Life in New York City can be stressful. The cost of living is high, commutes are often long, jobs tend to be high-pressure, and both individuals and the economy are still reeling from COVID-19.
In fact, New Yorkers report stress at levels slightly higher than the national average, citing issues like money, work, and the economy as sources of stress and a lack of time as a main barrier to making healthy lifestyle changes.
With all of the pressures of big-city living, finding a therapist in New York City can be an additional challenge. When you’re so pressed for time, even starting your therapist search can seem daunting, so we’ve pulled together a few tips about how to find a therapist in NYC.
Recommendations or referrals from friends, family, coworkers, or other members of your community can be invaluable when it comes to finding a therapist. If you’re comfortable, ask your friends or peers if they see a therapist or have seen one in the past and see if they can make a recommendation. If you’re part of a community or organization, sometimes they’ll have lists or resources to share about finding LGBTQIA+, BIPOC, or culturally humble therapists.
While recommendations can be a good way to find a therapist, just because a therapist is a great match for your friend or roommate doesn’t mean they’ll be the best fit for you—and when it comes to therapy, fit is super important. That’s where a matchmaking service can come in handy.
For example, MyWellbeing uses a careful matching process to ensure you are paired with the most compatible fit. We consider:
We then send you three recommendations to significantly reduce choice fatigue, and ensure that you can speak to your provider(s) during complimentary phone consultations so that you have a low-risk way of assessing fit.
We know: therapy can be expensive. The average cost of a therapy session in New York City is $200, which is above the national average.
That being said, therapy is an investment in yourself. And when it comes to taking care of yourself, not going to therapy can be more costly than going to therapy.
Do you know how much you spend on utilities per month? Food? Subscriptions? If you don’t know what you already spend versus what you earn, it can be hard to determine how much more you can spend on something like therapy, but making a budget can help.
Whether you opt for a classic budget, tracking all of your expenses and income, or separate your spending into buckets, taking the time to create a budget can help you reorganize your finances, prioritize spending, and manage debt, thus allowing you to make progress toward your long-term financial goals—like going to therapy.
And if the out-of-pocket cost is still too high, don’t forget to ask your potential therapist if they offer a sliding scale, or a flexible fee based on financial need. Through sliding scales, therapists work with clients to find a rate they can afford.
If you’re looking for a therapist, you might think you can find one just like you would find a primary care doctor—by going through your insurance.
But it’s really common for the best therapists not to accept insurance, particularly in cities like New York. Here are a few reasons why mental health practitioners are less likely to take in-network insurance:
If you search outside of your insurance company’s network, you will find more therapists who are both available and a good fit for your needs. But while your insurance won’t cover the entire cost of out-of-network care, you can still use your insurance to reduce the cost of therapy with out-of-network benefits, which help you use your insurance to pay for care from therapists who are not in-network with your insurance company. Based on your specific plan, your insurance company may cover a portion of the cost of seeing a therapist who isn’t in-network with your insurance.
New Yorkers are short on time; we know that! But we don’t want your hard work compiling a list of potential therapists to go to waste. After you have a list of names and have a budget in mind, here are a few things to do to get started:
For support every step of the way, check out our ultimate guide to starting therapy.
When life is so fast-paced, finding a therapist can sometimes get pushed to the bottom of your ever-growing to-do list and with New York’s high cost of living, it can seem like care might make too big of a dent in your bank account. But if you’ve been thinking about seeing a therapist, you’re probably ready, so set aside time to find that list of potential therapists, look at your budget and decide how you can make the investment, and set up the initial phone consultations. We promise it’ll be way easier than a visit to Penn Station.
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Caitlin is MyWellbeing's Content Lead, a writer, speaker, communication coach, and the founder of Commcoterie, a communication consultancy. She teaches teams how to use professional coaching communication techniques in their everyday conversations, helps leaders engage their teams with effective and inclusive communication, and partners with service providers to activate their programs and offerings with their own clients through inspiring communication strategies. Find out more, including how to work with her, at www.commcoterie.com.