying for Therapy

  • The starred* options above are usually free or very low cost

  • If you have insurance, ask up front if the provider takes that insurance.  

  • If you do not have insurance to cover the therapy, ask if the therapist offers discounts to those who pay out-of-pocket or if they offer payment plans.  

  • If you are willing to do online therapy, consider searching worldwide for a provider, as you might find one internationally at a much lower rate. Be sure to verify credentials and qualifications.  

 

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