Searching for a Therapist

Maybe you've been putting off going to a therapist for awhile. That makes sense. You've taken care of your problems on your own. You've used coping skills. You've talked to friends and you're independent. But things changed and you feel stuck. Self-care practices you've been using to cope, like yoga, exercise and friends' support aren't enough right now. And now maybe it's time to look for a therapist or counselor.

Because you're reading this, you obviously know the basics of doing google searches to find what you need. But here are some suggestions for finding a therapist to add to your search.

Once you've narrowed down your search, I invite you to read my blogs on "What to Look for When Choosing a Therapist," and "What to Talk about During the Phone Consultation."

Start with Google and search for "psychotherapy" and/or "counseling." You will find listings of local therapists.

Take a look at Psychology Today. Here you will find listings of psychotherapists in your area. On Psychology Today you can search by location, type of therapy, type of issue, gender, your insurance plan and much more. Usually therapists will have links to their websites where you can learn more about their practice.

Try your health Insurance plan website. Search for words and phrases such as "counselors," "psychotherapists," "mental health therapists" or "behavioral health." A list of providers for you to choose from will be displayed. Or call your insurance for more information.

Look into your company's Employee Assistance Program (EAP). This is a confidential program and is provided on a session-limited basis to employees who need support with stressors, life transitions and challenges. Licensed psychotherapists or counselors apply to be on a company's EAP provider list. Your company's EAP will give you names of psychotherapists from this list for you to choose from based on your needs. Please note: Not all companies provide EAP benefits. Check out this website for more information:

Ask your doctor/dentist/chiropractor/psychiatrist or their office support staff. They may have a list of therapist referrals.

Ask people you know if they know of good therapist in your area. Word-of-mouth is a great way to find good therapists in your area. You can ask therapists you talk to give you referrals or cal local mental health agencies to find out if they have a list of therapists that take medi-cal or other insurances and to find out if you qualify for their programs. 

In addition to, or instead of individual therapy, try searching for group therapy. Group therapy is an effective form of therapy in which you can learn a great deal about yourself and the role you tend to play in groups. And sometimes the cost per session is less than for individual therapy. They're usually facilitated by one or 2 therapists and focus on anxiety, codependence or relationships and other issues. Some people may not feel ready for group therapy. 

Once you've narrowed down a list of therapists to choose from based on their location, specialties and preferences, now it's time to reach out. 

Reach out by calling the therapists on your list. Or if they give you the option to email them, send them a message to schedule a phone consultation. I recommend talking to the therapists over the phone to give you the opportunity to get a feel for them, how they work and to see if it feels like a good match for you. Read my blog "What to Look for When Choosing a Therapist."

Good luck! Finding a therapist is another step towards healing!