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  • Sara

How to Find the Right Therapist

Updated: Sep 12, 2022

Congratulations! You have taken a huge step in choosing to see a therapist. Whether you’re going to therapy to recover from trauma, work on coping with anxiety or depression, or seeking relationship help, it is vital that you find someone who you feel comfortable with and understood. You should be able to feel as if you can be yourself around your therapist and open to discussing topics while feeling secure in that relationship. See below for a few tips on what to consider when you are searching for the right fit:

1. Search within your network – If you are planning to use insurance to help cover the cost of therapy, make sure to contact your insurance provider for a list of local therapists that work with your insurance company. You can often find these lists on your insurance carrier's website. These sites should allow you to filter by location and need, so you can find providers that are the best fit for you.

2.Check out Psychology Today – This is a great online resource for finding a credentialed therapist who specializes in whatever you may be looking for. The site offers a large list of therapist profiles and allows you to filter your search criteria on location, specialties, and other important criteria. Psychology Today administrators also take the time to check out the backgrounds of every therapist who applies to market themselves on the site so you know that they are reputable. With a broad range of therapist available and an easy-to-use search tool that allows you to narrow your search down to exactly what you need, this is a great place to start.

3. Ask around – Ask a friend, colleague, or doctor about any recommendations they may have. Perhaps they are aware of therapists in your area that are held in high-esteem and whom they have heard great things about. (Note, however, that if someone close to you recommends their own therapist, it will be up to the discretion of the therapist whether it would be appropriate to see someone close to a current client.) Word-of-mouth is sometimes the best way for trusting that the therapist you choose will work for you.

4. Decide on virtual or in-person – Think through if it is important to you to see a therapist in person or if you are okay with virtual visits. Some find benefits in being able to go to their sessions in person, while others appreciate the comfort of attending from their own home. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many therapists transitioned from seeing clients in the off to online. Others waited it out because they prefer to see clients in person. In any case, there are tons of options for both. So whether you'd rather get a closer feel for the person you're working with by attending face-to-face sessions or you'd rather save some gas money and maybe the cost of a sitter, there are options available to you.

5. Consider your main goals - Many therapists specialize in specific areas of mental health and well-being. Some primarily with couples, some individuals. Others focus on trauma work, and still others specialize in anxiety disorders, etc. You should also keep in mind any key values or perspectives that you would like your therapist to share. For example, some therapists emphasize working with the LGBTQ+ community, with children, or with other specific demographics that could be especially important to you. Once you've decided on a therapist and have scheduled your first session, you might consider coming prepared with some goals that you would like to incorporate into your work together. This way, you can make sure you feel that your intentions are heard and understood right from the get-go.

6. Prepare with a list of key questions – It is sometimes difficult to remember all of the questions we want to ask once we actually get to our first session. Be prepared with written notes or a note app on your phone to ask important questions about insurance networks, accepted forms of payment, what their therapy style is, and more. You may have additional questions about your therapist's practice that you weren't able to find answers to in your search online. Chance are your therapist will go over all of the important details, but you can fill in the gaps if needed.

The bottom line is that you should find a therapist that you feel connected to and who seems to understand where you’re coming from. While it is important for them to address your baseline concerns, such as insurance and therapy specialties, it is equally important that you feel comfortable with them. It may take a few rounds of meeting with various therapists until you find the right one. Finding a therapist that fits what you are looking for is key in your healing journey, so trust your gut and don’t be afraid to ‘shop around’ until you do.


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