Top 3 Barriers to Accessing Therapy (and how to get around them)

Dr Sara Carr, Clinical Psychologist and Director of Find My Psychologist

Posted 01.08.2021

 

BARRIER NO. 1: TIME

“I just don’t have time for therapy”

Sound familiar?

The time challenges of modern society are real. Between working, raising a family, keeping your home clean, exercising, socialising, taking care of elderly parents, etc. there just aren’t enough hours in the day. We are always trying to squeeze “one more thing” into our busy schedules, which can leave us feeling burnt out.

The interesting thing is that time is a relative concept (bear with me with this one!). Everyone does the best he/she/they can. Everyone has exactly the same amount of time in the day. And yet some people do seem to have more time to do get things done, don’t they?

 

Are these people more motivated?

Better organised?

More efficient?

Are they more focused or less exhausted?

Are they fully optimising their days?

There are all kinds of reasons, and we appreciate, so many factors to consider when distributing time.

HOW CAN I WORK AROUND TIME?

The time issue really becomes more of an issue of priority. And sometimes that means making choices that are hard in the short term, but can lead to more beneficial patterns and behaviour in the long term. Most things in life that are worth doing are worth making some time for, but the reality is that might mean sacrificing something else (at least in the short term).

💫One of the biggest benefits of online therapy is that you can access it from your home/office, often at times that fit around you, meaning that travel times are cut down. Research shows online therapy is just as effective as face to face.

💫Depending on your therapy, there may be pieces of “homework” to do in between sessions to integrate learning from the sessions into your everyday. These can often be quite minimal in terms of time, but can make such a big difference to the process of therapy and change.

💫If you have problems that just aren’t going away, finding a few hours to better understand and manage them now might actually save you time and distress. There are different types of therapies, including short, medium and long term, so it’s important to find one that fits for you, with a psychologist you feel you can work with.

BARRIER NO. 2: MONEY

“It costs too much”

It’s true- therapy is a significant expenditure that needs to be carefully considered.

WHY SO COSTLY?

1. Education. All psychologists listed on our site have a doctorate in psychology and this education gives us the foundational training to work with you utilising a variety of evidence-based approaches and perspectives to tailor the therapy to what you need. Psychologists continue training in areas of specialism to keep up to date with the latest therapies, strategies and research, which occurs additional costs.

2. Supervision. Psychologists require monthly supervision in order to review cases and consider blind spots, areas of improvement, and own biases. These sessions are paid for by the psychologists and ensures safe practice as well as gaining an outside perspective to serve clients the best they can.

3. The Usual Overheads including fees for a rental office, record management software, paying for admin support, etc.

WORTH THE INVESTMENT?
Understanding ourselves, working through obstacles, and managing low mood, anxiety and relationships are just some of the reasons people often seek therapy.

Investing in oneself can be a strange concept at first, but by developing key skills and strategies, and putting in the work outside the sessions can lead to significant change in one’s life, based on own personal goals. Not entirely sure what to work on? Your psychologist can also likely help on this front!

OTHER AVENUES
Before investing in therapy:
•explore the services provided by the NHS in your area (free at point of contact)
•Speak to your GP and see whether they have any suggestions (such as Improving Access to Psychological Therapies; IAPT)
•Check out charities and third sector organisations, such as the mental health charity, MIND
•Look at your insurance policy (therapy sometimes covered with policies from Vitality, Bupa, Aviva and AXA Health)

Unfortunately there are also many people are waiting months or even years for services catered to their needs in the NHS. There are a lot of people falling “through the gap” who don’t meet the “severe and enduring” criteria to access these services, but also need support.

BARRIER NO.3: THE UNKNOWN

“I love the idea of therapy; I just don’t even know where to start.”

Even if you have tried therapy before, there are just so many unknowns which can make it really difficult to reach out and begin the process of therapy.

So many different therapies, how do I know which one I need?

There are a lot of therapies out there. You may have heard of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (also known as CBT) which is one that tends to get recommended by GPs and other professionals. But there’s so many others – Acceptance & Commitment Therapy, Compassion Focused Therapy, Dialectical Behaviour Therapy, EMDR, person centred therapy, psychodynamic…to name a few, it can feel really overwhelming knowing where to start.

Research shows the right therapist is probably the most important factor in the ‘success’ of treatment.

Psychologists are trained in several different therapies and many offer a personalised approach to your difficulties. All the psychologists registered on Find My Psychologist are Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) registered – they are trained to deliver safe and effective interventions.

We recommend searching for a psychologist who you feel would be a good match for you. Read their services and click on their profile for more information to see whether they talk about difficulties that you identify with.

An assessment doesn’t mean you have to continue. The assessment allows you to:
💫discuss your current difficulties
💫an opportunity to ask lots of questions
💫see if you ‘click’

At the end of an assessment session the psychologist usually summarises their understanding of your difficulties and formulates a plan of the type of therapy that might be most helpful. Not uncommonly, the psychologist may recommend someone with additional expertise or a specific therapy that they feel would be beneficial for you.

Final Reflections

We hope this blog post has been a helpful summary of three barriers to accessing therapy and has provided some helpful thinking.

Ultimately, we know it can be really hard reaching out for support in managing challenges, especially if this is the first time you’ve accessed therapy or you’ve had a difficult past experience.

We’ve made it as simple as possible to send a message or two to prospective psychologists using our quick and easy contact form.

Visit www.findmypsychologist.co.uk and search now to view therapy services offered by HCPC registered psychologists in your area and across the UK.

 

About the Author

Dr Sara Carr is a clinical psychologist working in both the NHS and private practice in the South of England.

Passionate about people gaining access to safe and evidenced-based psychological services when they need it, Sara launched Find My Psychologist earlier this year.

Let’s connect! Email findmypsychologist@outlook.com if you have any questions.

 

HCPC Registered Psychologist? Register now on Find My Psychologist to join our growing community of psychologists in private practice, including access to listed training and supervision opportunities posted by psychologists – for psychologists – in our members-only area.

 

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