Finding a therapist who is suitable for you in a massive city such as Los Angeles may not be easy. Also, when you find it you realize that the practice is located far away.
According to a 2019 California Health Care Foundation survey, many people in California who require mental health care have difficulty obtaining treatment. More than half of those seeking mental health care said they had to wait longer than they thought was appropriate.
Also, according to Mental Health America, more than half of adult Americans with mental illness, about 27 million people, do not receive treatment while over 11.1% (5.5 million) of adult Americans with a mental illness remain uninsured.
Los Angeles, home to roughly four million people, has the same drawbacks as many other big cities: excessive traffic, a shortage of parking, and public transportation that is far from flawless.
Considering the shortage of therapists and how in-demand mental health professionals are, especially given how many people battle with stress, anxiety, and depression post-COVID, it’s no wonder that finding a therapist in Los Angeles may be overwhelming.
Do You Need Psychotherapy?
For most of us, day-to-day life is loaded with challenges, whether due to work-related stress, family issues, or financial strain, to name a few.
Mental health counseling is not exclusively reserved for people with mental illness. Most people seek counseling when their mental health or relationship problems interfere with their daily lives. Therapy can assist you in understanding your feelings, learning appropriate coping techniques, and.
Most of those who seek therapy are dealing with everyday issues. The most common reasons people seek psychotherapy include stress, worry, sadness, grieving, self-esteem concerns, and relationship difficulties.
Many couples also go to marriage therapy because they are having communication problems, infidelity issues, or feeling emotionally disconnected. A mental health specialist will listen to you without judgment, help you learn coping strategies, and help you improve your life. Counseling may be a safe place to:
- Understand your feelings
- Work through past traumas
- Learn appropriate coping techniques
- Prepare for significant life changes or learn how to adapt to them
- Process grief
- Change behavior patterns that may be causing your symptoms
- Enhance relationships.
But is it possible to find a therapist who is a good fit in a city with such a high demand for therapists?
How Overwhelming Can It Be to Look for a Therapist in Los Angeles?
The existing obstacles to mental health care treatment that existed before the pandemic, such as access to mental health treatment or a shortage of therapists, still remain. On the other hand, an increasing number of people are struggling with mental health symptoms such as anxiety, depression, and burnout, among other things.
However, even if you can access the mental health care system, it is not enough simply to find a psychotherapist in LA. You also need to consider your needs during the search process, such as the duration and intensity of your symptoms, medications you might be taking, and the sort of therapy that may be ideal for you.
Another issue to consider is your health insurance coverage. Will your health insurance cover some or all of the therapy costs?
The Type of Therapy You Require
Before you choose a therapist who is a good fit, you should know what kind of therapy you are willing to try. Depending on your problem, you may need individual psychotherapy, counseling for your relationships, family therapy, or addiction treatment.
Also, if you believe in the power of your subconscious and unconscious mind, you should consider seeing a psychodynamic therapist. Or you might choose a cognitive-behavioral therapist if you want to change your thoughts and actions and think that doing so will improve your well-being.
Your Health Insurance Coverage
Your insurance provider may have a list of mental health services that are covered. Check with your insurance ahead of time to see your coverage and benefit restrictions.
Many therapists in Los Angeles operate as out-of-network providers. This means that you pay directly for your sessions and get a receipt that you can send to your insurance company to get paid back.
However, if you choose to work with someone outside of the network, you may be eligible to receive reimbursement for a portion of the session fees. In addition, some people opt out of using their insurance for various reasons, whether they want access to a broader range of therapists, to protect their privacy, not want their diagnosis recorded, etc.
Common Difficulties in Obtaining an In-Person Appointment in Los Angeles
A Lack of Mental Health Knowledge
Carolina Valle, in charge of policy at the California Pan-Ethnic Health Network, says that primary care doctors are critical in helping their patients find mental health specialists. Unfortunately, they often lack awareness about mental health services covered by the health plan.
A Deficiency of Professionals Working in Mental Health
There is no doubt that the need for mental health services is growing in California and the rest of the U.S. But there aren’t enough licensed mental health professionals, which means that millions of people with mental illness don’t have anyone to help them.
Mental Illness Stigma
Stigma about mental illness keeps many people from getting help for mental health problems because they feel ashamed or embarrassed. People with mental illness are more likely to feel uncomfortable and unsafe if they don’t feel like their family, community, or healthcare system is there for them.
A Lack of Culturally Competent Counseling
Research shows that persons of color who live below the poverty line are three times more likely than those who live above it to report major mental illness.
Finding a therapist who shares their racial identity is critical for people of color seeking therapeutic support. Unfortunately, reports show that there is a shortage of therapists of color even though there has been an increased demand for their services.
According to an APA study, just 4% of American psychologists were African American in 2015. Another concern is that some African Americans may face bias from potential clients, either consciously or unconsciously. This could make them less likely to get help for mental health problems.
A Busy Schedule
With today’s hectic lifestyle, many people just cannot manage to complete all of their tasks in a single day and make it to the therapist’s office. Therefore, teletherapy options appear to be more than a welcome option for these folks because they can be done from the comfort of their own home or anywhere else, anytime.
Working shifts, long hours, and insufficient child care are just a few of the issues that many Los Angeles residents face daily. Often, the counselor’s office hours and your work hours clash, making it impossible to plan traditional therapy sessions.
Traditional, in-person therapy can be too expensive, especially when it lasts for months or years. Furthermore, for many people, health insurance does not cover psychotherapy, keeping mental health services in Los Angeles out of reach.
While telehealth was not covered in the United States in the past, most insurance providers now cover at least some form of telehealth service.
Also, many types of teletherapy are free, such as suicide hotlines and other crisis phone services.
Parking and Traffic in Los Angeles
Traffic jams become a way of life when you live in a city. It is estimated that drivers in Los Angeles spend 102 hours a year stuck in traffic.
Also, because parking spaces in Los Angeles are exceedingly restricted, you may forget about convenient parking at your therapist’s office. However, you get the picture when you factor in the cost, location, and time spent looking for a parking spot.
Most people prefer to drive, and there is a lack of demand for public transit in Los Angeles. So, the city’s public transportation system is far from perfect, making it tough to get to your therapist’s office without a problem and on time.
Benefits from a Therapist Who Knows Los Angeles and, Because of This, Offers Teletherapy
Suppose you find a therapist who lives in the city. In that case, there is a good chance that they will provide teletherapy counseling services since they understand the difficulties of living and finding a therapist in Los Angeles. Teletherapy involves counseling that can be done over the phone or online with your therapist.
So, your teletherapy in Los Angeles can be done:
- Individually over the phone
- Using videoconferencing
- Through apps that connect you to your therapist
- Via group chat for group therapy
- Using email or instant messaging
Technology has recently been extensively used in healthcare to discover, screen for, and treat physical and mental illnesses. For example, teletherapy for mental health uses the Internet and related technologies, like phone apps, to deliver information, screen, monitor, intervene, and give support.
Your therapists in Los Angeles may use the following tools to provide teletherapy:
- Apps for mobile devices
- Computer (laptop/desktop)
- Text-based chat
- Real-time messaging
- Software for video conferencing
Teletherapy for mental health counseling offers several benefits. Some of them are listed below.
Teletherapy Reduces the Shortage of Mental Health Professionals
A significant problem in mental health is a shortage of mental health practitioners. In traditional psychotherapy, fewer mental healthcare providers mean fewer appointments available for clients.
Teletherapy solves this problem by putting a person who needs treatment in touch with a much larger group of qualified mental health professionals.
Teletherapy Overcomes Geographical Barriers to Therapy
Online and phone therapy allow you to receive assistance from a licensed therapist regardless of your location, allowing you to choose a therapist that is a suitable fit for you. Teletherapy can also be an excellent option for people who have mobility challenges, work remotely, or reside in rural locations where access to mental health treatments might be challenging.
As a result, even if you live hundreds of miles away, you may obtain therapy as long as you live in the same state as a certified therapist.
Teletherapy Provides Privacy
Phone and internet counseling provides you with total privacy, enabling you to plan your sessions from home when no one else is around.
Also, teletherapy provides a safe environment for working on your problems without the fear of bumping into someone you know at your therapist’s downtown office.
Furthermore, some people feel more comfortable opening up in an online counseling session than in person with a therapist.
Teletherapy Offers Convenient Access and Support
One of the significant advantages of online therapy in Los Angeles is the availability of ongoing assistance from your therapist, as teletherapy allows you to communicate with your therapist regularly.
Another advantage of using the Internet for therapy is that no prior preparations are required because phone and internet treatment usually start immediately.
As a therapist located in Los Angeles, I understand the unique difficulties that someone is facing when it comes to driving from one place to another. That’s why teletherapy becomes a valuable tool that allows you to choose the provider of your choice and avoid the hassle and stress of driving. Let’s connect soon so we can set up a consultation.