top of page
Digital Desk

TIPS FOR FINDING A THERAPIST

Black Background

Whether you’re trying for the first time or the 10th time, choosing a therapist that fits your needs can be difficult. These are some great websites where you can search for a therapist. Keep reading for some additional tips on what to look for and what to expect.

ReclamationCollective.com

TherapyDen.com

PsychologyToday.com

EMDRIA.org

InclusiveTherapists.com

ISTSS.org

IFS-Institute.com

OpenPathCollective.org

 

Specialty

 

Identify the specific issues you want to tackle before you start searching for a therapist. While any licensed therapist should be competent in counseling for general issues like anxiety or depression, they aren’t all experts on niche topics. Issues like complex PTSD and religious trauma require specialized training. Be wary of therapists who claim to "specialize" in a multitude of different areas.

Therapy Style

 

Most therapists will advertise the therapy styles(s) they’re most comfortable working with. If a therapist says they’re “eclectic," it just means they pull from multiple different approaches. Feel free to research online to understand your options. When it comes to religious trauma, research suggests that these modalities are most effective: Internal Family Systems (IFS), Somatic Experiencing, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy(CBT), and EMDR.

Preferences

 

Some people have specific preferences about their therapist’s gender, faith orientation, cultural background, and familiarity with marginalized populations. Although this might limit your options a little, it’s worth prioritizing the things that will create a safer therapy environment for you. Most therapists' websites will give you this info but don’t be afraid to ask.

Location

 

Decide if you want to meet for therapy in person or online. Many therapists have online or hybrid options that allow you to do therapy from home through a HIPAA-compliant portal. This might expand your options since the commute isn’t a factor. Be sure to verify that a therapist is licensed to see clients in your state.

Licensing

 

It’s important to have confidence that your therapist is trained and being held to a board-regulated code of ethics. This protects you and holds them accountable. Look for someone with credentials that indicate they’ve completed at least a master's degree, have passed a licensing test, and have done numerous internship hours such as Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT), Licensed Mental Health Counselors (LMHC), PsyD, or Ph.D. Someone with “associate” added to the end of their credentials has finished their degree and is working under a clinical supervisor.

 

Note: Coaches and therapists are not the same thing. Coaches aren’t subject to the same code of ethics as therapists. Coaching is appropriate for reaching short-term goals, while therapy is more appropriate for addressing mental illness or processing trauma. 

Cost

 

Therapy is not always covered by health insurance and many therapists don’t accept insurance for privacy reasons and because of the extremely low reimbursement rates that most insurance companies offer. If you want to try using insurance, make sure your plan covers outpatient mental health treatment (many don't). Otherwise, you’ll need to pay "out of pocket". 

 

The average therapy session cost is about $150, but if you can’t afford that, look for someone who offers a “sliding scale fee”. This means they’ll lower their fee to work with your budget. I recommend checking out openpathcollective.org, a robust database of low-cost therapists.

Inquiring

 

Many therapists get multiple therapy inquiries a day and have limited spots to fill. Plan to reach out to several therapists who meet your criteria instead of banking on one. Include the information below in your inquiry email or voicemail:

  • The issue(s) you want to address in therapy (don’t be shy!)

  • Why you think this therapist will be a good fit for you

  • How you plan to pay (insurance or private pay)

  • Your preference of in-person or virtual sessions

  • The general days/times you’d be able to meet

If the therapist responds that they have an opening, be sure to ask any follow-up questions you have that might save you some time and effort. If they’re fully booked, you can ask if they have a waiting list or can recommend someone else.

Paperwork

 

When you schedule your first session, your therapist will give you paperwork to fill out. You don’t need to write a book, but be as honest and detailed with your answers as you’re comfortable with. Make sure to turn it in early enough so they can read it before you meet with them. 

Confidentiality

 

Licensed therapists are bound by HIPAA privacy laws and are obligated to keep your identity and information confidential. The only exceptions to confidentiality are when someone’s safety is at risk or when a court order is involved. If you have any concerns about privacy, ask your therapist. 

Chemistry

 

Your connection with your therapist matters. Don’t let yourself feel stuck with a therapist that you don’t trust or don’t like just because you've seen them a few times. If you're not comfortable for any reason, it’s completely fine for you to leave and find someone else. Your therapist will not take it personally.

Expectations

 

Realistic expectations will set you up for success. A good therapist isn’t going to tell you what to do or just sit there nodding. Think of your therapist as a guide who will ask questions and work with you to find solutions. They may challenge your thinking patterns or ask you to talk about difficult topics, but you will still be in charge of making a change. 

 

Remember therapists are people too and they have their own boundaries. If you want to reach out to them in between sessions, make sure you know what their policy is.

bottom of page