Why finding a therapist is so hard

Why Finding a Therapist Is So Hard (And How I Can Help)

The Exhausting Process of Finding a Therapist

*Is finding a therapist harder than actually going to therapy?*

Searching for a therapist starts with combing through endless listings and repetitive descriptions. But even if you find someone appealing, connecting remains difficult.

You have to verify your insurance coverage, availability, and schedules. After countless emails, forms, and insurance checks, you finally get an intake appointment…only to realize you and the therapist are a poor fit.

This disjointed process discourages countless clients from seeking care.

The Human Cost

Clients share horrific stories about mismatched therapists or insurance rejections. They frequently describe the process of finding a provider as “traumatic.”

The problem lies not with clients or individual therapists but with our flawed healthcare system.

Our Healthcare System is Broken

In an ideal system, your primary care provider would recommend covered mental health specialists. But our fractured system leaves clients to fend for themselves.

The result? 

  • Specialists struggle to connect with ideal clients despite having availability. 
  • Clients want quality care but are overwhelmed taking the first step.

Through my journey, I’ve gained a direct perspective on the client side of our complex access issues.

The Early Success Paradox

When I opened my practice in 2013, my purpose was clear—provide short-term therapy for meaningful change. I loved facilitating rapid progress and connecting clients with top-notch specialists in our community.

Initially, my solo practice met the demand. But over time, short-term clients moved on while long-term ones remained.

I expanded to a group model to serve more people. Instead, administrative tasks multiplied, and my direct client time decreased. I faded into the background.

My clinical capacity hit a bottleneck, though insurers still listed me as in-network. My waitlist paused indefinitely.

This confused and frustrated people seeking care. “Sarah Suzuki cannot accept new clients” became a common refrain.

For years, clients rightly asked why I was listed as available without capacity for new work.

In trying to expand access, I unintentionally became part of the problem—a painful misalignment with my mission.

For years, I was part of the access problems I wanted to solve. But no more. Today marks a return to my core purpose – to be a conduit for change through short-term counseling.

Reclaiming My Calling

I’m thrilled to announce my return to short-term consultations and care coordination—the work I’m meant to do.

When I ask clients when they felt their best, the answer is often during forward momentum. For me, it was the strategic short-term work guiding people ahead.

Some may find it surprising that I’m returning to short-term therapy at the height of my career. Short-term counseling faces outdated stigma, likely from old Freudian ideas. But I know better.

As a behaviorist passionate about efficiently assessing needs and connecting people to solutions, I don’t buy into those misconceptions.

The truth is short-term therapy takes expertise. Providing targeted care requires mastering the craft. I’m leveraging my experience and skillset for maximum impact.

Expanding Our Vision

As Chicago Compass enters its eleventh year, my dedication expands beyond our walls—to connect all Chicagoans with the mental healthcare they need.

Our vision stretches past any one clinic. It’s about weaving a collaborative network of care throughout our city.

In this new chapter, we forge vital links between clients and mental health resources throughout Chicago. By working together as a community, we can ensure everyone has access to effective counseling and care.

Our vision is a Chicago where anyone seeking counseling can find the right care. 

When we work together, we elevate each other and the people we serve.

Because wellness is not a competition – it’s a collective endeavor.

As we say in recovery circles, “One day at a time.” 

By making therapy accessible, we move closer to that vision, step by step, day by day.

For our team at Chicago Compass Counseling, this collaborative spirit lights the way.

I’m back and open for business!

For those searching for a therapist, now is the time to reach out. Availability is limited, so please contact me today if you need a caring partner to discuss your needs and get connected to the right care. I look forward to resuming this meaningful work.

I’m in-network with: BCBS, United Healthcare, UMR, Cigna, Aetna, Lyra

Postscript: Making the Most of Our Consultation

If you’re considering therapy, start by listing your needs and preferences. Familiarize yourself with your insurance details and think about your availability. Simple self-care steps can also prepare you for the therapeutic process. I’m here for your questions and ready to guide you through these first essential steps.

Sarah Suzuki, AM, LCSW, CADC

Sarah Suzuki, AM, LCSW, CADC

Hi, I'm Sarah, and I'm a counselor who helps high-achieving men learn how to moderate their drinking. I currently offer counseling services and corporate training here at Chicago Compass Counseling. If you're interested, you can read more about me on my about page.