How do I find a therapist?

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So you’ve realized that you may need some extra support in your life and decided you want to try out therapy/counseling.

The next question might be – how do I find someone?

The first thing to know is that you don’t have to go with the first person you see. The relationship between you and your therapist is one of the most important things. If you don’t feel like you could open up to them (eventually… the next 101 post will be what to expect when going to your first appointment!) If the therapist does a free consultation (usually 30 minutes), use it! It’s a way to find out of you might work well together. It’s better to do that then pay for a few sessions and realize, no, this person won’t work for me.

The second thing to think about is what you are looking for in a therapist and what you need from someone who is going to be supporting and working with you through this time in your life. Different people need different things and the first person you meet with might not be that right person.

The third thing to think about is how you want to meet with people. There are some online platforms for some concerns and issues. I don’t have the knowledge base in that to speak to it, as I’m not trained in distance counseling at this time. Note: If you are choosing to use insurance, most companies won’t pay for this mode of counseling at this time (that I am aware of). My guess is this will be changing, but not sure when.

The following are the top three ways to find out about counselors in your area.

Word of Mouth

There’s nothing like getting a good recommendation from a family member, friend, congregation member, another person in your life that you trust. If you feel comfortable letting others know you’re looking, that might be a great first place to go. Note: Counselors/therapists cannot see family members of current (or sometimes past) clients. It’s a confidentiality and ethics perspective. The same often goes for romantic partners. Check with both the therapist and the person who may be recommending them.

Psychology Today

One of the ways I’ve found my therapists when I’ve been in counseling before is through the Psychology Today Therapist Finder. Counselors (like myself) pay a fee to be listed in their database. You can filter counselors by zip code, concern, insurance provider, gender. It’s a super helpful way to learn a little about the therapist. Many of us also have web pages that might give you a better sense of who they are, what they do. Make a list of people who you think might be a good fit to call, or send an email through the Psychology Today website. (GoodTherapy is another site similar to Psychology Today.)

Insurance Company

If you are choosing to use your insurance (this will be another 101 post, as there are definitely pros and cons to using your insurance; in that post, we’ll talk the financials of counseling!), you can also call your insurance company or check their website to see who they have listed as providing services in your area. Note: I’m finding in my area that people are listed with the insurance company, but they don’t take it anymore. You’ll have to check with providers individually if they take a specific insurance.

Next Steps

Next steps would be getting in touch with potential counselors – via phone, email, or their website. It’s a scary prospect at times, so when reaching out, some potential things to ask about:

  • Rates/fees and/or insurance
  • Areas of concern – what would you like to work on?
  • Times/days available (yes, counselors – like myself – may have evenings and weekends available!)

Touching base with a counselor via phone, email, or website is your first contact with them and begins that process of determining if you think you’ll work well with them!

Are there ways you’ve found a counselor that I’ve missed? Let me know in the comments below!

P.S. The Wholefully blog also had a great post about finding a therapist that you may find helpful.

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