This is a great question. Fortunately, it is not difficult to find qualified and skilled therapists these days in Northern Colorado. There are a number of ways that people go about it. In my practice I have noticed that people find me in three major ways: referral by a friend or family member who is familiar with me or my work, referral from a health care practitioner who thinks I can be helpful to their patient, and the internet.
Another useful way to locate potential therapists is using the community listings in publications such as the MD Directory of Northern Colorado (published annually) and on the web, such as www.healthinfosource.com. This website allows you to search a county wide database and specify qualifications, specialties, location and insurance acceptance information. There are also health and mental health organizations, such as the Larimer Center for Mental Health, college counseling centers and outpatient mental health services connected to hospitals. Programs such as Mental Health Connections, affiliated with the community health clinic, assist lower income individuals who meet particular criteria. Fortunately, our area is rich in resources and offers a wide variety of services, including individual, group, couple and family therapy.
Most therapists (not including community agencies) will speak with you on the phone briefly to help you determine whether they have the qualifications and skills you are needing to address your specific concerns. You would provide the therapist with a brief description of your concern and she or he can answer any questions you may have about their skills, experience and style of therapy. While there are very few therapists who will offer a free face-to-face consultation, several do offer 10 or 15 minute phone consultations to potential clients. The first face-to-face session with the counselor will be most useful in determining whether a therapist is a good fit for you.
I feel optimistic that you will be able to locate a really capable therapist who can meet your needs. Ask a trusted friend, read some therapist websites and pick one or two counselors to call and screen. You can also ask your insurance company for a list of in-network providers if this is relevant to your situation. With a little footwork, I am sure you will be able to get the help you are seeking.
(Submitted on 2/14/2015 for the January issue of Healthline magazine)
Beth Firestein, Ph.D.
phone: (970) 635-9116