14 Tips For Finding The Right Therapist Near Me
By: Joy Youell
Updated June 11, 2020
Medically Reviewed By: Nicole Gaines, LPC
Choosing someone to talk to about your mental health challenges, emotions, memories or thoughts can feel intimidating. Great therapists are highly qualified and skilled at creating meaningful processes on your journey to wellness. When you are wondering "who's the right therapist near me?" you may end up in the Google vortex or knee-deep in online reviews. Here are important tips to remember to help make that process easier.
- Don't just choose randomly
When it comes to finding the right therapist near you, the last thing you want to do is randomly choose one. Therapy is a place where you should always feel at ease and comfortable discussing your concerns and issues. In the past you might have just found a name in the yellow pages and then set up an appointment. But now, because you have access to more information through the internet, you're going to want to take the time to find a therapist that's right for you.
Many different things contribute to finding the right match. Some of these things include their specialty, price, location and personality. This is why you need to take the time to find the right therapist instead of just choosing a name out of a list.
- Ask for a recommendation from your doctor
Depending on the challenge that you're facing, you may be able to get a referral from your general physician. While your doctor can prescribe medication that can help you with mental health challenges, they're not able to provide therapy services for you. However, they will most likely have a list of mental health specialists they can refer you to.
- Contact your health insurance company
If you have health insurance, there's a chance that some of your expenses will be covered for therapy. To make sure that your services are covered, talk to your health insurance company. They can help provide you with a list of professionals within their network.
If you choose a therapist to work with before talking with your insurance company, you're going to want to ask to see if they will accept your insurance. Just because you have insurance doesn't mean that you need to work with a therapist that accepts your insurance, but it's something that you're going to want to consider.
- See what your school or university has to offer
If you're in college or looking for a therapist for one of your children, check with their school to see what options are available. Most schools have access to a therapist for your children. Many colleges offer free or affordable therapy.
The administration office should be able to let you know more about the options that are available to you. There is also a chance that they'll have a separate list of therapists in the area that you could contact.
- Do an internet search and research
The internet has information on counselors. If you're looking for a therapist in your area, try an online search to see who's available. Remember, going back to tip number one, don't just randomly choose from a list of names. Make sure that you do some research and look into the credentials and experience of each therapist before you contact one.
It can also be helpful to look at online reviews to see what other people's experiences have been. Just because others have had a good experience doesn't necessarily mean it's going to be the right therapist for you, but it never hurts to know how other people feel about the services that were provided to them.
- Check education and professional license
When you're choosing a therapist, you want to know their education level. Some therapists may have just a bachelor's degree, but most will have either a master's or doctorate. The type of degree and licenses that a therapist has will vary based on what their specialty is.
Counselors may hold a variety of licenses. These can include a board certification and state licenses. You will want to look for counselors who hold titles like "Licensed Professional Counselor" (LPC), "Licensed Mental Health Counselor" (LMHC), "Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor" (LCPC) or "Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor" (LPCC). These titles are granted by state regulatory boards and ensure that a counselor is qualified to address your mental health needs.
Don't hesitate to ask questions if you want to know more about their background and credentials. Any therapist that doesn't want to share this information with you is not one that you're going to want to work with.
- Find out about their experience
Just because a psychologist has a great education doesn't mean that they have the experience to go along with it. Make sure you understand the type of experience that your therapist has before working together. Just because a therapist is new and doesn't have a lot of experience does not mean that they're not going to be a good fit for you. Either way, it's helpful to understand what they're coming into your sessions with.
If you're looking for help for a specific mental health challenge, you're going to want to see that the therapist is experienced and trained in those areas. For example, if you are struggling with bipolar disorder, you're not going to want to work with a therapist that specializes more in relational therapy. Seek treatment from a licensed therapist that has the training in the specialization that you need, such as anger management, cognitive behavioral therapy, behavioral therapy, family therapy, play therapy, couples therapy, or family therapy with a marriage and family therapist.
- Think about your comfort level
When choosing a therapist, it's important to consider what you're comfortable with and what you're not. For example, if you're a woman that is going through struggles because of abuse that you experienced as a child by a male in your family, you may not be comfortable with a male therapist and vice versa. Your comfort level is very important for the success of your therapy sessions. Even if someone is a highly rated therapist, you may feel more comfortable choosing someone else.
- Consider all options for therapy
There are many different options for therapy, not just in person sessions. To choose the right therapist for you, it's important that you also consider all options for therapy to see which works best for you. For example, there are support groups that could be beneficial for you to join instead of one-on-one sessions. Online therapy may be a better fit for you, especially if you're not able to find a therapist in your local area that you want to work with.
Online therapy has numerous benefits. You can access your counselor much more freely, rather than being confined to a single, weekly meeting. Finding an online counselor can also eliminate the discomfort of travel or sitting in a waiting room. You have the utmost privacy and confidentiality in online counseling. The American Psychological Association has affirmed that there are multiple facets of mental health care that can be addressed through online interactions. This may be the right option for you.
- Think about preferences such as religion
If you are a religious person, you may want to find a therapist that understands your religion and possibly shares beliefs with you. If this is an important part of who you are, then it's going to be an important part of your therapy process as well. If you draw strength, support and comfort from your religion, then it can be helpful to find a therapist that understands it and how it's going to impact your behavior and the things that you do and believe.
- Ask for personal recommendations
If you know people in your life that have been to therapy before, it can be helpful to ask them if they have any recommendations. They may have tried a certain therapist in the past and had a negative experience. Or, they may have one that they enjoyed working with. This can help determine who you can try and who you should stay away from.
Everyone is different. Someone may have a fantastic experience with a certain therapist that you don't prefer. Even if you have a lot of things in common with that person, you may have a different opinion on this. Make sure that when you get personal recommendations that you also do your research into the therapist to see if they are a good match for you in other areas as well.
- Talk to them before you have your first session
Before you spend your time and money on a session, it can be helpful to get the therapist on the phone to ask them any questions that you have. This can give them a chance to explain how their process works. It also gives you a chance to get a feel for the therapist and determine if they'll be a good fit for you or not.
- Trust your instinct
Sometimes you will know that a therapist isn't going to be a good fit even if you can't quite put your finger on why. Make sure you trust your instincts because in the end, if you go against them, you're most likely not going to be comfortable with your decision. This could negatively impact the results that you get from therapy.
- Take the first step
It's easy to get stuck in the planning stages of finding a therapist. You may be nervous about starting therapy. Instead of making a decision, you continue to research different options. If you're struggling in any area of your life or with your mental health, you need to get the help that you need.
If you're more comfortable not having to sit face-to-face with a therapist, consider getting online therapy like that offered by ReGain. It could be the exact answer that you're looking for. ReGain has a great team of qualified, professional counselors. Each of our care providers are trained and licensed. We have counselors from many backgrounds who have extensive experience in patient care. ReGain also offers specialized counseling, so you can find someone who is perfectly equipped to provide a roadmap for your mental wellness. Below are some reviews of ReGain counselors for you to review, from people experiencing different issues.
"Shannon is very knowledgeable, and skilled in knowing how to use that knowledge to help others. She is also very compassionate and encouraging. I was skeptical about using a counseling service, but this experience has been incredible. I highly recommend Shannon to anyone who needs guidance or help through a difficult time in life. I gave her some enormous challenges, and nothing has been over her head. She has been a tremendous help to me."
"I don't know what I would have done without Harry. I was in a super low place and I was not sure what my problems were or how to solve them, but he was able to help me get to the bottom of my problems and work through them. Today I am happy and feeling like myself again. He was so easy to talk to and worked with me whenever I needed him. Even on vacation he took time to call me and talk through whatever I was going through. I would highly recommend him."
When you are looking for a therapist, you want to consider the tips outline above. Look for professionalism, qualifications, communication style, belief systems and any other elements that are important to you. Reviews and recommendations may also be highly beneficial. ReGain is a great option if you are looking to choose from a wide variety of qualified counseling professionals. No matter what you're experiencing, with the right tools, you can move forward to a fulfilling and healthy life. Take the first step.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is the difference between a therapist and a psychologist?
When seeking treatment for a mental health issue, there are differences in professionals that are important to be aware of before seeking treatment. The word therapist is a broad term for any person who is trained or licensed to treat mental health disorders. Psychologists work with patients using different forms of therapy to diagnose their mental health issue. A psychiatrist is a doctor of psychology, who, unlike a psychologist, is legally allowed to prescribe medication to treat mental illnesses. Both of these mental health professionals can have a psychotherapy practice, and they often specialize in treating either individuals or families.
How do I find a therapist?
Finding a therapist is as easy as opening the browser on your computer or smartphone. If you would prefer to see a therapist in-person, search for therapists in your area that address the type of issues that you are having. If you can’t get to a local therapist, or prefer the convenience of online visits, you can search for online therapists instead. No matter which route you choose, be sure to check the credentials of whomever it is that you end up seeing. Make sure that they have the appropriate licenses, as well as the appropriate training, to be able to help you with your mental health issues.
Are there online therapists?
Technology has changed many different aspects of our lives, and seeking mental health treatment is certainly one of them. Online therapists are becoming more and more common, with the aim of helping people who can’t afford traditional therapy, or who can’t make it to in-person appointments. These therapists typically have all of the same licenses and certifications that in-person therapists have, but it is important to check this before beginning any sessions with a new therapist.
What it takes to be a therapist?
Both therapists and counselors alike require many years of specialized schooling in order to be licensed to practice therapy. Whereas a mental health counselor only requires a four-year college degree, therapists need at least six, and some even opt to get a doctoral degree, which requires 10 to 12 years. No matter which you choose to go to, mental health professionals have years of training in helping people who need to seek treatment for mental health problems.
There are more than just one type of counselors and therapists, as each chooses one or more mental health concerns to specialize in. Some types of therapists you may find in your search for therapists include:
- Family Therapist: A family therapist specializes in treating your entire family when troubles arise that affect everyone. A family therapist considers the ways that your family’s actions affect each other, how everyone feels about the family’s problems, and ways the family can address these problems in order to build a strong relationship. A family therapist may have individual sessions along with family sessions.
- Anger Management Counselor: Typically administered by a counselor, anger management therapy aims to help people who are having issues with controlling their anger. Anger management helps give these people skills to avoid letting their anger get out of control, as well as find the reasons why their anger often gets the better of them so that they can recognize and avoid their triggers.
- Marriage and Family Therapist: A marriage family therapist helps families with married parents deal with issues that are affecting the entire family. Often, even when just one person in the family is experiencing a mental health concern or crisis, it creates unease or negative feelings for other people in the family as well. A marriage family therapist helps both the parents and the children address these feelings, and find ways to resolve issues that are causing discord.
- Mental Health Counselor: Mental health counselors can provide many different types of therapy to help people with mental health issues. They combine traditional therapy with a problem-solving approach to help people change and solve their mental health problems. Mental health counselors may also consider medication management in order to help people with severe depression, anxiety, or other serious mental health concerns.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapist: Cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, combines aspects of behavioral therapy with cognitive therapy. Cognitive-behavioral therapy focuses on setting learning about your mental health issue, and setting goals to overcome these issues. Like other types of therapy CBT can address many different psychological problems, from obsessive-compulsive disorder to depression to substance abuse.
- Behavioral Therapist: Behavioral therapists specialize in helping people whose mental health issues cause behaviors that are negatively impacting their life, such as ADHD or OCD. These therapists will focus on helping people find ways to cope with and minimize these behaviors to live more positive, healthy lives.
What are the 3 types of therapy?
There are far more than just a couple therapy options available to people who are seeking to find a therapist. Some types of therapy that therapists provide can include:
- Art Therapy: Art therapy involves using art to help people express things they may not be able to verbalize, which helps people to become more self-aware and build their self esteem. People who utilize art therapy act out their concerns using art supplies and their hands, a tactile experience which can be especially helpful for people who find it difficult to talk about their issues, such as those with PTSD.
- Acceptance and Commitment Therapy: Acceptance and commitment therapy is a type of mindfulness therapy that helps people to accept and deal with the difficulties of life. Acceptance and commitment therapy ACT focuses on three main ideas: Accept your reactions and be present, Choose a valued direction, and Take action. Commitment therapy ACT assesses your character traits and behaviors to help you stop avoiding difficult or painful aspects of your life or events in your past.
- Behavioral Therapy: Behavioral therapy addresses mental health issues that stem from self-destructive or unhealthy behaviors, and typically focuses on your current self rather than past issues.
- Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy: Cognitive behavioral therapy CBT focuses on challenging and changing unhelpful cognitive distortions and behaviors, improving emotional regulation, and the development of personal coping strategies that target solving current problems.
- Couple Therapy: Couples therapy is a type of psychotherapy practice that helps couples involved in a romantic relationship to learn about their relationship, resolve conflicts, and improve their overall relationship satisfaction.
- Marriage and Family Therapy: Marriage and family therapy works to address issues within the entire family relationship. This can include group therapy sessions as well as individual sessions, but the main goal is to address issues that the family is experiencing as a whole, in order to strengthen the family bond.
Can you get therapy for free?
There are often free or reduced cost options available to people through local institutions like hospitals, community centers, places of worship, or your local health department. In the city therapists are more easily found that are providing free or reduced cost services, but no matter where you live, these services may be available near you.
Is Talkspace or BetterHelp better?
As online therapy has become more popular, many different platforms have come along with the aim of helping people find a therapist. Talkspace and BetterHelp are two of the better-known options, which can leave people wondering if one is better than the other. While both platforms cost about the same, about $260 per month for their basic plans, Talkspace charges extra for live video sessions. But while BetterHelp includes video sessions in their basic plan, it can be difficult to find a therapist that offers regular weekly sessions.
Is online therapy legit?
Many people wonder if online therapy is still good therapy. Just because you are meeting your therapist online doesn’t mean you aren’t getting good therapy. Instead, you are simply taking advantage of the technology available to you. Online therapy gives you the option to speak with a therapist without having to leave your home, which can be more convenient for people with busy schedules, who have limited access to transportation, or who find leaving the house difficult for physical or mental health reasons. It is also a good option for those who do not have a local therapist nearby, or can’t find therapists that they feel comfortable with.
What do I do if I can’t afford therapy?
Often, the issue that prevents people from seeking help is that therapy costs money. Traditional therapy can be quite expensive, especially if you do not have health insurance, and can run upwards of $250 per session depending on where you live and the therapy that you require. Online therapy options, however, are significantly less expensive than traditional therapy, and can be found for as little as $35 per session.
Is therapy worth the money?
Therapy is a place where you are given the freedom to not only discuss what is bothering you, but also a place to give you tools to overcome them. People who are getting therapy act more confident, and are better able to handle negative situations in their lives. With the easy availability of therapy online, there is no reason to suffer with mental health concerns. You can only get better if you seek help, and by getting help, you’re committing to living a happier, healthier life.