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Finding A Mental Health Counselor Can Be 'Challenging And Overwhelming'

MIAMI (CBSMiami) - Mental health treatment is in huge demand in recent years, especially for conditions such as anxiety and depression.

But finding a counselor can be challenging and overwhelming.

Dr. Rachel Jacoby with Palo Alto University Counseling Education Program says a first step is to check online directories like psychology today, Shrink Space, and the National Board of Certified Counselors.

"You could also contact your insurance company and see who's paneled with them, and that would help with payment options and payment accessibility," she said.

Patients should also understand the difference between therapy providers such as a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW), licensed professional clinical counselor (LPCC), doctor of psychology (Psy.D.), and others.

"Then there are psychiatrists who prescribe medications and then also may offer more interpersonal sessions as well," Dr. Jacoby said.

And if you don't find the right fit in a counselor, keep looking.

Once you start counseling, Dr. Jacoby says to set clear goals, for example, if you're dealing with anxiety.

"Your counselor will be able to help you identify goals within navigating your anxiety. And then not only that, they will be able to support you along the way as you work to reach your goal," she said.

Reem Aboukhater says she started seeing a counselor several years ago because she was struggling with depression and the symptoms were interfering with her life.

"It's helped me a lot, because as I've gone through different counselors, I've sort of I would say graduated to more, to techniques that apply more to my life," Aboukhater said.

"Now I'm more trying to focus on enhanced self-regulation techniques that take into account the nervous system and just mindfulness. That's helping me now because I think it's a life skill."

Aboukhater is now pursuing a doctorate in health education, focusing on mental health so she can help others.

It's important to ask about the cost of care before starting treatment.

Some health insurances will cover a portion of the cost but ask if your insurance will cover the provider you pick.

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