If you have a diagnosis of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), it is important that you know there are a number of effective treatments available for this disorder; however, for these treatments to work, you have to first find a therapist who can provide these treatments.
Finding a therapist for your PTSD can be a stressful experience in its own right. There may be many options to choose from in your area. You could simply look in the phone book or do a search on online for therapists in your area. However, if you take this approach, you are likely going to be bombarded with hundreds of names and little other information that will help you distinguish between the different treatment providers available. So, how can you start to whittle down the names and find the right therapist for you? Listed below are some tips that might be helpful in this process.
Using the Internet
The internet can be an excellent resource when it comes to finding a therapist for your PTSD. There are actually a number of search engines hosted through different organizations that allow you to search for therapists in your area.
Two excellent search engines are hosted through the Anxiety and Depression Association of American and the Association for Cognitive and Behavioral Therapies. The search engines at these websites are very easy to use. In addition to searching for therapists in your area, you can also indicate that you are looking for a therapist who specializes in the treatment of PTSD. This can help you narrow down your search.
Word of Mouth
If you have any friends or family members who have sought the help of a mental health professional, you may want to talk with them. They can tell you about the person they worked with, as well as give you some information on how they went about finding someone to work with. If you work with a physician, you may want to ask them for their recommendations. They may know of psychiatrists or psychologists at their hospital or clinic who provide treatment for PTSD.
Talk to Local Mental Health Advocacy Groups
Local advocacy groups can be an excellent resource for people seeking help from a mental health provider. One such advocacy groups that may be helpful in particular is the National Alliance for Mental Illness or NAMI. NAMI has several offices in every state, and they are there to assist you in getting the help you need. In addition to recommending a therapist for your PTSD, they can also provide you with important information on the treatment of PTSD, as well as local support groups that may be available.
Pick up the Phone
To find a therapist for your PTSD, another option may be to pick up the phone and call the Psychology or Psychiatry Department of your local hospital and/or university. They may be able to tell you whether they have any people who specialize in the treatment of PTSD. If not, they still may be able to give you an idea of people in the area who provide such treatment. If you have community mental health centers in your area, you may also want to call them to see if they have any staff members who provide PTSD treatments. Finally, if you have insurance, you may want to contact your insurance provider to determine whether you have any PTSD treatment providers that are covered by your plan.
Be A Consumer
Hopefully the above information will help you get started in finding the help you need. Throughout the process of finding a treatment provider, remember that you are a consumer. It is okay if you decide to not work with the first person you find. Meet with them to see if you think they will be a good fit for you. Ask them a number of questions to make sure that they will provide you with the type of treatment that you want. The more comfortable you feel with your treatment provider, the more successful you will be in addressing your PTSD.