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Tips for finding a good therapist?

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I recently tried seeing a therapist for the first time, thinking it would help to talk all of this out with a professional. I've been putting this off for a long time - I was diagnosed a year and a half ago - but lately it's felt more urgent for me to try to find some support.

That being said, I'm not sure if this therapy experience was all that helpful, and I'm wondering if anyone here might have tips for helping to find an affordable option where someone with HSV would actually feel comfortable discussing both the physical and emotional aspects of it.

My first visit was fine enough. It felt a little impersonal but she also of course had a lot of paperwork and notes that needed to be taken so I thought I'd give her the benefit of the doubt. The next week I messed up my therapy time and didn't make it to see her, but I called to make sure I stayed on the schedule for the following week.

That brings me to this week. When I showed up for my appointment, she introduced herself to me as if we had never met before. After she brought me into her office it became clear she didn't remember me AT ALL. She didn't have my file, she had blank intake forms. I told her I met with her the week before last, and she said, "you did?" So I spent half my session reminding her what we talked about (as well as explaining the condition and how testing works - she seemed a bit uneducated on that front, which was honestly surprising to me since her bio said she helps people with relationship problems and you'd think that would be something that comes up in relationship problems). The other half of the session she spent on her laptop looking up support groups, which was something I clearly can do on my own. It felt like a waste of time and money. To top it off, she told me that she wasn't going to write "herpes" in her notes. She said she would refer to it only as "social anxiety". She said nobody would get into her notes but she wanted to still be cautious about "confidentiality". I honestly didn't know what to say in the moment, but this just felt so stigmatizing to me. Like I should be ashamed and that I have something to hide.

I know that mental health treatment is difficult to find and friends of mine have told me about having to "shop around" before they found a therapist they liked. But I guess I just didn't consider how it would feel if you're being misunderstood (or forgotten) by the very person you're seeking help from. Has anyone experienced something like this? How did you deal with it? 

On a semi-related note, has anyone here tried any of those digital therapy sessions and if so, was it helpful for you? It seems that those are cheaper options (even though my insurance wouldn't cover them, the individual sessions are actually cheaper than my copay).

Any thoughts/experiences you're willing to share are appreciated as navigating care for mental health is all really new to me.

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Hi Lorena,


Her putting that in her notes wasn't about you or stigmatizing you. It was probably because talking about a physical issue alone isn't medically billable for mental health services.  It has to be coded a certain way for insurance to cover it. To find a good therapist is a matter of trial and error. You want to find someone who is attentive and can offer some course of treatment to deal with your stress and thinking around H. That will most likely be the most help. Unfortunately, there is no guaranteed way besides asking what type of therapy  they offer and seeing if your personalities mesh. It is likely each one will have that intake appointment and associated paperwork. I hope this helps.

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