How Do I Find the Right Therapist for Me?

by | Feb 21, 2024 | Advice | 0 comments

You have decided that you need help, but how do you get the help that you need? Finding the right therapist for you can be a tough task! It can feel a lot like trying to find your “Mr./Mrs. Right”.

Let’s be honest, there is quite a bit of information out there. Where do you start?

A few quick points to think about when considering a mental health professional are:

Where do you begin your search for the “right” therapist?

  • Ask around. Many people ask friends, family, or their primary care physician or another professional (for example- school counselors for school aged kids). Some people have used social media platforms to ask for referrals (for example- neighborhood sites or a mom’s group).
  • Refer to listings on professional listing sites, including Psychology Today, Mental Health Match, Therapy Den, Therapy for Black Girls, etc.. Mental health professionals pay to be listed through these sites. You are able to compile a search of therapists with specifiers, including location, payment options, therapeutic modalities, etc. A bio is usually included as well as pictures of the provider.  In some cases, the clinician will provide a brief introductory video.
  • Utilize a quick search on a search engine for therapists in your area. Just typing in a quick phrase of “anxiety therapist near me” can yield some great information for you if you are looking for a therapist who specializes in anxiety treatment. You may also find some reviews to help guide your search. This can also lead you to the website for the practice which can provide even more information.
  • If you are using your insurance, you can ask for a list of in-network providers.

How do you narrow your list to the “right” therapist?

  • Consider your goal for seeking support. Knowing your why and your motivation can help guide you to specific therapists. There are specializations within counseling for children, marital, grief, trauma, mood disorders, and so on. You can verify that a therapist has a knowledge base and experience by reviewing the practice website and/or listing site information or with a quick informational phone call,
  • Evaluate your options regarding payment. You will want to make a choice about paying for therapy via your health insurance or using private pay. With insurance you may be limited on the number and frequency of your sessions. Additionally, not all providers accept all insurances. The expense of paying out of pocket or private pay can also be limiting depending on your financial needs.
  • Explore your need for in-person versus online therapy. Therapists offer sessions through various platforms. These platforms include online, telephone, and in person. Some therapists will offer sessions through only one platform or others will offer therapy through more than one.

What else can I do to connect with the “right” therapist?

  • Call the practice and/or therapist to get to know about them:
    • Ask about the therapist’s experience in the areas that you are concerned about for yourself as well as any specializations.
    • Explore their therapy approach and style.
    • Inquire about the therapist’s years of experience.
    • Discuss the expectations for length of therapy relationship (short term, long term).
    • Find about the costs and fees, including missed sessions.
    • If you are using your insurance, verify that the therapist accepts your insurance.
    • Inquire about the opportunity to use a superbill to submit to your insurance company for  possible reimbursement.
    • Ask about the hours of the practice and availability of the therapist for regular sessions as well as emergency needs.
    • Verify the location of sessions- address for in person or virtual protocols.
  • Take some time to explore your options. Everyone is unique and not every therapist is a perfect fit for each and every person.
  • You may want to schedule a session or two with a therapist to see if you feel comfortable with them.

What should I expect?

Once you have your first session, you may feel nervous or uneasy. This is a normal response because it’s new and you probably explored some tough topics and feelings. Talking about some of these things is not something that you are used to doing and it may feel foreign. This is made even more awkward because you are talking about challenging things with someone you just met. Honestly, it can feel weird to invite a complete stranger into your life.

It can take 3-5 sessions to determine if a therapist is “right” for you. Give it some time.

During sessions, you can best help yourself by talking with honesty about your feelings and challenges. It can take a few sessions to build connection and comfort.

If you are still struggling after a few sessions, try talking about your concerns with the mental health provider. It may seem tricky to tell a therapist that you don’t feel like the relationship is working. In exploring these feelings, your therapist can explore alternatives with you and help guide you to next steps. Sometimes the feedback can help the therapist adjust their approach to better help you.

If you feel like the therapist is defensive or that there is no response to your needs, you may want to move on to a new therapist. Therapy is for you, not the therapist, so do yourself a favor and take action.

What I Hope You Know

Taking the first step to finding support can feel overwhelming and awkward. My hope is that some of your hesitation is reduced with the information discussed here.

You are brave for reaching out. Take the time to get to know your therapist. Give yourself some space and time to explore what you need and what you feel works for you.

The relationship and bond between you and your therapist can have a large positive impact on your journey in counseling according to research. Take the time to find the “right” therapist for you. You are worth it.

If you want to know more about what to expect in therapy, check out more information in another blog post here.


About the Author- Kathy Davis, LCSW

Kathy Davis, LCSW provides virtual therapy at Resolve Counseling in Texas. She works with families, children, teens, and adults providing online therapy for anxiety, depression, grief, and trauma.