1. Use an online directory
Online directories are your place to go when looking for a therapist. Thanks to search filters, these websites make surfing a breeze. They also include biographies for each professional so you can get an idea of how they represent themselves and what treatment philosophies they ascribe to.
Our top recommendations:
2. Use an app or subscription
As well as keeping us entertained, apps can help us live our best lives! Apps like BetterHelp and Talkspace charge a monthly fee to connect you with a professional via chat or video (or even in person, if that’s again the case).
3. Ask friends or family for recommendations
Even with all the tools technology has given us, there̵
4. Ask your GP for a referral
Because of the way healthcare is organized in the United States, it is often easier to schedule an appointment with a doctor than with a therapist. Especially if you have symptoms that need to be addressed as soon as possible, talking to a doctor may be the quickest way to get help.
Once you finally call, you want to be prepared to have a mini-interview with each therapist over the phone. It can be a little nerve wracking. Here’s a checklist to keep you posted:
- Be ready to read up on the topics you are dealing with because the therapist will almost certainly be asking you.
- Ask them about availability. If you have a specific day or time in mind, ask them if they have set time windows that work for both of you.
- Ask them about tariffs and insurance. Don’t sign up until you know you can afford it.
- Ask what styles of therapy they use. Keep a list of this data so that you can research it after the call to make sure you fully understand what to expect.
- Ask for a free consultation. Some therapists don’t offer this, but there’s no harm in asking or finding someone to do it.
1. Think about what you want to get out of the therapy
Before starting your search, it is important to have at least a rough idea of your therapy goals. Knowing what makes you want therapy can help you narrow your search, as most therapists specialize in certain areas.
You may want assistance with a diagnosis you already have, or you may have all kinds of # feelings and don’t know what to make of them. Either way, you can do some preliminary research to get an idea of the treatment styles that will work best for you.
But not you need a special reason to seek therapy. Everyone can benefit from speaking to a professional.
2. Look at your credentials
When looking for a therapist, you will come across a TON of different references. These initials after the therapists’ names refer to the degree they hold and the licenses they have received to practice. Depending on the type of care you are seeking, what type of credentials a therapist has or not may be important.
But credentials do no matter when it comes to medication, only a psychiatrist can prescribe medication for you.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, these are the technical definitions for each type of psychiatrist:
Consultants, clinicians, therapists
Most people looking for a talk therapist look for someone in this category.
These terms refer to masters-level practitioners licensed by the state to assess a person’s mental health and teach therapeutic techniques. They may or may not be able to diagnose, based on their states’ licensing laws.
Some examples of credentials that appear next to names include:
- LPC (Licensed Professional Counselor)
- LMFT (Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist)
- LCADAC (Licensed Clinical Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselor) (Typically, these people only work with people who have been diagnosed with substance use disorders.)
These are licensed doctors with an MD or DO degree who have completed psychiatric training. They are the only mental health professionals who can prescribe medication. They can also diagnose conditions and offer therapy.
These people have a PhD in Psychology – either a PhD or a PsyD. They can make diagnoses and conduct individual and group therapies. They are licensed by the states in which they practice.
3. Think about the type of person you are most comfortable with
It’s not just okay to be picky about finding a therapist – it’s highly recommended! Getting help with your mental health is not like getting treated for a broken leg. There needs to be an additional level of trust and mutual understanding for it to work.
Think of attributes such as gender, age, sexual orientation, race, and ethnicity. Will it be easier for you to talk to someone your age or are you more likely to have confidence in the experience of older people?
If you are BIPOC this is especially important. If you have a therapist with a similar identity to yours, there are many things you can skip explaining. You will get it based on personal experience, and that alone can help you feel like a weight has been lifted off your shoulders.
We have also created this guide specifically for those looking for an anti-racist therapist.
4. Find out what time of the day you are free
Time slots are another important factor to consider when searching. When can you meet with this person? There is no point in finding a therapist who you are in the mood with when they are not available when you are. Hence, it is best to be clear about this from the start.
5. Which treatment styles are you interested in?
You may not exactly know the answer to this question – and that’s fine! Basically, treatment styles are divided into two categories: evidence-based approaches and integrative and alternative medicine. It may be worth reading the different styles before choosing a therapist.
6. Do you prefer virtual or personal?
A great advantage of the technology is that many services, including therapy, are more accessible. Even before the pandemic made teletherapy and telepsychiatry the norm, more and more people had decided to watch their therapists on video.
According to a review of 2015, virtual care is just as effective as personal care. A 2017 review also found that virtual therapy was significantly cheaper than traditional in-person facility.
But personal interactions have a certain energy that some people prefer. If you want the opportunity to see your therapist IRL once the pandemic is over, look for people who are easy to reach.
Think about how the location of their office fits your schedule. Do you walk into your office straight from work? In this case, it may make the most sense to find someone who is closed in your office.
7. Make your budget clear
It’s not fun, but there is no getting around it.
Most therapy sessions in the United States cost between $ 100 and $ 200. And according to the American Psychological Association, many people have 15 to 20 sessions before seeing any improvement in symptoms. Be prepared that this is an investment.
If cost is a major barrier to access for you, read this article on how to find affordable therapy.
8. Check with your insurance company
If insurance is a must for you then you need to be even more careful and rigorous in your search as many therapists do not accept insurance.
But don’t worry – it’s entirely possible to find someone who does Take your insurance. The online directories mentioned above have filter options that make it easier to find insurers.
Also contact your insurer to find out whether there is a limit to the number of therapy visits per month.