How to Find a Therapist

Finding a therapist or counselor to speak with can be incredibly overwhelming. Let's talk about how to make the process easier // www.CandidlyKelseyBlog.com

At beginning of the month I wrote about the unexpected benefits of therapy. Now, let’s talk now about how to find a therapist. Though the process can seem SUPER overwhelming, don’t get discouraged. It was definitely easier than finding a boyfriend, if that makes anyone feel better!

I took two approaches to find a therapist, but only really found success with the second one. As the first approach was suggested to me by my doctor, I thought I’d include it anyway for good measure.

BUT, before you go a-searchin’, there are some things you need to do:

Decide what are important qualifications for you.  For example, my qualifications were pretty simple. As I don’t have a car, location was a major key for me.  I wanted someone close to where I lived so it didn’t make going to see them that much harder.  I also knew I wanted a woman, someone who specialized in anxiety, and who was relatively young. Another important factor was needing them to be able to work with a sliding pay scale, as the fate of my insurance coverage would be fluctuating in the future.

When looking for someone, here are a few helpful things to keep in mind:

  • Location
  • Specialty/Experience in specific mental ailments (ie: depression, anxiety, sexuality, trauma, etc.)
  • Gender
  • Insurance/pay schedule
  • Age
  • Appointment availability
  • Style or theory of counseling, ie- Are you a big jokester? Do you want someone with a sense of humor? An optimist? Do you want someone to take you very seriously? These types of styles are important, as they’ll affect your comfort level and ability to open up to them.
  • TYPE of therapist– there are many types of counselors, and many different certifications of what we probably all lump together as “psychologists”.  Though most will help with the average talk-therapy, you may want someone who has a different specialty. Don’t hesitate to do a little research if you are unsure of exactly what you are looking for.

Check your insurance.  I checked mine online, but you can also just call your provider and ask about your coverage. Thankfully, my current health insurance covers mental health very well, so that was a huge load off my mind.  If you are without insurance, or don’t have insurance that covers mental health, make sure you take that into account when looking for someone.  I knew that I will be switching jobs in August/September, or possibly even going without a job for a short period of time this fall, so having someone who accepted many insurances, or worked on a sliding pay scale (relative to your income!) if I lost insurance was a huge bonus. Your insurance may have certain restrictions, or not cover mental health care at all, so be sure to know this before looking for people!

Approach #1: Referral from my Primary Care Physician

My general doctor issued me a referral, and gave me a list of therapists that were in-network with my primary care office.  I sorted them by location, then by gender, and started calling places that were recommended.  Honestly, I got a lot of not-so-nice responses from some places, some crazy long wait times for my first appointment, and some really staggering prices for sessions that scared me off immediately.  I think I made about six calls before I gave up and decided the process was hopeless. This was not exactly the most encouraging way to do it, in my opinion.

Plus, making me CALL THEM was not an ideal situation— anyone else out there with anxiety can probably agree with me on that one.

Approach #2: Using Psychology Today.Com

A friend who is in the mental health field suggested I use the “Find A Therapist” feature on  PsychgologyToday.com. Not only could I plug in exactly what my specifications were, like creating a search filter, but it had an EMAIL option. I picked four counselors that met my specifications, and sent them all an email:

Hello, my name is Kelsey and I am looking for a therapist to help with anxiety.  Are you accepting new patients? I have a referral from my primary care physician if you need it, and Cigna health insurance. I’d love to book a preliminary appointment if you have any openings. Thanks!

I received 2 responses from therapists with open availability, and two that were not accepting patients at that time. I booked a free consultation the same week with one, and told the other I would get back to her if I wanted to book an appointment.

Why I Chose My Therapist:

Now that I found someone to talk to, I had to decide if I thought she was the right person for me.

After our 1-hour consultation, I knew I wanted to keep seeing her because I immediately felt very comfortable and welcomed by her. It was a gut-feeling thing more than anything else. She made me feel as relaxed as I possibly could in that situation, but did it without making me feel pressured to feel relaxed.

After two more sessions, I knew I had made the right choice and wanted to keep seeing her. She was very good at taking the lead of a conversation when I needed her too, or letting me control the session when I wanted to. The conversation never lulled, and every single moment felt productive– which was huge to me. It also helped greatly that she laughed at my stupid jokes, which happened a lot because I make bad jokes when I’m uncomfortable.

Finding the right fit will feel different for everyone, so my biggest piece of advice is simple: just go with your gut. If it doesn’t feel right, then try someone else. And there is no shame in telling someone you try out that it doesn’t feel like a good fit– if they are a professional, they will completely understand! It may take time, but it is soooo worth it in the end to have someone you can speak candidly.

Any questions? Do you see a therapist yourself and have other tips to offer about finding one? Put your recommendations in the comments!

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Things That Happen When You See A Therapist

A few unexpected things that will happen when you start seeing a therapist. // CandidlyKelseyBlog.com

I’ve been seeing a therapist for a few months now.  I felt like I was no longer effectively managing my anxiety on my own, and needed help– so I got it. I’ve been seeing her weekly, and so far it has been really great. And despite the fact that there is no leather chaise lounge for me to lay on while we talk, I have relatively few complaints. (Though her black leather sofa is super cute and comfy.)

I’ve seen a therapist before, but this was my first time seeing someone consistently. And although I had some expectations for how it would go when I started, I had no idea how much seeing a therapist would affect areas of my life outside of just my anxiety coping skills.

For example:

Talking about yourself will get easier

I don’t like talking about myself unless it’s to make someone laugh. Talking about “bad” things has always been kind of hard for me. At my very first session I really struggled with effectively explaining myself, and repeatedly second guessing myself when I spoke. Now I am much more comfortable with it.  I don’t always feel like the most effective communicator in general, but I feel like I am greatly improving on that just by spending an hour a week trying to properly articulate my feelings.

You look at your everyday habits differently

I talk a lot about my social anxiety with my therapist, and we focus a lot on how I behave and feel in social situations. Becoming aware of those behaviors has made me aware of other things I do in my life.  I’ve made the revelation that I prefer the bus to the train because of my anxiety, and am constantly diverting attention from myself when I’m in a new situation. I am starting to understand my preferences and actions in other situations, even though those never get talked about in my actual sessions. Without meaning to, I am taking the tools I am learning from my sessions into other areas of my life.

You will gain confidence

Hearing that my anxiety is validated felt like a huge weight off my shoulders.  I had already been diagnosed several years ago, but regularly being told by a professional that I am not just “worrying”, and that “snapping out of it” is not an option makes me feel better. My thoughts, and feelings are real, and being told that feels liberating. I feel less and less conscious about my anxiety as time progresses.

You will LOVE having a space to focus only on yourself

Having one hour completely devoted to ME without guilt is fantastic. It is a space to talk through the overwhelming internal monologue that builds up every week with another person, and I always leave feeling more relaxed and refreshed having done so. It’s almost like getting a mental massage. If for no other reason, I would recommend everyone to try therapy at least once just to experience the relief of the release.

You will struggle with how to refer to your therapist in regular conversation

His/her impact on your life doesn’t stop when you leave the office, and sometimes you have to refer to them to others who may not know the details of your situation. I have made professional connections through my therapist, and had to think fast about how to answer the “So how do you know ___?” question. (Hint: “I know her through her work” is a good way to stop that question cold and illicit a somewhat embarrassed reaction from the other person. I don’t recommend it.) Relaying a restaurant recommendation, or funny story from a session has been replaced with “My friend” instead of “My therapist” just to avoid having to have that awkward conversation.

Obviously, these revelations won’t fit every single person, but they are things that have become very true for me. The tools I am taking with me from each session are wonderful, and have improved my life very much, for my anxiety and for just life in general. If you’re at all on the fence about seeing someone, please just take the plunge.  Finding the therapist you connect most with won’t be immediate — it honestly felt a little like trying on jeans: feeling upset and let down until you find your perfect fit– but it is so worth it when you do find it.

By the way, I have another post planned on how I went about finding a therapist (It’s here!). BUT if you have questions, please feel free to comment or reach out to me in another way and ask! I already have gone through the process of finding one, so that post is not for my benefit, it’s yours! Help me make sure I’m helping you!

Got any questions? Have you ever seen a therapist and have some noticed some unexpected changes in your life? Share them!

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One-Pot Lemon Chicken Pasta

One-Pot Lemon Chicken Pasta is a super easy weeknight (or any night!) dinner! // www.CandidlyKelseyBlog.com

Hey everyone! My name is Jani and I run a blog called My Life in Med School. I write about a bunch of different things, but I focus more of recipes and beauty, all the foods and makeup. I am a second year medical student from Puerto Rico and I was in desperate need of a hobby to escape my endless hours of studying, hence my blog and channel were born.

Kelsey’s blog was one of the first blogs I followed when I began my journey, and when she posted about doing a guest post, I jumped right at the opportunity. After brainstorming for a while she told me she liked my recipe’s and if I could do one for the guest post it would be awesome. So without further ado today I am going to be sharing with you a favorite of mine and my husband’s, a super easy one pot pasta.

When you are a full time graduate student, have a full time job, have a family, etc. spending a few hours cooking dinner can be a nightmare. If like me, your time is precious and you get tired of traditional bolognese or Alfredo pasta then one pot pastas will be your new best friend.

There are several reasons why one pot meals are a wonderful part of life. First easy cleanup, second combination of flavors, third lots of room for creativity, and fourth no going crazy with a million things on the stove. I especially love how simple they are and the little amount of cleanup.

So let us go back to fall of 2014 and I was feeling like I wanted to try something new and different using lemons for a pasta sauce. Of course first thing I did was log into my trusty friend Pinterest and looked for recipes.

I found one that I liked but since doing it the first time I have modified it and basically made it my own recipe. I love doing this recipe both with chicken and with pork, I usually prefer boneless pork chops.

This One-Pot Lemon Chicken Pasta is one of me and my husband’s favorite dishes and I hope you enjoy it!

One-Pot Lemon Chicken Pasta

First take about 2 tbs of extra virgin olive oil and ½ tbs butter over medium heat in a deep skillet or a wok, which is what we use.

One-Pot Lemon Chicken Pasta is a super easy weeknight (or any night!) dinner! // www.CandidlyKelseyBlog.com

In the meantime, season your meat using salt and pepper or good old adobo and once the oil is hot, add the meat.

One-Pot Lemon Chicken Pasta is a super easy weeknight (or any night!) dinner! // www.CandidlyKelseyBlog.com

Cook it on both side for 5-7 minutes if it is thin or until mostly cooked, add half of the lemon juice. Set aside so it finishes cooking in its own juice.

One-Pot Lemon Chicken Pasta is a super easy weeknight (or any night!) dinner! // www.CandidlyKelseyBlog.com

Add the chopped onion, garlic and cook for about 2-3 minutes or until onion is starting to clear.

Add the pasta of your preference, I usually go for spaghetti or linguine, and bathe in the onion garlic and add the chicken stock. Add basil, and any other spice you wish to add.

One-Pot Lemon Chicken Pasta is a super easy weeknight (or any night!) dinner! // www.CandidlyKelseyBlog.com

Let simmer until pasta is cooked and most of the liquid is evaporated. Add milk or heavy cream, chopped parsley, and grated cheeses.

Add meat back into skillet and let sit for a couple of minutes. Sprinkle with parmesan and parsley. Serve and enjoy!

I hope you enjoy this recipe for my One-Pot Lemon Chicken Pasta, and I would love to hear feedback on it and if you have tried anything like it before.

One-Pot Lemon Chicken Pasta is a super easy weeknight (or any night!) dinner! // www.CandidlyKelseyBlog.com

One-Pot Lemon Chicken Pasta

Ingredients:

2 chicken breasts cut into tenders
2 servings of pasta of choice
½ medium onion
6 garlic cloves
2 cups of chicken stock (or you can use 2 cups of water and 1 cube of chicken bouillon)
1 big lemon or lime juiced
¼-½ cup of milk or heavy cream to desired consistency
1 ½ TBS fresh parsley
3 TBS extra virgin olive oil
½ tbs butter
Adobo
¼ cup or 1 handful of grated parmesan
¼ cup or 1 handful of grated mozzarella
¼ tsp of basil

If you like what you see, follow along with Jani on her blog, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, or Youtube Channel!

 

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My DietBet Challenge

If you are one of my FUNmail subscribers, you read on Friday that I had a little adventure to share this week. And that little adventure is I’m joining a DietBet Game!

Taking the plunge for my first DietBet Game! // www.CandidlyKelseyBlog.com

Yo Kelsey, WTF is a DietBet? Let me tell you.

DietBet is a website that allows you to basically bet on yourself losing weight. Give yourself some extra motivation by putting money on the line.  If you lose the weight, you split the pot with the other “losers”.  Don’t lose the weight, and you lose your money.  You can join existing “games” (which is what I did) or start your own.

I joined FittyBitttty’s Fitness February Challenge for a $35.00 bet.  There are currently 59 other players, with a pot of a little over $2,095 at the time I’m writing this. We’re betting to lose at least 4% of our weight in 4 weeks (for me, that will be about 8lbs total in 4 weeks). When I lose my weight, I will get at least my $35 dollars back, if not more.

Now, I’ve said before that I am working on an extremely tight budget.  My money is not something I play around with, which is why I thought joining a DietBet would be a great incentive for myself.

(And also deciding to share with the internet that I am paying $35 dollars to try to lose weight, so there is the added humiliation if I don’t follow through as an extra motivator. Using alllll my resources here.)

In 2012, I lost 35lbs in four months without a gym membership. I kept it (mostly) off for about a year, but slowly started to gain it back as I let life take over. I loved how I felt when I was eating healthy and how light I felt with that weight off, so I’d love to get back to that. Mostly I’d love to feel comfortable in my own skin again.

If anyone is interested in joining, registration is open until TONIGHT, 11:59pm EST (February 16th). Joining comes along with a community of other players to help keep you motivated. Pllllease join me, and we can be buddies in this.

 

 

 

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Chocolate Covered Strawberry Martini

This delicious, sweet and chocolaty Chocolate Covered Strawberry Martini is perfect for Valentine's Day, or just anyone with a sweet tooth! Feel like a bartender with this super simple, but delicious drink. // www.CandidlyKelseyBlog.com

Hello, Candidly Kelsey readers! My name is Michelle, but you can call me Elle. Who needs all those extra letters anyways? I run a blog over at www.ElleTalk.com where I talk about living a positive lifestyle, DIYs, and how to create killer cocktails.

Something a lot of people may not know about me is that I’m a choc-o-holic. I blame it on being born 2 days after Valentine’s Day and being gifted the left over candy. I love chocolate in popcorn, chocolate shakes, and chocolate covered fruit. I’ve even been known to dabble in my own chocolate making for Valentine’s Day gifts. Just call me Elly Wonka. For me this makes this time of year one of my favorites. Not only is Valentine’s Day a completely acceptable DIY holiday, but it also gives in to my love of all things sweet.

This delicious, sweet and chocolaty Chocolate Covered Strawberry Martini is perfect for Valentine's Day, or just anyone with a sweet tooth! Feel like a bartender with this super simple, but delicious drink. // www.CandidlyKelseyBlog.com

That’s why today I wanted to create you a cocktail that the chocolate lover in you could fully indulge on. We’re going to shake up a Chocolate Covered Strawberry Martini! We’re taking one of the best treats for Valentine’s Day and making it into the perfect after dinner cocktail. Shake it up for your significant other, for a Galentine party, or to just treat yo’ self! It’s super easy, and no prior cocktail knowledge is necessary.

In this take on a chocolate martini I use chocolate liqueur, strawberry vodka, creme de cacao, and half and half (or soy creamer if you’re LI). I prefer Godiva’s dark chocolate liqueur but I’d be willing to bet white chocolate would be delicious too. All of these ingredients are shaken over ice in a cocktail shaker then strained into a martini glass. I love adding chocolate sauce designs into the glass for a fun garnish. All you need to do is tilt your glass to a 45 degree angle, and twist the glass as you let the sauce fall into it. Then it’s time to drink it! Cheers!

This delicious, sweet and chocolaty Chocolate Covered Strawberry Martini is perfect for Valentine's Day, or just anyone with a sweet tooth! Feel like a bartender with this super simple, but delicious drink. // www.CandidlyKelseyBlog.com

I hope you enjoy this Valentine’s Day cocktail and if you make it send me a photo at the social links down below! I’d adore to see your creations. In the comments let me know, what is your favorite Valentine’s Day treat?

Want more from Elle, join her over at Elle Talk for more cocktails, stories, and how tos. You can also find her on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.


Chocolate Covered Strawberry Martini

Yields: 2
Time: 4 minutes

Ingredients:
3 shots of Dark Chocolate Liqueur
1 shot of Strawberry Vodka
3 shots of Creme De Cacao
5 shots of Half & Half
Chocolate Sauce for garnish

Tools:
Cocktail shaker
Martini glass

Directions:
Fill a shaker with ice. Pour your ingredients over the ice, and shake for 10 seconds. Swirl your martini glass with chocolate sauce, and strain your martini into the glass. Serve immediately.

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