Would Everyone Benefit From Having a Therapist?
Jennifer Light says yes in a recent article, but she also acknowledges one of the big challenges, right now access to therapy is not equal. It’s simply not available at all to a whole swath of English society, and we can clearly see the same in the US and other countries.
That’s nothing new, but the intriguing thing in her article that I had not really thought about before was this:
I am now on my 4th therapist. Two of which I met with for 40 minutes and intuitively knew they were not going to be the person who I share the contents of my mind with. A friend of a friend once said, “finding a therapist is like dating”. It will take trial and error to find the right therapist for you. So maybe through experience or what you may have heard – “It didn’t work for me” – the chances are… you did not have the right person.
She goes on to document the appallingly low percentage of people who manage to get therapy, as well as the difference between white patients and minorities. She then goes on to talk about this in the context of the quote above, which I had not considered previously. If finding a therapist is truly like dating, and it is in my experience as well, how do we not only make sure that therapy is available, but that there is more than one to choose from?
In the US, does your mental health care coverage extend to more than one location? Does it allow for more than 6 sessions a year when it might take that many just to find the right therapist? Or are you convinced therapy didn’t work for you because you saw the one therapist they sent you to and had no flexibility to go anywhere else? And, if you did have some flexibility to go elsewhere, did you have the means to physically get there? Did transportation, childcare, available appointment times, etc. prevent you from even trying? Or was the wait to even get one appointment so long that the thought of trying to find someone else with an opening and starting over with that wait make it impossible?
All of this is a problem. Yes, we need to get to a point where we have more resources, but even with that, we need to make them accessible to the people who are trying to find the right therapist. Is it any wonder that many people just assume therapy doesn’t work?