Finding Therapy in a New York Minute

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No one doubt that living in New York City can be pretty cool, especially if you like living in the heart of everything. It’s a global economic and cultural hub, and there aren’t many cities like that in the world, much less the United States. But if you’re living in New York, you’ll also be among the first to admit that the city has its share of problems.

The apartments are small, for one thing. And everything is expensive, including those micro-apartments. It’s all enough to make even the proudest New Yorker consider leaving. But before you start looking at apartments upstate, you should try some other options. Here’s how to find NYC therapy that can help you figure out what you want.

Look near both work and home

New York commutes are famously long. One survey found that the average commute for New Yorkers is almost an hour round-trip. That’s nine minutes longer than the national average, and it means New Yorkers have the fourth-longest commute in the country. If you’re like most New Yorkers, you’d prefer something within walking distance. And if you can’t get that, you’d prefer a place that doesn’t require a lot of subway transfers.

But here’s one area where your long commute might be helpful. Let’s say you work in Manhattan but live in Queens — in that case, you look for both a Manhattan therapist and a Queens therapist. If you get the former, try to find one who can see you near the end of a workday. Of course, not everyone will like the idea of going to a therapist and then dealing with a long commute. But for some people, it’s a great way to find as many therapy options as possible.

If you’d rather have a therapist who is near your house, then that’s OK as well. But remember that not every therapist will take your insurance. Many therapists may not accept any insurance at all and, instead, are considered out-of-network providers. It sounds complicated, but it’s really not. A good therapist will walk you through what it all means. It’s smart to factor financial and insurance-related considerations  while you’re searching for the perfect therapy match.

Think about demographics

When you call a therapist’s office, you’ll be asked a few questions. It helps if you think about the answers beforehand. For instance, one common question is “Do you prefer a male or female therapist?” Not everyone has a preference, and that’s OK; if you don’t, feel free to say so. But if a person with PTSD from a sexual assault is looking for therapy, gender could make a big difference.

You might also consider if you work better with a younger or older therapist. This preference might be easier to discern if you’ve been in therapy before. Some people like someone who is part of their generation. So if you’re a millennial, you might prefer a therapist who is also a millennial, or at least a younger member of Generation X. But if you aren’t worried about any sort of generation gap, then make an appointment and see how things go.

Give it a fair shot

Let’s say you go to one session with your therapist, and it feels awkward. You have trouble expressing yourself. You get flustered easily. You leave dreading your next visit and wondering if you should just cancel. That depends on a few things. It’s hard but not impossible to get a complete read on your therapist from one session.

If you felt you could not communicate clearly with the therapist, then that’s a bad sign. But if you had some good moments mixed in with some frustrating ones, that’s typical of therapy. It can take time to develop a relationship. Give yourself two or three sessions to see how the dynamic changes between you and the therapist. If it’s still not good, feel free to go see someone else instead.