200: The Difficulty Finding a Therapist (Sort Of)

We’re a little all over the place in this episode. We start off talking about a situation Jason encountered when attempting to obtain credentialing from insurance companies to provide therapy services. From there we take a short interlude to the problem with insurance and the myth of companies. We finally land on the challenges of finding a “good” therapist. Listen in with us as we address the challenges of daily life in recovery and share your thoughts with us.

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Transcript:

recovery sort of is a podcast where we discuss recovery and addiction topics from the perspective of people living in long-term recovery this podcast does not intend to represent the views of any particular group organization or Fellowship the views expressed here are solely the opinion of its contributors be advised there may be strong language or topics of an adult

[Music]

nature [Applause] welcome back it’s recovery sort of the podcast where we talk about life recovery and the struggles along the way thanks for tuning in here we go okay so I’m at work right and in my job um the way insurance and medical stuff works is that I got a degree and then I get licensed by my state to provide counseling to people and they say that I’m accredited or whatever and then I go into this weird website and I put all those credentials in this is my degree this this is you know where I took a p in third grade every [  ] thing about my life is on this thing and then the insurance companies then go on the other end of this website and look at it and say okay he meets all the requirements he can be credentialed by us we can cover when our CL people see his him for therapy so generally that’s a really seamless process all the big insurance companies generally just you know he meets the Rex cool check good done so now we’re at the stage of my career where the small ones are trying to credential me some of the smaller ones in the area that are still around you know labor unions sometimes have these stuff like that and uh I guess they aren’t satisfied with the information that I’ve put on there to explain my criminal background so they’ve started reaching out to my company and you know which gets passed to me to give them a better explanation so already that’s uncomfortable for me right I’m a guy with a criminal background there’s some some less than feelings around that now I got people questioning if they’re going to like certify me to be a guy that’s you know professional enough for them to give therapy and that kind of bothers me that people get to judge me and decide that right so I sent them this email I said the explanation I I tried to keep it pretty brief I had some attitude in it I don’t know if they could read it or not but you know like look this is what happened I was struggling with some substance use stuff at the time um I I you know did these things to get money to support that habit these were the amounts but all this stuff right it I mean if we look at it I had a theft over $300 because I stole a [  ] air conditioner and some DVDs and pawn them right like this is the the crimes I did and then I stole my roommate’s checkbook and wrote $245 checks to myself cuz she had like $96 in her [  ] bank account and that’s what I have three felonies for that some total of $390 basically right so anyway I put this in there I send it back I’m like like H I’m annoyed about it but whatever it’ll be what it is either they’ll cover me or they won’t I really don’t give that much of a [  ] it’s not going to impact my life so they send back an email and I get this I can’t remember if it was Monday or Tuesday morning I woke up to this and the lady says what treatment did you undergo has there been any ongoing treatment what is the current state of your sobriety and I said what in the [  ] is this you’re trying to professionally credential me and you’re asking about my criminal background and history which okay that’s public record this feels like you’re asking about my [  ] medical history feels like a hippo violation right so I talked with my boss and and some of my co-workers about this and like the best we could think is that they’re trying to come from the place not necessarily of criminal background even though that’s tied into this but there’s also a qualification to be um you know to be able to pass a year analysis basically so they think that’s where they’re coming from with this line of questioning and being able to ask they think they think their right to ask these questions of me is about whether I am able to give a negative your analysis today um trying to use some new terminology there yeah I don’t know man like this really rubbed me the wrong way I’m like you’re asking about something that happened 20 years ago and you’re asking about like what if I had had cancer 20 years ago if we’re saying this is a [  ] disease in the medical field and I’d have had cancer 20 years ago or diabetes like you would not be asking me if I was still avoiding the ice cream in order to be competent enough to see your people like that just doesn’t even feel right can you just decline can you just say I I’m I’m not interested in answering these questions I I’ll decline I understand that eliminates me from inclusion in your program so here’s where my brain got ahead of me yes I I absolutely could have my boss was like you don’t have to answer any of that [  ] if you don’t want to to um I did not realize at the moment that this was going on on a Tuesday morning when braing was Fuzzy I don’t actually see anybody that’s under this insurance yet I was assuming at this point in time that I was already seeing someone and we were like risking not getting all the back pay for like three months or whatever I didn’t know I went through afterwards and realized wait a minute I don’t even have any people with this person whatever but either way it it bothered me I talked to people I got the support I needed the the people in my professional and my boss definitely stood behind me my boss even said do you want me to handle this for you um it felt so [  ] supportive to get that right I didn’t have to defend myself why I feel this is wrong or nothing everybody was like I’m sorry that they would ask you these personal questions so I responded to him um and I’m going to read that response to you guys and and we’ll we’ll go from there so I said good morning I’m not entirely sure how to professionally say this so I’m doing my best to just say it gently and I hope it comes across that way I’m actually really surprised at these questions they feel like questions about my medical history and not about my criminal record I don’t have any Shame about my life around that and I will answer these questions if that is what it takes to be covered and be able to help more people in the world but it does really feel yucky another piece and I’m trying to genuinely be helpful here but I’m providing a link to an NIH article National Institute of Health article about how terminology matters for stigma and what we try to you that we try to use medical terms when referring to substance use in order to lessen that stigma sober and sobriety by extension are not clearly defined medical terms um its definition is something around blah blah blah uh so I went on to say that I provided a link I said I understand that this isn’t your personal policy and that this is coming from somebody else’s desires to know this information I’m not trying to point a finger at anyone just to raise awareness that these questions seem out of line with the industry standards on navigating clinician mental health history substance use history and engagement with the criminal justice system in the past our field sees persons with personal struggle struggle in their story as extra qualified all this to say if these are the answers you need I will provide them but I really would love if the process of obtaining credentialing could be reexamined for 2023 and Beyond in speaking with the management at my company bod uh they express being happy to help if revisiting the process of trying to protect the clients from unsafe situations with questions that might be more useful in determining that thank you for your time so that was my explanation maybe I’m reading it because I want to say hey I advocated and stood up for people and [  ] like let’s all start taking a stand but what are your thoughts on this because apparently like I guess there is no legal right or wrong around it and they can ask whatever the [  ] they want it seems like and without repercussions what do you think about that should we be able to ask people about their history from 20 years ago just to make sure that us our partners our kids are safe in seeing them as therapists or doctors or nurses or tell me H I don’t know I was disappointed when you read your response that you were still agreeing to answer the questions I wish you had taken a hard line and said I’m I’m not I’m not going to answer this I could see that I could see that I for me it felt really good in saying you know what even if y’all get Petty I’ll go down to get Petty just so I can help people that felt good that felt like really self-righteous and uh I was like yeah I’m better than you I wish there was so much more substance to it than any of this to be frank when I hear all of it I’m like all this is is some legal thing that if you’re on [  ] strung out on meth and give someone some bad advice that they covered under medical insurance they don’t get sued for saying you’re a licensed person yeah thanks for pointing that out that this is all legal [  ] it’s really probably all that it is and that was beautiful everything you said was beautiful some lawyer is going to read it and be like I can’t use this in court I can’t like I can’t it they’re not trying to place any sort of judgment on you at all they’re trying to reduce their exposure to liability is [  ] all that it boils down to and and that goes back to what we talked about earlier right that idea that when money is the most important part over top of life we don’t give a [  ] about the unintended consequences of what happens in our questioning of making sure we don’t lose money down the line right we don’t care about the life that’s hurt or affected right and that’s the [  ] problem in every step of our life oh yeah I don’t think they would care either way whether you’re going to help people or whether it’s going to help you or whether not they’re just

know by that St Insurance oh I hate insurance

could

right well that’s their business model let me sell you something that I hope you never need to use and then when you do need it I’m going to try to not let you use it right because you’re taking money out of my pocket yes yes so I don’t know and maybe this is just in my life and I’m not trying to take it somewhere else away from this but I have been actually hearing more and more people talking about their care for the older adults that are close to them and how it’s like non-existent and [  ] awful and terrible like I like I know this has always been a thing right we’ve always talked about Senior Care Centers and all those kind of things but I feel like specifically the last I don’t know 3 to six months this has just been coming up for me and and people I’ve been talking to a lot has that like for you as well or maybe this is just an who I talk to and what I talk about I don’t know anyone I got you much in Senior Care at the moment now I’ve know people that have worked in senior care actually I know a few and the individuals I think are beautiful wonderful people like it takes a compassionate person but it’s like any other job you know my job per se like you just like you’re not always the one that gets to make the decision of whether you do something for free for somebody because you feel bad for them and I think in a lot of these especially medical insurance situations or Elderly Care situations it’s like you can’t just you know provide thousands of dollars of services because the person needs it when their insurance company tells you no and and and that’s where we’re getting it wronged man that’s where but I’m saying if you’re the part-time worker or even full-time worker that works there at the facility like sure you might go out of your way to try to do little things here and there but you know the worst first thing we ever did was invented the myth of the company or business or organization right because the company business or organization can act in ways that are not human and can dehumanize people right and we’ll still say the company’s fine because it’s a company its point is to make money its point is to put people second but that’s who’s got all the [  ] money and running the world yeah like that’s not working right that if it was if it was not Coke Coca-Cola if it was Bob Smith and Bob Smith [  ] accidentally poisoned some people we’d all stop [  ] with Bob Smith for a long enough time that Bob Smith wouldn’t be important anymore right you know Jake Jake schol over there has his own Coca-Cola version that tastes just fine and doesn’t [  ] kill people because he spends more time with it or whatever like when you start maximizing profits over people and you have a company that you can say that’s allowed to do that you’re always going to have life second and that is not good for any of us it doesn’t feel good yeah and It’s Tricky and just to you know I guess cuz when you first read that letter and all that stuff I’ll play devil’s advocate for a minute because immediately what I think is yeah what they’re trying to do is protect themselves from someone you know some fraudster shamster whatever guy who ended up in jail for 30 years and while he was in there did some classes to get some certification and really he’s still for lack of a better word you know living uh not a good life his intentions aren’t specifically good but now he’s got this degree and he’s trying to you know therapy people and you hear about the [  ] crazy uh I shouldn’t say crazy The Eccentric therapist people there was the guy who took the people out into the woods and did the uh sweat lodge in the tent with the heater and killed all those people like you know what I mean so they’re out there too and even if he was well intentioned he wasn’t I don’t know if s’s the right word he didn’t know what he was doing obviously you don’t take people and shove them in a tent how many people was it I forget how many this was years and years ago but and I only knew because at the time we were participating in a sweat lodge and we know some people that do a sweat lodge then when we heard this guy’s version of a sweat lodge that these people died in it was like a [  ] joke but uh you know and that’s what they’re looking out for they’re like how do we with out like getting to sit down and personally interview this person make a decision on whether they’re safe to be around other people I mean that’s probably the fastest a therapist has ever run a group into ending their miserability oh sorry just trying to make light of that um yeah that’s awful yeah yeah yeah I don’t know I get it right and even as I was saying it when I was asking for your guys’ thoughts like the thought occurred to me you guys might be all right with this as people who you know if you’re sending your somebody you care about and and I especially think in Billy’s case your children right if you’re sending young children or to a therapist yeah you kind of want to make sure they’re safe I get that right I don’t know though I guess it just doesn’t leave room for it’s kind of like the conversation we were having off you know sound or off record ing earlier Caroline like this idea that they’re saying this one thing means this thing about everybody or even about most people and I’m saying no just because people made mistakes in their life and got involved in the law has nothing to do with who I am yeah a very small piece of who Jason is right in the context of of being a professional therapist there’s so many things that can make someone dangerous that have nothing to do with with criminal history or substance abuse well I just wonder like if your uh previous charges were around sexual violations or whatever you call it like what they would probably want to answer some questions about that I feel like there’s not I mean okay so maybe maybe there is in this point some kind of like sex offender or click in a box that says I’m not a sex offender I would think so too but I feel like I don’t maybe it’s because I didn’t have to fill out a section to explain why I don’t know I don’t remember that part of it I mean I could look that has to be a disqualification off the bat I feel we take that so seriously the sweat lodge thing was in 2009 three people ended up dead more than a dozen were in the hospital so that’s awful yeah self-help Guru took them all out in the desert yeah we’re going to do this therapy thing it’s going to be great well I think this speaks to and something you and I have spoken about before Jason that that is problematic I believe from both of our perspectives the fact that there is no way to determine if someone is a good therapist there are so many people out there operating um probably not doing actual damage but but wasting people’s time right like they might be perfectly nice and lovely to talk to but they’re not getting results and you as a consumer of therapy really have no reputable source to say okay this person is going to be able to help me or not going to be able to help me this person has had success in their career or hasn’t had success in their career with all that the insurance companies don’t make any of that navigate and any of that [  ] any easier at all like when I wanted to go to therapy so I go to my insurance I look and see who they cover they’re only practices they don’t give you like specific individuals they give you practices then you go to the practice to see who there and this is the amount of research I did I’m sure most people don’t even do this much not to put anyone else down but you know then I go to the practice to start looking at the individual therapist there to see which one I might think you know I want to talk to and you know that takes however much time that takes to invest and then look at the next practice and the next pra to figure out like oh I like this guy then to call the place and be like hey I want to set up an appointment with the this guy does he have any openings and then no one got back to me for like three weeks so I was like oh I probably need to find somewhere else and I started that whole process sort of over again and then that guy finally called me back then to go in and talk to him and realize he doesn’t really do what I wanted to do what I was looking to like I was looking to get into a lot of the like early childhood experience stuff and dealing with childhood trauma and all that stuff you know addressing it as an adult he doesn’t really do any of that and in our case it ended up working out what he really does well he does a lot of addiction therapy which I have that history but that’s not what I’m struggling with right now in my life and then marriage therapy so he ended up becoming like our marriage therapist [  ] by accident right and that was just by luck right you know that was total luck and you know so now I still don’t have an individual therapist that does what I want to do I go to you know self-help meetings for that but it’s like I navigated that whole and this all of that by the way took weeks to months of time yeah so if you’re in a crisis right you know good luck I don’t [  ] know what you do or you just get stuck with bills out of pocket yeah yeah crisis and and like don’t have the resources that you had to do all that kind of research um yeah we we talked about this before Caroline was looking for a therapist and she’s like oh I got somebody a friend Jason he’s in the field he’ll know no I don’t [  ] know right like okay so I work at bod um and we have 28 clinicians wow I think I know yeah I know and a lot of them are virtual so I know maybe 18 of them there’s like 10 of them I don’t know at all right and then of those 18 like how the [  ] do I know what they do in therapy right like we’re all doing something yeah I know as a coworker they’re a friendly enough person like I will say over time getting to spend time with people you do start to get a feel like is this person doing the same kind of stuff I am are they doing something a little different maybe I agree or disagree whatever um but yeah then you look at at okay well there’s also what 50 other therapists in Cecil County I know [  ] next to nothing about them right now granted I I can look at the main stay in America at least us uh Psychology today is where everybody seems to go and I can read through them and see if they sound like [  ] or they sound like somebody that knows what they’re talking about that I can do but even then like they could be using AI to write their their bios at this point my and and and I know how much everybody reads those [  ] bios because I have one that specifically says in my own practice which is all I’m on there for I don’t take any insurances I’m not in network it lays it out this is the cost out of your pocket right and people contact me all the time are you network with this insurance and I’m like I know nobody reads this [  ] but but yeah no somebody does thank you thank you people all those people who aren’t contacting me cuz you’re looking for an insurance thank you I appreciate it um when I was looking for a real therapist I I say a real therapist I had been to therapy a couple times same problem didn’t know really what I was looking for no idea if I was even ready to do anything um but when I went in search of really ready to make some [  ] changes that was one of the things that stressed me the [  ] out I don’t want to have to pick a therapist try three months realize it’s wrong and then start to [  ] over eight times to find them so for me what it was important was that I had a recommendation from somebody I knew and trusted that had been and seen this person and felt like it had changed their [  ] life and I was willing to pay out a pocket it was $135 a session which this was like [  ] I don’t know 12 years ago and that was even like that’s [  ] standard now you know but it was pretty expensive but it was like that price to me helped me feel safe no when I was in the right place and that was so [  ] important to me and like I get it most people don’t have that option I I don’t know how the [  ] I made it through doing it like it was so expensive but the the feeling of like I I feel like for the most part can’t say this is true all the time but in my mind if you’re willing to go out on a limb and say I’m not accepting insurances anymore because I hate dealing with that [  ] process because it’s [  ] and gets in the way of me actually helping you then you probably got something to back that up like some skills to keep people coming and helping them that’s my take on it I get it that’s not the way we want it to work we want Insurance to [  ] cover the [  ] but it does seem like the best therapists are the ones that don’t take insurance because we get tired of dealing with the [  ] and we know we’re good enough we don’t have to yeah that’s what it is I know I’m helping people I’m watching it yeah I know I was talk I was actually I had dinner last night with um a new friend that I actually met in a ACA meeting and she’s a therapist and we were talking about the same thing and she does take insurance and she has a private practice she said that she she does it because huh I might one day yeah she said she does it cuz she wants to be able to help the people that need to go that route but yeah I mean I I would agree it seems like all of the best seem to not you know or most of the best most of the best seem to not because they can because it’s it’s a pain in the ass what you see that’s where we started this episode I got to deal with that kind of [  ] if I want to work with insurances I got to deal with the fact that they can say oh what you wrote in this note uh isn’t good enough we don’t think you’re actually helping them we’re not going to pay or hey um we were paying but now you owe us the last six months of that money back because we decided it wasn’t valid for the last six months or hey every year when you’re still talking to that person now you got to write us a letter and explain why you’re still seeing them after a year because it really shouldn’t be even though therapy takes like five [  ] years anyway well and again not to go down the rabbit hole of Devil’s Advocate but part of that too is a society thing that like if someone comes to see you know a let’s just say a sexual abuse person who’s got a history of some kind of sexual abuse and then they’re sexually assaulted or whatever those people turn around they sue the person they sue the company they work for they sue the insurance company and all those people end up [  ] liable because they didn’t do due diligence or whatever else so we live in this Society where you know you know when a person does something wrong it’s like well let’s just Sue everybody and try to get money out of every hand that we can well we want liability and and Vengeance because we don’t know what healing is right you know what I mean when you don’t know what healing is you just want everything to lash out right I’m not willing to feel these feelings so everybody else will feel that pain for me right and then you know there is some level of like well who is responsible for saying that’s a safe person when there was seven warning signs that they were not a safe person all seven billion of us right you know right we’ve created the pain in the world right as a people you know some people get the blessings at the top and the rest of us get just carried to pain that they don’t feel well and of course like hindsight though is is whatever they say hindsight’s 2020 it’s like you get to the end of one of those stories and you realize there was all these red flags all along the way and and each person ignored one or two you know by the end there was 10 and you know then you someone got set up to be in a horrible situation and here’s the fairness of it all at least as I can see it like I will sit here today and tell you how [  ] up this process is and how crudy all these things are and how I shouldn’t have to feel this way as a human that has grown and learned and changed and then let me come back in 5 years after one of my kids has seen a therapist that was on drugs and [  ] [  ] them somehow and I’ll be like why don’t we have more standards in this industry right you know therapist told my kid some crazy [  ] like let me let me also be aware enough to know that I could stand on the other side of this really quickly told them quit school and leave their parents right right don’t listen to your parents they’re not important whoa wait a minute they don’t know what they’re talking about who’s certifying these people right let this [ __ ] be so willy-nilly right or I mean a tragedy of someone dying in their grief people will yeah get quite aggressive you know yeah man yeah how can we learn as a society to feel our feelings instead of forcefully saying no everyone else will feel this pain instead of me you know yeah well and it’s hard I mean we don’t live in a society that deals with nuances very well you know it’s like things get categorized or put into big bowls of you know oh you fit in this bowl you fit in this bowl you fit in this bowl and when you don’t fit into one of those bowls easily it’s almost like uh we don’t know what to do with you so just what good luck right [Music] right did you like this episode share it with people you think might get something out of it check out the rest of our episodes at recovery sort of.com also while you’re there you can find ways to link up with us on Facebook Twitter Instagram Reddit YouTube anything we’re always looking for new ideas got a idea you want us to look into reach out to [Music] us