FREE STATE OF TEXAS 24/7 MENTAL HEALTH LINE FOR TEXANS AFFECTED BY THE RECENT EVENTS IN UVALDE: 888-690-0799
FINDING A THERAPIST
I first wanted to include some information that might be helpful if you find that you or a family member or friend might benefit from 1:1 services of a Licensed Professional Counselor or other mental health professional.
If you find yourself saying "I think I need to talk with a counselor but what do I do? What are the steps? I've never done this before," I hope the information on this page can be helpful to you even if you do not wish or cannot join my practice as a client.
Usually the first thing you want to consider is your budget for counseling which usually involves knowing your health insurance's mental health benefits. Your insurance can give you a list of "in-network" therapists in your area. In general "in newtowrk" counselors have contracted with your insurance company so your out of pocket payment will go to your deductible or only require a co-pay. It is also important to ask "what are my out of network mental health benefits?" Sometimes the therapist with the training and orientation you desire has not contracted with your insurance plan. In general your out of pocket expense will be higher for these therapists. However, don't just assume that if a therapist is out of network you will have to pay 100% out of pocket. Some insurances have wonderful out of network benefits making these therapists affordable. I have seen some insurances cover in and out of network therapists at the same reimbursement rate to the consumer so it is worth asking. Of course, this is not always the case but you will not know unless you ask. You can also ask if you can use any "Flex Dollar" for out of network therapy. If you are a victim of a crime there may be funds to pay for your therapy to any therapist. Some people have Employee Assistance Programs that will cover counseling as well. Some short and long term disability insurance plans cover the cost of counseling. Since there are literally hundreds of insurance plans you will need to ask your plan directly to know your benefits. You can do that by calling the number on your insurance card. You can also ask your therapist if they have a payment plan or utilize any services that allow low to no interest payback. Most therapists, like myself, offer a certain number of "pay what you can," "pro bono," or "private pay reduced rate" slots. While it is not sustainable for an individual practitioner to do this for everyone and still "keep the lights on," I think it's worth asking.
BUYER BEWARE! - It is important to know that any Licensed Professional Counselor in the State of Texas can see clients with grief, trauma, and complicated traumatic grief, not all SPECIALIZE in it. Anyone can call themselves a "trauma therapist." This is a descriptive term, not an additional certification. Our ethics say that we should practice within our skillset and education, this discretion is left up to the therapist. Therefore when interviewing a counselor I would suggest asking WHAT and HOW MUCH training they have in trauma and grief and if they have any additional certifications. You can also ask what percentage of their practice is clients working on grief and trauma. My opinion is that trauma and traumatic grief requires such a specialized set of therapeutic skills that it requires specialized and intense study even after a therapist is licensed to practice. It is also my opinion that seeing a therapist that is not specifically trained in trauma could potentially cause more harm or at least impede progress. As a consumer, you have every right to ask a potential therapist these questions and any others that you may have before attending a session. While a therapist cannot be expected to have a long phone conversation that becomes theraputic in nature, they SHOULD be willing to talk with you for 10-15min to assess if you are a good fit for their practice and for you to ask any questions or raise any concerns. If a therapist is unwilling to do this, I would suggest finding someone else. I am happy to help people connect with a therapist that meets their needs (training, distance, cost, theraputic orientation, openess to spiritual integration, etc) even if they will not ultimately join my practice as a client. Please reach out via email!
Links to community resources for those affected by the tragedy in Uvalde
Official Website of the State of Texas Resources: HERE
The Center Square article Resources Available to Help Uvalde Community : HERE
KENS5 Article : Resources For People Affected By Uvalde Shooting: HERE
Youtube Psychoeducation Resources:
It is important to remember that psychoeducation is not a substitute for 1:1 professional therapy. However, for people with mild distress over a shorter period of time, psychoeducation can be helpful. For those requiring professional clinical therapy, psychoeducation can be a valuable adjunct to the therapy process. It's always a good idea to let your therapist know any psychoeducational resources you have found useful and bring any questions you may have to them. Unless otherwise stated, the resource lists on this site should be considered psychoeducation. Additionally, I have no financial connection with any of the resources posted.
"Therapy In A Nutshell" Playlist: Trauma & PTSD Recovery - HERE
"Therapy In A Nutshell" Playlist: How To Process Emotions - HERE
"Therapy In A Nutshell" Playlist: How To Stop Panic Attacks - HERE
Website - Free Grief Resources From David Kessler, A Bereaved Parent - HERE
American Counseling Association Resources on Gun Violence Trauma - HERE
This resource contains free resources for counselors and "lay" consumers. These include links to helplines, organizations helping, fact sheets, articles, books, and practice briefs.
Amber N. Pilkington, M.Psy., LPC-S Texas Licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor
Virtual Counseling for Texas Residents 4499 Medical Drive Ste 151. San Antonio, TX 78231
firstname.lastname@example.org Office: 210.593.4392 Direct Line: 210.241.0020