A virtual therapy session on a laptop is surrounded by a forest of trees.

Tips for Finding a Therapist To Help Navigate Life With MG

I have seen many therapists throughout my life but have never had luck finding one with whom I truly connected and saw improvement. Once myasthenia gravis (MG) came into my life, the reasons I needed talk therapy multiplied. Unfortunately, the difficulty of finding a therapist that works for me multiplied as well.

Here are some tips and considerations I've found helpful when it comes to finding a therapist.

Find someone who works with your budget and insurance

Before searching for therapists, booking, or going to appointments, save yourself the heartache and make sure you know your budget. Find out whether you will be paying out of pocket or if they accept your insurance plan.

It would be devastating to love a therapist or their profile and then find out they do not fit your budget or insurance. You can filter your search for these criteria. Typically, you can find therapists through your insurance provider's website, therapist and psychologist search sites, or online therapy platforms.

Consider the benefits of online therapy

There are multiple benefits of online therapy versus in-person therapy for those of us with MG. Not having to drive or arrange for someone to drive us to and from a therapy appointment saves us a lot of hassle and energy. Especially when taking immunosuppressants. I prefer to limit exposure to as many public spaces as possible where I could catch something.

In therapy offices, I was often cold, uncomfortable in the chairs, or in small, dimly lit rooms. It was also a bit intimidated speaking to someone face to face. Since switching to online therapy, I feel more comfortable in my space. I do not feel as anxious because talking to someone on a screen allows me to look away and not feel the presence of someone staring at me. I feel at peace doing my online therapy video chats outside, with the noises of nature calming me. I get the most out of my appointments when I am comfortable.

Pick the therapist you want

With little luck in therapy before, and now with MG, I was not looking for a cookie-cutter therapist. I sought a therapist who seemed unique and passionate in their approach to therapy.

Some online therapy platforms allow you to see the profiles of all the therapists and pick who you want to book. Other online platforms have you take questionnaires and then match you with a therapist. I am currently seeing a therapist through the online platform Grow Therapy. I was able to read through all the therapist profiles. This allowed me to check off my wish list for the skills and experience I felt a therapist needed in order to help me reach my goals.

Try a therapist close to your age

I used to see therapists older than me, but now I see someone who is close to my age. I notice I speak more freely and naturally because it feels like I am talking to a friend, rather than a family member or stranger whom I feel I need to speak to formally or filter my thoughts.

Know what you want to get out of therapy

It can be challenging to know if you are seeing benefits from a therapist. Sometimes, we may feel better after therapy regardless because we get some relief from sharing what is heavy on our mind. Having a list of the areas where you struggle can help make it easier to evaluate whether a therapist is getting you to where you want to be.

After I was diagnosed with MG, I was very thorough when searching profiles and the skills of therapists I was choosing from, looking for someone who specialized in chronic illness, chronic pain, and anxiety. Other areas that MG affects that I work on with my therapist are grief, relationships, career change, feeling stuck and limited, balancing stress, self-care, having compassion for myself, and having the control to make healthy choices and responses.

You can always part ways

I had little luck finding longevity with a therapist I saw for a year after my MG diagnosis. It constantly felt like gaps existed in how that therapist understood my existence with MG, despite my attempts to explain. Their suggestions often misaligned with my limits.

It can be uncomfortable telling a therapist you want to part ways and no longer work together. Remember, you hire them to work for you! You have no obligation to keep seeing a therapist who you feel is holding you back from your full potential for improvement. If it is more comfortable for you, email your decision to your therapist or their office. Confirm your booked appointments are canceled so you or your insurance do not receive a bill.

I find it's help to periodically asses whether I am improving with a therapist. Then I can visualize if I could improve more, and in the areas I had hoped for by trying a different therapist.

Different styles of therapy may work better for you

Different therapists will employ unique combinations of various therapy types and styles, sometimes impacted by their education and experience. How one therapist provides therapy may not result in improvement for you, your way of thinking, your life, and unique aspects of your life with MG.

I had no clue what the type of therapy was going to be the winning ticket for me. But my current therapist employs art therapy, which is right up my alley. It may surprise you what therapists might try and what works for you.

Don't stop looking for the right fit

Stay persistent. If you stop trying new therapists or types of therapy, you may be missing opportunities to find the right one. Finding a therapist is hard work in which the reward comes to light in the long run.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Myasthenia-Gravis.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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