I need to find a therapist, but I’m scared to call
Back at the beginning of my sophomore year in college in 2009, I went into the counseling center at my college and started individual therapy with a therapist that was assigned to me. My sessions were fairly sporadic, and since I’m only allowed 10 per academic year, my therapist spaced them out so they would span more time. I had my final session with her back in February of this year, and I have been in group therapy this semester, but that’s an entirely different story.
I recently asked my therapist for referrals to an outside therapist where I could get more consistent and long-term treatment, rather than being so limited. She gave me several names and numbers, but I’m so scared to call anyone! I’m scared to call, but I’m also scared to ask questions. I know from researching some that I should ask some questions of a potential therapist to see if they are right for me. And I also read that it was best to do so on the phone so you don’t waste your time in an in-take session if they give cold answers. I just don’t think I’ll be able to ask questions on the phone or in person. So, my main, huge worry is that I’m not going to be able to be assertive enough to find what I need in a therapist, and I’ll get tired of jumping from one to the next, and I’ll probably end up not looking anymore.
While I was in individual therapy, I was slightly more capable of convincing myself that I was worthy of getting help for my low self-esteem and constant need for validation from everyone but myself. This feeling has lowered again, and I feel stuck, because I know I will be even more disheartened if I have a lot of trouble finding a good therapist. Nonetheless, the decision is up to me, but I have no clue how to make this work for myself. I’m just too scared, and I don’t know what to do.
A: I’m very proud of you for deciding to take charge of your problems and finding a therapist. As you’ve discovered, therapy really can help. I’m equally proud of you that you haven’t gotten so discouraged that you’ve given up. Instead you are asking for help, first from your therapist, then from us here at Psych Central.
Your therapist has already shown that she is willing to help you transfer. Since you like her and feel reasonably comfortable with her, I wonder if you could ask her if you could make the calls to the new therapists while in her office? She can coach you on what to say and be there as a support for you. Even if you just get to leave voicemail messages, you will have started to make contact. Yes – eventually your goal is to be able to do this for yourself. But you’re not there yet. There’s no shame in that. It’s something you know you have to work on. My guess is that if you could easily make those calls, your therapy would be close to being over. Instead, you are in the middle of the process. It’s fine to ask your current therapist to help you bridge to a new one.
Please do follow through. You’ve made such a good start. I really hope you will build on it by using the supports you have to help you transition to a new counselor.
I wish you well.
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2010). I need to find a therapist, but I’m scared to call. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 28, 2016, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2010/05/18/i-need-to-find-a-therapist-but-im-scared-to-call/