Hopefully I have convinced you that seeking help from a therapist is not a bad thing. I won’t leave you hanging with that thought though; I’m going to give you some tips on how to seek out a therapist with experience in birth parent grief and loss. It’s not an easy task but it is possible.
Questions to ask yourself first:
- Do you want a same sex therapist or a therapist of the opposite sex? Some people relate better to members of the same gender while others feel freer with someone of the opposite gender.
- Does your insurance cover mental health services? If not, what is your current budget? You need to find that out ahead of time as some therapists work on a sliding scale. Knowing this information ahead of time will save you time!
Now you’re ready to start finding a therapist. If your insurance offers coverage, use their list of available partners and start calling. If not, just use the phone book (or, as this is 2009, the Internet). Also take into account the advice of your family, friends and peers who have utilized the services of a therapist in your area. Keep in mind, however, that the relationship between therapist and patient will vary greatly from patient to patient. Just because Aunt Sally likes Dr. Glasswell doesn’t mean that you will.
Questions you should ask on the phone before even meeting a therapist:
- In this specific situation, your first question should be: Do you have experience with birth parent grief and loss? If the answer is no, thank them for their time and continue on down the line. You can go back if necessary. Hopefully it won’t be necessary.
- Ask about their experience, licensing, training and length of service in the area. Any previous suspensions?
- What is the length of the appointment?
It seems like I should have told you to ask more, right? But here’s the thing about therapy. You’re not going to know if you’re a match until you’ve sat through one session (or two) and really gotten a feel for one another. My only stipulation is that you don’t want to waste your time on someone who has no idea about birth parent grief and loss. If absolutely no one in your area has such experience, you may be able to get by with a compassionate therapist who is extremely well-versed in grief itself.
After your first appointment, you should assess how you feel about the session. Don’t misunderstand the feeling of being challenged with a feeling of discontent. Your therapist should challenge you. That’s the point!