How To Find Top-Rated Psychologists Near Me

Medically reviewed by Andrea Brant
Updated February 22, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Finding a psychologist can be a complex process. Outside of the initial search for a provider, you may consult with multiple people and wonder how to find a top-rated or effective professional. Some people may not fit with your goals, the modality you'd like to try, or the personality type you'd like to work with, so knowing how to find a provider quickly that matches your needs can be vital.

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Reasons to find a psychologist

Before you start looking for a psychologist, defining why you are doing so may be beneficial. Some psychologists specialize in different areas of mental health, so knowing what kind of help you want or what you want help with can help you determine who and what you're looking for. 

For example, suppose you are struggling in your marriage and want support with relationship counseling. In that case, you might look for a different psychologist than you would if you were experiencing anxiety and depression. Below are a few of the most common reasons people seek professional support. 

Anxiety

One of the most common mental health challenges people worldwide experience is anxiety. Anxiety can cause constant nervousness or worry about situations that have not happened or that you fear may occur. People with anxiety may lose sleep at night or change their daily routine based on anxiety, and several physical symptoms can also be present. Anyone of any age can be diagnosed with anxiety. 

There are ten anxiety disorders listed in the DSM-5. While it can be normal to experience anxiety at minor levels, if it interferes with daily functioning, it may require professional intervention. 

Depression

There are several reasons people may experience depression. In some cases, depression may have a clear cause, like losing a loved one. However, there are also times when people experience depression without knowing why. There are ten depressive disorders in the DSM-5, and each one can cause a lapse in daily functioning. With over 280 million people worldwide living with depression, it is a common condition. Consider taking a depression screening with your doctor or online to know whether you might benefit. 

Grief

Whether you are experiencing grief over the loss of a loved one, loss of a relationship, loss of a job, or another type, a psychologist can support you in coping with your grief. They can help you healthily work through any emotions that arise and learn ways to cope healthily while giving yourself the space to grieve. 

Substance use 

Another reason people may seek a psychologist is to cope with a substance use disorder or dependency on a substance. People may also struggle with dependency on behaviors like gambling, shopping, pornography, or overeating. There are many types of addiction, and some psychologists specialize in treating them. 

If you are struggling with substance use, contact the SAMHSA National Helpline at (800) 662-4357 to receive support and resources.

Relationship challenges 

Relationships can be complicated, and some couples find themselves going to counseling to cope. For some people, counseling is a way to improve their relationship before conflict occurs. For others, discussing a challenging rift in the relationship may be an option, like an affair, the loss of a child, or deciding whether to divorce. 

Life challenges 

Some people seek the help of a psychologist because they aren't happy with the circumstances in their life. For example, they may struggle with self-confidence or finding balance in their life. You don't have to have a mental illness to talk to a therapist, and a provider can be a listening ear as you vent through daily struggles or discuss a significant decision.

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What to look for in a psychologist

When you start looking for top-rated psychologists, there are a few areas to identify. First, it can be helpful to look at their credentials. Ensure you are working with a licensed psychologist that has been trained to treat the conditions or symptoms you're seeking therapy for. 

Every licensed psychologist may be able to address the challenges you're coping with, but it doesn't mean that they have the same experience as a specialist in that topic. When you find a psychologist specializing in your experiences, you can know they are investing more time into that area and may have successfully treated other clients with your concern. 

The fact that someone is a top-rated psychologist does not necessarily mean that they will cost more. However, consider the cost when looking for a psychologist to meet with. You may need to determine whether your health insurance plan will cover the psychologist or if you will need to pay out-of-pocket. If you are paying out-of-pocket, some psychologists offer sliding-scale fees to help offset the costs that you will pay, potentially making it more affordable for you. 

How to find a psychologist near me

If you have already talked to your family doctor about your mental health challenges, you can start your search for a psychologist by asking your physician for a referral. They may have a psychologist in mind that they have worked with in the past or trust. If not, you can also try asking family and friends that have been in therapy before. 

Another way to find a psychologist in your area is to search online. An online search engine can show you the options available in your local area and present you with any reviews others have left. This search can give you information about each one before you make calls to talk to them. 

Once you find a psychologist you think would be a fit, consider asking for a short consultation on the phone before having an official appointment. Talking to them can give you an idea of whether you might be a fit. 

Therapist reviews

“Larry is very experienced and quite capable of listening and ascertaining the root cause of any issues that we have discussed. He has always been able to provide a helpful method of addressing different issues. I appreciate his candid nature of re-directing my often erroneous perspective on some of my life challenges. Looking forward to in-depth discussions going forward.”

Match with a professional based on your goals for therapy

“Alisha Edmiston takes the time to listen and really understand what I am struggling with. She is the most experienced and engaged counsellor that I have had the privilege to be able to work with. She has really and truly changed my life for the better in helping me to work through my past and better manage my present. This has given me hope - which is priceless.”

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Alternative counseling options 

Some people may face barriers to traditional in-person therapy with a psychologist. In these cases, it may be beneficial to seek alternative options. Online therapy through a platform like BetterHelp allows clients to seek therapy from home. 

In addition, studies increasingly show that remote therapy delivers the same results as its in-person alternative. More recently, instant message-based therapy has elicited lasting patient success. As clinical psychologist Nina Barlevy, PsyD, told the American Psychological Association (APA), "[It is] a whole lot more appealing to be able to sit at your computer and type back and forth with someone."

You can choose between phone, video, or live chat sessions with your therapist in online therapy. In addition, you can get matched with a provider after answering a questionnaire about your desires for therapy. If you don't feel your therapist is a fit, you can quickly change therapists through your app or webpage. 

Takeaway

When looking for a psychologist to work with, it can be helpful to note that each provider is different. A provider may work for one client and not for another. When addressing challenges with your mental health, find someone you are comfortable working with. It can be essential to be able to be open with them as you answer questions.

If you are meeting with a psychologist and feel it isn't clicking or you aren't making the progress you were hoping to make, you can switch and find a new psychologist to work with. Some people connect better with certain people than others, so take your time with the process. If you're ready to seek help, consider connecting with a provider online or in your area to get started.

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The information on this page is not intended to be a substitution for diagnosis, treatment, or informed professional advice. You should not take any action or avoid taking any action without consulting with a qualified mental health professional. For more information, please read our terms of use.
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