Seeing a Therapist in a NYC Group Practice Means Making Therapy Referrals With Confidence
Part of the value of working in an NYC group practice is our ability to make referrals to a therapist in the practice (when that’s what makes sense–we also refer elsewhere). In our therapy practice, we have a good sense of who that provider is and a high level of confidence in their skill. Our patients like the idea of having someone to refer their friend, sister, co-worker, boyfriend, etc. to with the confidence of knowing that they’ll be getting great therapy. They also don’t have to worry about their friend or loved one seeing their same therapist.
I Don’t Want To See The Same Therapist My Friend Does
Cool. No problem. One of the services you’re entitled to when you have a therapist is that they can serve as a resource for referring to other therapists. Therapists make referrals all the time. In asking your therapist for a recommendation, be specific about the person for whom you’re asking. Give them some ideas about who might be a good fit. Gender and age of the therapist are obvious considerations (though, neither has to matter). But, style also matters. For example, are they more active or more likely to sit back?
Of course, you’ll also want to give a sense of what the focus of the work will be. While specialization is often a tricky concept, all therapists have folks they’re better at working with, as well as less skilled at.
How Do You Bring Up A Referral? Talk About Your Therapy
A concern I hear a lot–not just from patients, but friends (and even new friends at parties, for example)–is related to the challenge of making a referral. How do you bring it up without offending your friend or loved one? How do you frame the idea? How do you talk about the value of seeing a particular therapist?
The best way to bring up a referral is to talk about your therapy–not just to sell it, but also to talk about your own experience. Explain what therapy feels like, what surprised you about it and how you’ve come to feel good about your particular therapist. People who have never been to therapy can have a hard time picturing what it looks like. Give them a picture.
Past that, there are tons of ways to suggest a referral. Say, “Therapy has been awesome for me and I think it could be really helpful for you too” or simply, “Hey, I think you might need some help.”
Offer To Go With To Their First Therapy Session
Offering to go with a friend or loved one to visit a therapist for the first time is a way of helping make it feel more ordinary. Perhaps using your own comfort and experience in therapy can help someone else take on something new.
It should be said, though, that while going to therapy can sometimes be and feel scary, it’s not a universal response. If therapy seems scary, there are likely reasons for that–someone has had a bad experience with therapy, with a healthcare provider or has experienced trauma that makes the matter of being and feeling safe a big deal. The best way to respect someone who struggles to feel safe is to respect those feelings and when it comes to going to therapy, there’s no better way to help someone feel safe than to go with them and help assess whether things feel right.
Don’t Get Too Attached To A Particular Therapist
Don’t be too attached to the idea that your friend or loved one sees a particular therapist. Offer a particular therapist as a place to start. Seeing a therapist for the first time shouldn’t feel like signing up for ongoing treatment, sight unseen. Plenty of people “shop around.” Good therapists not only allow for this, but they understand. In most instances, you’ll have to pay for the initial session, but it’s more than worth it to find the right fit.
You should also set decent expectations–it’s not too much to expect some help in that first session. But it’s also important to leave with a pretty good idea of what it would look like to work with that therapist and a loose sketch of an action plan. In making a referral, encourage your friend to be picky.