Finding The Right Therapist W/ Licensed Clinical Social Worker Ellen Yom

This month’s theme of mental health seemed like the perfect opportunity to sit down and chat with Ellen Yom, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who works with both couples and individuals and who also specializes in couples/family therapy and maternal mental health. She received her Master of Social Work from Columbia University and an advanced certificate in couples and family therapy from the Ackerman Institute for the Family, where she now is a Teaching Fellow and Clinic Associate. However, most of her time is spent working at her own private practice that she opened up in Williamsburg back in March 2018. We sat down with her to learn more about how to find the right therapist for you. Also, stay tuned for an IG Live we’ll be doing with her later this month!

Is There A Right Time To See A Therapist?

“I think it’s different for everybody. Some people will go to therapy because they feel like they’re in crisis, which I find is most common. Or it can be a couple who is looking for couples therapy because they feel like they’re stuck in an argument that they can’t get out of. However, sometimes people will seek out therapy because they aren’t in crisis yet, but they know a lot of changes are coming. For example, maybe you just graduated from college and you moved to New York City on your own and you know that it’s going to be a rough transition but maybe you just haven’t felt it yet. I don’t think there's really a perfect time for everybody, I think it just really depends on the situation.”

How To Choose The Right Therapist?

“The most important part of therapy is your relationship with the therapist. If you’ve connected to your therapist and your relationship is really strong then you’ll most likely feel more supported and see the changes that you’re looking for. I would say when looking for a therapist, you definitely want to read about them first. If they have a Psychology Today profile then I’d read up on their profile and see if the language they’re using resonates with you.  Also be sure to take a look at their website and see if you’re able to draw connection through it as well.” (editors note: ZocDoc also is a great option when searching for therapists in your network) 

Next Steps To Take When You Find A Therapist

“I highly would recommend setting up a phone call so you can see how it feels to talk to them just over the phone. There are also times where I’ve met with clients just for a consultation, so at that time both the therapist and the client will see if it’s a good match. When you’re either on the phone or having your first consultation, you’ll definitely want to ask what their process is like. I’d also recommend asking what a first session will look like as well as what questions they’ll be asking. There are some therapists who won’t go into the past and some do, or there are others who are really direct and others who aren’t and all of those things are valuable to know.”

How To Slowly Dip Your Toe Into Therapy

“If therapy makes you a little uncomfortable, I’ve offered to do intro video sessions with clients to help introduce them to the idea, so that’s something you can definitely ask for of a therapist your considering. However, if you’re unsure you want to take the plunge into meeting with a therapist just yet, there are also a number of different apps and resources these days like TalkSpace or BetterHelp you can try first. Additionally, if you’re feeling in crisis and you need help right away, there’s a great text line called the Crisis Text Line that I recommend to my clients as well.”

What If You Can’t Afford Therapy?

“There’s a website called Openpath Collective that offers sliding scale therapy with private practitioners. I would also look at therapy institutes for affordable options. Lots of them (like Ackerman) have clinics that offer therapy with trainees who are supervised by experienced clinicians.”

We hope you found this helpful, and be sure to send us any further questions you may have, either to or through our Instagram! Ellen will be answering them in the IG live on.

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