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How to Find a Therapist


Finding a therapist that you trust and who puts you at ease is one of the most important aspects of successful therapy! 

1. Start when you are ready!

To get the most out of therapy, it is important to commit yourself to the process. Therapy can be hard, and when you are dealing with difficult emotions you may feel worse before you feel better. Consider why you are thinking about starting therapy now and what you want to get out of the experience. This will help you find the right therapist who is a fit for you and who will ultimately make sure you progressing towards your goals.

2. Choose the right type of provider.

  • MD (Psychiatrists) – medical doctors who prescribe medication 
  • NP/CNS (Nurse Practitioners and Certified Nurse Specialists) – licensed to prescribe medication 
  • PhD/PsyD (Doctoral-level psychologists) – provide talk therapy 
  • LCSW-R (Licensed Clinical Social Workers) – provide talk therapy 
  • LMHC (Licensed Mental Health Counselors) – provide talk therapy 
  • LMFT (Licensed Marriage & Family Therapists) – provide talk therapy

3. Consider your therapy budget.

Therapist fees can vary widely and not all are covered by insurance. Check with your insurance company to determine if they have a list of in-network therapists. If using an out-of-network therapist, check to see if insurance will cover a percentage of the cost, and if so, what type of provider license will they cover. 

4. Determine of a certain therapy approach is needed.

There are hundreds of different types of therapies and it can be difficult to determine what might be effective for you. Many therapists utilize several modalities and will tailor their approach to fit each client. Consider if you may require a “specialist” such as a trauma specialist, eating disorder specialist, substance use specialist, etc. 

5. Call and make an appointment.

Some therapists are willing to complete a phone consult first to gather basic information. Ask about the type of therapy they practice and if it sounds like a fit. First appointments are usually additional information gathering for both you and the therapist. They may ask you questions about your family, history, past events, relationships, etc. They will ask you about your goals for therapy and then develop a treatment plan. After the appointment, it is important to notice if there is a therapeutic alliance between yourself and the therapist which will provide a strong, productive relationship as you go forward with therapy. 

How to Navigate Health Insurance

When you are looking for a therapist, one decision you will need to make is how you will pay for the sessions. Using your health insurance plan may seem confusing, but it will save you money. 

Questions that you may want to consider: 

1. Should I use an in-network or an out-of-network therapist? What’s the difference?

In-network therapist: A therapist that has a contract with your health insurance provider to accept a predetermined payment amount per session.

  • Pro: Most affordable; usually keeps session cost under $50.00 if deductible has been met; payment is straight-forward, the therapist submits the bills directly to the insurance provider 
  • Con: Fewer therapists to choose from 

Out-of-network: A therapist that does not have a contract with your health insurance provider and sets their own fees.

  • Pro: A larger number of therapists to choose from 
  • Con: May cost more than $50 per session; you will have to obtain a bill from the therapist and submit to your insurance to determine if they will cover a percentage. 

2. How do I know who to call and what is covered?

Call your insurance provider! You should have been issued an insurance card to carry with you. On the back of the card are the telephone numbers for customer service. The insurance provider will advise you where to find a list of in-network providers as well as what percentage of payment they will cover if you use an out-of-network provider. You can also find information regarding your insurance coverage in your “summary of benefits”. This is usually a chart on your insurance provider website or in a new member’s packet. 

3. What are “co-pays” and “deductibles”?

Co-Pay: The set fee you will pay at each therapy session is pre-determined by the insurance company for an in-network therapist. This can be anywhere from $10-$60/visit. For an in-network therapist, a co-pay will be all the cost for which you are responsible. For an out-of-network therapist, you will be responsible for the full cost of the session each time you go. 

Deductible: The sum total of your medical costs that must be met before you will receive reimbursement from your insurance company. Deductibles reset each year. For example: If your insurance provider has a $500.00 deductible, no reimbursement will be available until you have spent $500 in medical bills.

Transportation to appointments

The College can provide transportation to appointments with your therapist at no cost. All requests should be directed to the Transportation office and can be scheduled up to one month prior to an appointment. You will be picked up/dropped off at the Sadove Student Center. 

Process to set up transportation: 

1. Contact the transportation office either by email at transport@hamilton.edu. Information required: 

a. Your Name
b. Your cell phone #
c. Address where you are going
d. Date of the appointment

After your first appointment, you can schedule transportation for future appointments up to one month in advance. Simply provide a list of appointment dates and times to the Transportation office after your first appointment.

Contact Information:
Mike Houle, Transportation Coordinator
Campus Safety Building
Phone: 315-859-4515
Email: transport@hamilton.edu 

Contact Information


Counseling Center

Johnson Center
Clinton, NY 13323
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Help at Any Time

In Crisis?


Call 315-859-4340 and press option 2 to speak with a counselor 24/7/365

If you want off-campus help, call 1-800-273-TALK or text “START” to 741-741

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