As a Spokane therapist I feel it is important to discuss some questions I hear being asked often. Some individuals seek mental health support for a variety of reasons. From depression, phobias, anxiety, stress, relationship issues, and the list go on. Regardless of the issues some is seeking relief from, the concerns that are present across the board that many Spokane therapists are asked consist of: ‘what is a therapist, and how is that different from a counselor?’ ‘If they’re expensive does that mean they’re experienced or any good for me?’ ‘Can I use my insurance with a therapist?’ or, ‘I can’t afford their fees, will they offer me a sliding scale?’ These are all valid questions. Regardless of the presenting issues, I hope to provide some answers.
What is a therapist?
This may be one of the most common questions I hear around the community. Similarly, people ask what the difference is between a therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist. Among the profession, there are various titles that someone offering mental health services may be called. A counselor, therapist, psychotherapist, psychologist, psychiatrist, social worker, and case manager are among the variety of titles. Some are similar but carry different credentials; others are very different in the types of services they provide.
Counselors, therapists, and psychotherapist are similar, and in some circumstances it’s just a matter of semantics. However, depending on the state you are in and the training the individual has received, someone calling himself or herself a psychotherapist has typically received extensive training in traditional psychotherapy. Similarly in some states the title counselor or therapist is based on the license that individual holds. An LPC (licensed professional counselor) would traditionally call themselves counselors. While this may be consistent in most circumstances it can also be a personal preference for the professional to chose the title counselor or therapist.
For the title psychologist and psychiatrist the distinction is great. A psychologist has a PhD in some form of psychology, with the exception of school psychologists who can have only a master’s degree and hold the title. A psychiatrist has an MD and has prescriptive authority.
Some Spokane therapists who offer sliding fee scales for services rendered. A sliding fee is takes into account the client’s annual financial situation and offered a reduction in service fees to assist the client afford therapeutic support. Not all therapist use sliding fee scales, and those who do often have limited openings for new clients utilizing the scale. The best thing to do, if you’re looking for a Spokane therapist using a sliding scale is to call ahead and just talk to them about it. Most are open to discussing financial concerns and may provide assistance.
Cost vs. Experience
When looking for a Spokane therapist I hear the question asked frequently, “if the therapist is expensive are they better at what they do?” While is some instances the credential, experience, or training validates an increase session fee, it’s not always the case. In Spokane, the rage for session fees exists anywhere from $50-$200 for a 50 minute session. From what I can tell, most charging higher fees typically hold credentials at the doctoral level, or have been in practice for 15 plus years. Although it’s a good idea to consider experience when you’re looking for a therapist in Spokane, I often encourage people to consider the ‘fit’ of a therapist before his or her years of experience. By this I mean the dynamics between you and the therapist. Therapy is part treatment for different conditions, a part relationship to foster change within the client. If the therapist is not a good fit for you, it may interfere with the development of a healing relationship.
Finally, when considering a Spokane therapist you’re likely to be faced with the question about whether or not to use insurance. Or, will they accept your insurance. This is a complicated issue for many people, and also for some therapists. Each insurance provider has different policies and procedures for reimbursing mental health services. For example, while some waive the deductible for out patient mental health, others require you meet your deductable first. So if you have a $500 deductable, and your insurance provider doesn’t waive the $500 for mental health services, plan on paying full fee for counseling sessions until you’ve met that $500.
The next step is finding a Spokane therapist that takes your insurance. Previously we talked about finding a therapist that is a good ‘fit’. So, to make things a bit more complicated, now you need to find a therapist that is a good ‘fit’ and takes your insurance. A good way to narrow down the search is to call your insurance provider and ask for a list of local therapists that are currently accepting your insurance. Most insurance providers will also have a list on their website you can search through.
Tying it all together
While I’d like to say this is a complete and whole guide to finding a good Spokane therapist, there is so much more information I could provide on this topic. I do hope, however that it has provided you with some information to point you in the right direction. It can feel overwhelming at times, when you’re trying to find support, but we therapists are hear to help, and I hope that’s what you find when you see your therapist.
Spokane Counselor – Layne Stoops
As a seasoned counselor and therapist I want to help those struggling with balance in their life. Many times our situations affect our responses and sometimes it’s our chemistry. Whatever the case, there are steps and practical ways to minimize stress, alleviate emotional problems and cope with tragedies. I would love to help you find that peace you’re striving for. Contact me anytime for a free consultation. As a Spokane therapist I deal with many different issues such as marriage counseling, couples counseling, family counseling and more and provide Christian marriage counseling and different structures depending on your need. LStoops@laynestoops.com – 509.953.9961