Trouble Finding a Therapist

Published: July 01, 2014
Dear TeenHealthFX,

I'm having therapist troubles. My mom's insurance only covers two therapy offices and I don't like either therapist that I've tried from the two places. The first one was a lady who worked with kids all day and tried to get me to write up a list of things to do so I wouldn't focus on my depression- and her first idea was that I put sparkly stickers on it. Then she played board games with me the whole time. Also, she had so many clients that I got to see her about once a month. Then there's the guy I have now. He works with adults all the time and he doesn't seem to get teens at all. He's old too and constantly uses phrases and references I don't get. When I told him about my paranoid experiences and how I was scared everyone was watching me and nothing was real he said that it wasn't really paranoia, it was just my brain making things up so I wouldn't feel lonely. Then later he completely changed his stance on it entirely and said my episodes were just a "thing" and that all kids go through phases where they're scared of irrational things. He went on to explain that his daughter was scared of spiders. He completely discounted that fact that I heard voices during those episodes and actually thought my mom was a clone that just wanted to get under my guard so it could kill me. In what way does that sound like a regular phobia that all teens go through?! The worst part is that I can't do anything about it. I'm stuck with this guy now because the first lady didn't work out and there's no one else our insurance covers. I feel like I'm getting worse and worse and there's nothing I can do.

Dear Trouble Finding a Therapist,

The statement, “a regular phobia that all teens go through,” is somewhat troubling. While phobias are certainly not uncommon, they are not something all teens experience. Sometimes therapist’s will use statements like, “many adolescents have had the same experience,” as a way of reassuring the person he/she is not alone in his/her thoughts. However, it is never a good idea to minimize the importance of what an adolescent is feeling by generalizing it to a developmental phase. 

The best idea would be for your mother to contact her insurance carrier and have her express your concerns. Saying that there are only 2 options is not an acceptable answer. The insurance carrier made a commitment to your mother’s employer to provide services for its employees. When plan A is not working there should be a Plan B. Have your mother ask them about their “out of network” coverage policy or what the insurance company does in cases like yours. Saying you are “stuck” should not be an option.  If you mother does not get a satisfactory answer from the insurance company then she should take it up with the Human Services Department or the person who handles the insurance contract where she works. Your mother’s employer signed an agreement with the insurance company to provide a service. If the insurance company is deficient in an area, then the company should know about it. 

You could also talk to your present therapist and let him know that you don’t think he is taking your concerns seriously. It would also make sense that if you were having paranoid ideation and auditory hallucinations that you request a consult with a psychiatrist. Not only would it give you a second opinion but address the issue of adding medication to your treatment. 

The most important issue is that you feel like your concerns are being addressed appropriately. Insurance companies and practitioners have this abligation to those they serve.  



Signed: TeenHealthFX