How Do I Choose a Therapist?

Last week I wrote about 5 signs that it might be a good time to see a therapist. So, maybe you’ve decided that it is a good time to start seeing a therapist. But how do you get started? How do you find a therapist? The process can seem overwhelming, but here are a ideas to get you started.

  1. Determine insurance vs private pay

    The first thing to consider is, do you want to use a therapist who is in network with your insurance company, or are you okay with paying out of pocket? Most therapists can provide you with a receipt that you can submit to your insurance for out of network reimbursement if you do choose a therapist who is out of network.

  2. Virtual or in person?

    The next question to answer is, are you okay with virtual therapy or would you prefer in person therapy? There is no difference in effectiveness, so this is all about personal preference.

  3. Ask for recommendations from friends and family

    The next step is to check with friends and family to see if they can recommend a therapist that worked well for them. This is a great place to start when looking for a therapist. Get as many names as you can and call each one. Ask for a 15 minute phone consult so that you can chat with the therapist to determine if they might be a good fit.

  4. Ask for referrals from your PCP or other medical providers

    If you’re not able to get any recommendations from your friends and family, try reaching out to your PCP or other medical providers to see if they can recommend anyone to you.

  5. Check out Psychology Today

    If you haven’t been able to get any recommendations for therapists from friends, family, or your medical providers, then I would try searching Psychology Today. Psychology Today is a database of therapists that you can filter according to your area, insurance and specialties, and other areas of interest.

  6. Schedule a first session to see how you feel about the therapist

    The therapeutic relationship is the MOST important part of therapy. Studies show over and over again, that it is the relationship you have with the therapist that will have the biggest impact on success of therapy in general. So be picky about how you choose. Make sure you feel comfortable with them, and most importantly make sure you can be honest, open, and authentic with them. When you have that first session with them, it’s important to listen to your intuition. If your intuition is unsure about this person, listen to your intuition. You can also use this first session to ask the therapist more questions about their practice and how they work.

I hope this post is helpful in outlining the steps to take to find a therapist. Stay healthy and well and reach out anytime!