A lot of my friends and family have reached out to me over the years to ask how to find a therapist. So, I wanted to share with you what I’ve shared with them on navigating this often tricky territory. Also, I realize how exasperating and tiring it can be to find a good therapist!
Whether you don’t know where to start or have simply given up after tons of phone calls, here’s an easy guide to finding a solid therapist:
- Zero in on the one or two things you are looking for support with. This could be support with a relationship, past trauma, anxiety, a recent loss, or anything that is reducing the quality of your life.
- If you know any therapists or friends who have seen a therapist, ask them who they’d recommend. If you feel comfortable, also let them know the general topic you’d like support around.
- Call several therapists. Most of them will offer a free consultation either over the phone or in person.
- Schedule a first session with the therapist you liked the most. A good relationship with your therapist is the single factor most likely to help you achieve what you want from the process.
- If you don’t connect with any of the therapists you talk with, be it over the phone or in person, call a few new ones.
- If you can’t get any recommendations from friends or don’t connect with your initial therapist referrals, head over to www.PsychologyToday.com. Look for a therapist in your local area who focuses on the thing you need support around. Similarly, don’t go to a therapist who only specializes in grief if you’re looking for support in relationships. Also, it’s perfectly okay to have a gender, age, or other preference when choosing your therapist.
- Finally, call several therapists and work with the one who resonates with you the most.
If you are looking for a Couple’s Therapist, try to find one in your area who specializes in EFT therapy. You can do that by asking around, or searching for it on Psychology Today’s website or Google.
If the therapist you reach out to does not accept your insurance or any insurance whatsoever, call your insurance company to find out if they offer partial reimbursement for the session fee.
Finding a good therapist can be difficult and expensive. The same is often true for a good restaurant or a solid pair of running shoes. How much is your mental health worth to you?
Expect to spend $150-200 per 50 minute session, possibly more or less depending on the cost of living in your area. If you do not have insurance and finances are tight, let your therapist know during your first conversation. Some therapists set aside a few sliding scale slots for clients with financial need, so it can’t hurt to ask.
As for how long the process will take, it’s a little different for each person and dependent on what you want to work on. In my work, I specialize in relationship therapy and couple’s counseling, so I expect to work with clients for at least 6-12 months.
Lastly, although it is often pretty daunting to know where to start and to actually take that first step, it can be an incredibly meaningful and fulfilling process to be a part of. And I’m speaking from experience.
Jeremi McManus is a Relationship Therapist, Couples Therapist, and Author who works with people who want more fulfilling and satisfying relationships. His own ups and downs in dating and relating were instrumental in leading him into this field. If you feel like you could use some perspective, he looks forward to hearing from you. Jeremi is a Licensed Psychotherapist and delighted to call San Francisco home.