How to Find The Best Therapist Near Me

Finding a qualified therapist can be an overwhelming process. Where do you look? What do you look for? And when you finally find a potential match, what questions do you ask? In the past few years, I’ve personally sought out and interviewed around a thousand therapists throughout the country. Not only have I looked for therapists to help build our team at Thriving Center, but I have also searched for good therapy matches for friends, family, and even myself. The whole process can feel very daunting, even for me, a Licensed Clinical Psychologist. I can only begin to imagine the difficulty someone outside of the field might experience when embarking on this task.

Choosing a therapist is a big decision, and finding the right fit is an essential part of the therapeutic process. Therapy can be a powerful tool to enhance your life and help gain a deeper understanding or perspective. If you feel like it’s time to make a change, but the mere thought of wading through pages and pages of Google fills you with fear, you are not alone. In this article, I’m going to break down the process of finding a therapist that matches your needs. Knowing where to start, and what questions to ask, will help to alleviate the stress of this intimidating task.

What to Consider When Searching for a Therapist

When you look at a huge task or project, it may seem unachievable because it’s unclear how to get from point A to point B. The same applies to searching for a therapist. But, by breaking down the process into smaller tasks, you can begin to tick off one item at a time and progressively move forward.  Each step you take will bring you closer to your goal of finding the right therapist for you. The sections below map out some questions that will help guide you in these initial steps.

Why Are You Seeking Therapy At This Time?

The first step I recommend is asking yourself why you’d like to seek therapy. Even more so, why are you seeking therapy right now? Whether it’s depression, anxiety, relationship issues, peak performance, or fear of public speaking, there are several reasons people seek outside help at a particular time. Write all of these down and be sure any therapist you find has experience or specialized training in these areas.

Who Would You Feel Comfortable Speaking With?

After figuring out what specialties to look for, the next stage is to consider who you would feel most comfortable speaking with. Rapport, which refers to good communication and understanding, is an integral part of therapy. Along with rapport, some prefer therapists who identify in a certain way. When looking for a therapist, consider some attributes of who you would want to speak to, such as:

  • Gender
  • Part of the LGBTQ+ community
  • BIPOC
  • Professional Experience
  • Native language

Theoretical Orientation/Type of Therapy Practiced

The type of therapy that a therapist is trained in is also something that is worth considering, as there are many theories practiced in psychology. All types of therapy are supported by various levels of research. For this reason, I always look for the most evidence-based theories, backed by research treatments, and defined by the American Psychological Association.

Some of the most common evidence-based treatments include:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT)
  • Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT)

For a full list of researched treatments for psychological diagnoses, check out Division 12 of the American Psychological Association’s website on empirically supported treatments.

Where to look for a therapist?

Now that you know some of the criteria you’ll be looking for, you can begin your search for a therapist.  

Therapist Referral

One way you can find a therapist is through a referral from a friend or doctor. Sources of referral can include your primary care physician, community health center, and workplace Employee Assistance Program (EAP). A close friend or family member may also recommend their own therapist if they have been through a similar experience. 

Online Search

Like anything nowadays, many people turn to the vast web to find a therapist. While online searches are a great resource and will yield a lot of information, the challenge is to sift through the results to find what fits you best.

Google:

Try Googling a therapist in your area using search terms such as “Therapist in New York City (or wherever your local city is)”, “Best Therapist in Soho” or “Therapist near me.” Read through the therapist’s reviews and see if there are any patterns in client responses. Take the time to look through the therapist’s website and see if there is anything that resonates with you. Often, a therapist’s website will also mention if they have areas of specialty or focus—look for ones that align with your specific goals for therapy. If using Google is too overwhelming, there are other options you can consider.

Therapist Listing Sites:

Listing sites are another good way to connect with a therapist. Depending on where you live, there are different therapist listing sites active in your community. These are directories that list therapists, counselors, mental health professionals, and treatment centers in the US. One well-known example would be Psychology Today.  Once you find a listing site, simply type in your zip or city, and then you can search through available practicing therapists in your area. To help save you time in filtering out results, you can usually set preferences for age, gender, price, specialty, faith, sexuality, and language. The therapists on these listings have their own profile that usually includes a personal message and areas of concern that they treat.

Determine How Much You Can Invest

Working with a therapist is an investment. As you start searching for a therapist, you need to determine if, and how much, you may be able to invest in your therapy. Most therapists in major cities do not take insurance. However, I always caution people who prioritize cheaper cost over proficiency, expertise, and practical knowledge. It’s very possible that going the cheapest route will cost you more money in the long run, as you may end up seeing multiple therapists who are not qualified, or not a good fit. If you find a therapist that is perfect for you but is out of your price range, see if they supervise any post-doctoral trainees or resident trainees. Post-doctoral trainees are well-trained therapists who have finished their doctorate and are acquiring hours under a Licensed Clinical Psychologist. This is an amazing way to receive expertise from two doctors at a very reasonable price.

If you have insurance, the first step is to call your insurance company and ask a representative if you have any out-of-network insurance coverage. Out-of-network coverage means that your insurance provider will reimburse you for a percentage, and sometimes 100%, of the fees from a provider outside of your network. If you do have out-of-network coverage, the next question to ask is how much out-of-network coverage you have. We find that most people who have out-of-network coverage have little knowledge about their benefits and that their insurance covers a good portion of their bill. Asking your insurance provider these key questions will help you determine exactly how much therapy will cost you. If you do not have any out-of-network coverage and want to stay in-network, your insurance company’s website should have a list of all the in-network providers that are in your area.

Consult with a Therapist Before Hiring: What Questions to Ask a Therapist During Your First Call

Online searches will only get you so far. Although you will know about your potential therapist’s qualifications and specialty, you also need to speak to them on the phone. Start by narrowing down two to three potential therapists and book a 15-minute consultation with each of them. It’s important to remember that this conversation isn’t a therapy session; it’s to find out if you and your potential therapist will be able to work together and develop a strong therapeutic relationship.

Here are some useful questions to ask a therapist during your first call:

  • What is your specialty?
  • What is your experience treating my concern?
  • How much time do you have available?
  • How do you approach treating my situation?
  • How much do you charge?
  • What do your credentials mean?

Although you’re looking for someone qualified to help you, don’t ignore your instinct. Ask yourself: Do you connect well and feel listened to? Did you feel comfortable speaking to them, and how did you feel after the conversation? These are all important parts of finding the best fit.

After speaking with a therapist, you will generally have an idea of how the conversation went. If you felt comfortable and felt that the therapist was easy to talk to, you should ask for the next steps. Overall, the right therapist for you is a delicate balance of qualifications, experience, fit, and cost.

In-Person vs. Online Therapy

Most therapists offer both in-person and online therapy sessions. Several studies show that online therapy is as effective as in-person therapy. Depending on your schedule, location, and preferences, one form of therapy may be more suitable for you than the other. To help you understand the main differences, here are the pros and cons of each.

Pros of online therapy:

  • Convenience
  • Easy access
  • No travel or physical barriers
  • Comfortable in your own space

Cons of online therapy:

  • Difficult to find privacy if you live with other people
  • Some people feel more comfortable in-person

Pros of in-person therapy:

  • Therapists can view nonverbal communication
  • Provide a private and neutral location

Cons of in-person therapy:

  • Requires travel
  • Take time out of your day to visit your therapist
  • Not as flexible as online therapy

Ultimately, whether you choose in-person or online will depend on personal preference and the services your therapist offers.

Finding a Good Fit with a Therapist

Finding a therapist is such a personal decision. Even as a psychologist, I know how hard it is to find the right match. Available therapists have many different credentials, experiences, and treatment practices to navigate. By knowing where to start and what questions to ask, you can begin to narrow down your search and find the best person for you.

I’ve taken all of my experience in matching therapists to clients and used it to develop our Therapist Matchmaker. This tool asks you the right questions to help you find your perfect therapist. It takes five minutes to complete and then shows you matches from our pre-approved directory of rigorously vetted therapists, coaches, and mental health professionals.

Whether you have a referral, use a therapist matching service, or find a therapist online, it’s critical that you feel comfortable speaking to your therapist, and feel confident that they can help you. This is a big decision because working with the right mental health professional can have a huge impact on your well-being. When you are ready, take those first steps toward finding a therapist who can help you address your concerns and reclaim your life.

Compassionate, Tailored Therapy Near Me

Whether you’re experiencing negative feelings or struggling to take care of your mental well-being, it’s important to remember that help is available. Working with a qualified therapist can help you understand your mental health, find a safe space to express your concerns, and learn healthy ways to cope with stress.

To find an effective therapist, reach out to a provider at Thriving Center Of Psychology to contact us or schedule an appointment. We know that living in SoHo, New York can feel intense, stressful, and difficult, but our compassionate, warm, empathetic therapists have years of experience helping clients navigate uncomfortable feelings. One of our licensed therapists will support your personal growth, build your resiliency, and help you start feeling better.

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