Related Spouse Articles

Military Life 101

  • job fair
    Military Spouse Employment 101
    Military.com
    While the military will always throw a monkey wrench in any best-laid plans, your career doesn't have to be one of them.
  • (Photo: U.S. Department of Education)
    Military Spouse Education Help 101
    Military.com
    Good news for you: Being a military spouse can actually make some parts of going back to school easier.
  • (Photo: U.S. Navy)
    Military Life 101
    Military.com
    Military life has a lot of nuts and bolts. You know, the little things that make up just an ordinary day.
  • stack of one dollar bills
    Military Spouse and Family Benefits 101
    Military.com
    Don't know exactly how to get your military spouse and family benefits or want to know more about what they are? Read on.
  • Movers at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, load up a truck with household goods. Jose Ramirez/Air Force
    Military Spouse and Family Moves 101
    Military.com
    Whether you're an old pro or new to the military moving game, there's stuff to learn about PCSing. Here's our easy PCS 101 guide.
  • (Photo: U.S. Marine Corps/Lance Cpl. Sullivan Laramie)
    Military Family Deployment 101
    Military.com
    Preparing for deployment can seem like an uphill battle. But we've been there. Here's what you need to know.
  • Military family
    Military Family Life 101
    Military.com
    Military life is not easy, but we've got your back. From marriage to kids and parenting, we have the resources you need.

Is Finding A Therapist Like eHarmony?

Counseling at a desk.

I must sound like some kind of demented canary. Any time I hear about a military person with a problem, I chirp: Get help! Get help! Get help!

And they do. Our military folks do go to the therapists on post and through Tricare and via Military OneSource and GiveAnHour and all those other providers available to military members and their families.

Often the therapy doesn’t take. So I hear squawking of a different variety. Therapy doesn’t work! Work! Work! Work! Wooooooork!

It does too work. I know it works. So why is it so dang hard to get good therapy?

I called Kristin Musch, the Integrated Behavioral Health Educator for TriWest. She has worked with military family counselors for 15 years. 

Musch says that the key to effective therapy is really finding the right provider. You have to have chemistry with a therapist in order to make progress.

The more she talked, the more the process of finding the right therapist sounded a lot like dating on eHarmony to me. You don’t marry the first person you date. You don’t necessarily get help the first time you meet with a counselor.

“Exactly,” said Musch. “It is so difficult to navigate the systems of care for mental health for everyone, not just military. No wonder people are reluctant to do it.”

Maybe to get past that reluctance we need to think of it with the same strategies people use for online dating. Here are some steps Musch suggested:

You are waiting too long. Just like you spend way too much time worrying about what it says about you that you need eHarmony to find your One True Love, you are probably waiting too long to get a therapist. “Most people wait until the last possible second,” said Musch. “Go sooner.”

Look for someone who likes military.  Some providers choose to work with the military population because of location. Or they have a preference for a military population because we are cute. Or they are developing kind of a specialty about military. To find this kind of provider, Musch says that word of mouth is the best device. “Ask who other people in your local area are seeing.”

Ask three questions. On eHarmony, if you think someone looks good, you send them a message that you want to get to know them. Then you ask three questions from a list eHarmony provides. You can do the same thing with potential therapists. Call and ask for a phone interview. This is normal in Therapy World. Tell the therapist why you think you need therapy. Then a couple of the following questions:

  • Have you dealt with people like me?
  • How would you go about treating me?
  • How long do you think that would take?
  • How do you deal with confidentiality?
  • What percentage of your clients are military?

Do you feel a connection? “The most important thing the therapeutic relationship is that you have to feel comfortable,” said Musch. Just like the answers to questions on eHarmony make you more or less inclined to meet a particular candidate, you will feel the same thing about a therapist after you ask some questions. Go with your gut and make an appointment.

Consider a bad therapist a date gone wrong. If you go on a date that ain’t great on eHarmony, it is just a dud date. It doesn’t mean that you will never fall in love. If you meet with a blah therapist, consider that therapist a dud. Don’t dismiss the entire idea that you can find a counselor who will help you feel better. 

Give it two or three visits. On eHarmony, if a date is worth kissing once, he or she might be worth seeing again ... .but not a third time. You are trying to get some change in your life. You need to have chemistry with the therapist. They need to be able to inspire to to believe that you can change and that your life can improve. If you go three times and you aren’t getting any forward movement, find someone new. There is a counselor out there in the world who can help you. Keep moving forward until you find that provider.

Related Topics

Family and Spouse Jacey Eckhart

Military News App by Military.com

Download the new Military.com News App for Android on Google Play or for Apple devices on iTunes!

Contributor

Jacey Eckhart is the former Director of Spouse and Family Programs at Military.com and a military sociologist.  Since 1996, Eckhart’s take on military families has been featured in her syndicated column, her book The Homefront Club, and her award winning CDs These Boots and I Married a Spartan??

Most recently she has been featured as a military family subject matter expert on NBC Dateline, CBS morning news, CNN, NPR and the New York Times.  Eckhart is an Air Force brat, a Navy wife and an Army mom.  

Featured VA Loan Articles

  • VA Loan Closing Costs: An Added Benefit
    Besides the advantage of requiring no down payment for qualified VA borrowers, there's also a distinct advantage for the borrow...
  • White suburban home.
    IRRRL Facts for Veterans
    Military.com
    IRRRL stands for Interest Rate Reduction Refinancing Loan,also known as a "Streamline" or a "VA to VA" loan.
  • US Map Showing High Cost Counties
    VA Loan Limits for High-Cost Counties 2017
    Military.com
    The VA loan limit for 2017 is $424,100. But it could actually be substantially more if you buy a home in a high-cost county. Se...
  • Get the FAQs on VA Home Loans
    We've answered 16 of the most frequently asked VA Loan Benefit questions. View them now to get a quick understanding of your be...
  • Top 3 VA Home Loan Tips
    There are numerous advantages to having a VA mortgage. A VA mortgage loan can be guaranteed with no money down, in some cases u...
© 2016 Military Advantage