Therapists Answer: How Do I Find a Therapist?

how do I find a therapist

how do I find a therapist

Perhaps you know that you are ready to start therapy. However, you aren’t sure quite where to begin. It can feel like a daunting exercise at first. How do you find a therapist? We asked ten of our associate therapists for guidance in finding a therapist. In this post, we’ll cover specifically how to start looking for therapists and narrowing down your options. In Part 2 of this blog post series we’ll talk more in depth about how to choose the right therapist for you.

Finding a Therapist vs. Choosing a Therapist

There are two different parts to this equation. First, you need to find a therapist. Second, you need to choose a therapist. These might seem like the same thing. However, the first part is broad, whereas the second part narrows down your options to the therapist that you’ll wind up working with.

When we talk about how to find a therapist, what we really mean is, “how do I even begin searching for a therapist?” At this stage, you are just figuring out where to start looking. At the end of this stage, you might come up with several therapists to choose from.

tips for finding a therapist

tips for finding a therapist

Some of the most common ways to find a therapist include:

  • Browse through a therapist directory. This helps you get a sense of what therapists are out there, their styles, the types of work that they do, the types of clients they see, etc.
  • Schedule a phone consultation to get matched with a therapist. Many therapists are part of collectives like Center for Mindful Psychotherapy. You can call us to get consult with the intake team and get matched with a therapist who might be the right fit.
  • Find out which therapists accept your health insurance. Some people choose to go through their health insurance provider to find therapists who work with them.
  • Get referrals. You might ask friends, colleagues, mentors, doctors, etc. for referrals for therapy.
  • Research therapeutic modalities and search online for a local therapist who works in the one you prefer. For example, if you want to try EMDR, then you would search for a therapist trained in that modality. Note, however, that many therapists work in multiple modalities.

finding the right therapist

Therapists’ Advice for Finding a Therapist

Two of our associate therapists provide additional information and tips on this stage of how to find a therapist.

Wendy Parker gets us started with this 5-step advice for finding a therapist:

1) Do some legwork to insure getting a good fit. For example, find 3-5 potential therapists and have a consult call with each of them so you can get a feel for them. Understand that even if it feels like a good fit at first, if things don’t feel right a little ways down the road, you can always try another one. It’s an important investment of time and energy and you want to make sure you feel like can work well with this person. 
2) Ask some of your friends for a referral if you feel comfortable doing that.
3) Do a web search using some key words that might help focus your results (ie: psychotherapy for X symptoms, couples therapists / counselors, individual therapy for depression etc, treating OCD, therapist / psychotherapy directory).
4) Cast a wider net by considering working with a therapist over Zoom who might be further away but would be a good fit.
5) If you call a therapiss who’s marketing info you were drawn to and they are full, don’t hesitate to ask if they have anyone good they can refer you to. Therapists often network with each other!
therapist chris doorlees

Chris Doorley provides us with additional helpful information:

I believe there are two concepts that may help in selecting the right therapist for you. First, think about what type of support might match your needs. Second, prioritize compatibility with your therapist.

First, I’d invite you to reach out to peers to ask what therapeutic options are out there. For those new to this endeavor, it can help to talk to someone you trust about what individual therapy offers. However, if speaking directly to friends or family feels like too much to tackle at first, try a peer support network like a “warm line” or another mental health hub offering anonymous peer support or online chats. Look for health-specific networks supported by organizations like NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness), MHA (Mental Health America), the National Council for Mental Wellbeing, & SAMHSA (Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Admin.). You can ask peer supporters, most of whom have their own lived mental health stories, about different types of therapies and how this process works. Peer providers will be able to suggest search resources, too.

Next, narrow your search to at least two or three practitioners that you can call for a consultation. “Consults”, which are always free and usually last less than half an hour, are industry standard: all therapists with new-client availability offer an informal opportunity to discuss therapy at no cost for about 20 minutes. This short primer gives you, the client, a chance to ask questions, clarify a therapist’s approach, compare costs, and gauge compatibility. A key ingredient in therapy is the therapeutic relationship— that professional yet human level of trust and relatability that will allow you to venture into brave new areas of support, self-analysis, and resourcing. It really helps to have someone you get along with on the other side of your conversations about your wellness journey.

This is an excellent time to seek mental health support. An unprecedented diversity of quality resources continues to become available and options are more affordable than they used to be. In your search, I hope you first find a comfortable place to start. Be well.

Learn more about working with Chris here.

looking for a therapist

Are You Ready to Find a Therapist?

At this stage, you might find the therapist that you want to try working with. Most likely, though, you’ll come up with at least a few names of potential therapists. So, the next part is important: choosing the right therapist for you. We’ve covered that in PART 2 of this blog series: How to Choose a Therapist.

Contact us today to find out more about how we can match you with a therapist.