Ed's Note: While the section on finding a therapist is really only applicable for patients in the US the rest is relevant wherever you are.
If you are thinking about going to therapy as part of your recovery, here is some advice on finding a therapist who will be helpful for you as a bi woman survivor.
Finding a therapist:
- If you have insurance (or can afford to pay out of pocket), I recommend starting with the therapist directory at PsychologyToday.com and selecting your insurance provider, “bisexual issues”, and “sexual abuse” or “trauma/PTSD” under their filters. With any luck, there will be at least one person near you who fits the bill and takes your insurance. You can also try this directory of bi-aware professionals, but it is quite small, with only one or two therapists listed in most states.
- If you don’t have insurance, your next step would be to find out if there are counseling centers for low income people in your area. - - If you’re lucky, there might be a counseling center for LGBT people or for rape survivors. - Contact them to see what your options are.
If neither of the above are options for you, try this article for some other potential resources.
- You may find yourself in a position where finances, distance, biphobia, or other barriers mean that therapy is not an option for you. This is unfortunately common for LGBT survivors, but remember that therapy is not mandatory for recovery, and there are many more resources out there to help you. You will still be okay, I promise
Questions you might want to ask a potential therapist (either through email, on the phone if they offer free phone consultations, or during your first appointment):
- In general, how do you work with patients? (What therapy techniques do you use, how do you create treatment plans for clients?) -How patient-focused would you say your practice is?
- What is your professional approach when treating bisexual patients? Do you have experience with bisexual patients or professional training on biphobia?
- What is your approach with sexual assault survivors? Have you ever treated a bisexual woman survivor?
- Any other questions related to identity/cultural differences that may be of concern.
- What are your hours? How flexible are you with scheduling, do you offer evening or weekend appointments?
- What do you do if a patient is in crisis outside of these hours?
- Are you able to prescribe medication, and under what circumstances do you do so for a patient?
- What is your cancellation policy?
- 5 Questions to Ask Your Therapist
- How to Interview a Potential Therapist Key Questions to Ask When Choosing a Therapist
Questions to ask yourself after the first appointment:
- How do I feel? Did I feel heard? Did I feel respected?
- Am I feeling better or worse, and if I’m feeling worse, is it because I talked about painful things or was it because of the therapist?
- Was the therapist genuine? Was the therapist condescending? Did I feel comfortable with this person?
Remember that even if you go to an appointment or two or twenty, if you don’t feel comfortable with your therapist or you don’t think they’re a good fit, you don’t have to stick with them. If a therapist invalidates you, your trauma, or your sexual/gender identity, they are not a safe person, and you have every right to end your sessions with them.
Whatever position you are in - whether you find a great therapist, whether you search for a therapist and come up empty handed, or whether you are not interested in therapy - remember that you are very brave for seeking help and taking care of yourself.