How To Find A Psychologist Near You

Medically reviewed by Andrea Brant, LMHC
Updated July 3, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Meeting with a psychologist can be a significant step toward managing mental health challenges and facing various life events. However, finding a psychologist you click with might be challenging. The process can involve looking for someone with the skills, training, and expertise necessary to accommodate your mental health concerns and who can also make you feel comfortable in sessions. In addition, it can mean ensuring they are conveniently located, which can be difficult for people who live in rural areas or popular cities. Understanding the process of finding, evaluating, and selecting the right psychologist for you can take time, but there are a few ways to make it more straightforward.   

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Can’t find a mental health professional near you?

Why work with a psychologist?

Psychologists have the skills, training, and expertise necessary to advise and guide clients on mental health-related topics. Depending on their therapeutic modality, a psychologist may have a hands-on, active approach to treatment or offer a space to listen to what you have to say and provide an unbiased perspective as you work through your concerns. 

Psychotherapy, also known as therapy, is a proven method of managing the symptoms of various common mental illnesses. A large body of evidence points to the efficacy of various forms of psychotherapy in treating depression, anxiety, PTSD, and several other conditions. 

You do not have to live with a mental illness to benefit from therapy. Therapy can allow you to discuss relationship conflict, career challenges, significant life changes, and mental health challenges. It can be helpful for some people to have an outlet, and therapy can act as a safe space for you to vent and express frustrations to someone outside of your personal circle. 

Finding a psychologist near you

Before searching for psychologists or therapists, it can be helpful to know why you're seeking support. Before reaching out, research the topics you are interested in exploring in psychotherapy. Learn what comprehensive psychological services are available for someone facing these challenges. You don't need to know your precise diagnosis or which therapeutic method you prefer. However, having basic information and an idea of specialty titles may help you understand your needs when talking to providers. 

For example, some family and marriage counselors work only with children, while others work specifically with married couples. Familiarizing yourself with standard therapist titles and specialties can be helpful as you search for a professional. Once you're ready, you can try the following methods of finding a provider. 

Search engines 

A search engine query is one way to find psychologists near you. By typing in "psychologists near me," you'll be presented with a list of mental health professionals based on search terms and your location. You may also want to modify your search with descriptors regarding the condition you want to address or the type of professional you seek. Depending on the type of psychologist you'd like to work with, you can also utilize profession-specific resources. For example, several websites offer a psychologist locator tool or a directory where you can filter professionals based on insurance, gender, specialty, and other factors.

Referral 

Another common way of finding a psychologist is through a referral from your primary care provider or another trusted healthcare professional. If you have a family doctor, for example, consider asking them if they recommend any psychologists or therapists for your specific symptoms. 

Health insurance 

If you have health insurance, your provider's directory of behavioral health professionals can be a place to start. You may be able to sort the available psychologists by their proximity to your zip code, which can quickly narrow down your options. You can often also look at the psychologist's skills, areas of expertise, education, and contact information. Some plans may show whether a psychologist is accepting new clients or not.   

Word of mouth 

Some people find a psychologist through word of mouth. If you have a friend, family member, or coworker who has seen a psychologist, consider asking about their experience. Additionally, some academic organizations employ counselors, which can be helpful if you're in school and need a recommendation within your direct environment. 

University students 

If you're willing to meet with someone who has less experience and there's a university near you, consider asking whether they have graduate students who provide therapy services. Graduate student rates are often more affordable than a licensed provider might be. 

Because these students may not have as much experience, they may also be subject to different standards than a licensed mental health professional. Hands-on clinical experience is a part of the requirements to become licensed to practice psychology. Students in some states must have up to two thousand clinical practice hours before they become eligible for a license. For this reason, working with one of these professionals may be mutually beneficial. 

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Selecting the right psychologist for you

Once you have a list of providers you're considering, contact each professional for a short consultation. Many psychologists or therapists offer free consultations so that you both can determine whether you may benefit from their services. During the consultation, ask them about their qualifications, including education, licensure, and experience, addressing concerns similar to yours. Even if they aren't the right person for you, they may be able to provide a referral to someone else who is.  

Often, psychologists have reviews that are available online from previous participants. These reviews may help you find out more about their services and the type of clients they often take on. 

When starting therapy, checking your psychologist's credentials can also be crucial. If you're interested in cross-referencing the psychologist's licensure, state licensing boards may offer a search tool. You can see when the psychologist received their license, the license expiration date, and other important information there. 

When selecting a psychologist, consider your comfort level as well. For a healthy therapeutic alliance to develop, it can be essential to feel confident discussing personal details and utilizing the advice of your psychologist. A high level of comfort can result from several factors, including the psychologist's communication style, preferred therapeutic modality, personality, and background. If you don't feel you're connecting well with your psychologist, it can be normal to notify them that you'd like to move forward with someone else.  

Finding a psychologist online

For some people, location, cost, and other factors can be barriers to in-person care with a psychologist. In these cases, online therapy may be an effective support method, and many psychologists have moved their practice online. 

A growing number of studies point to online therapy as an effective form of mental healthcare compared to in-person treatment. For example, in a meta-analysis of 28 studies that examined the efficacy of online therapy for anxiety, researchers concluded that online therapy could "relieve existing gaps in the provision of treatment." According to the analysis, one of the most prominent gaps is the lack of available providers for some people. Online therapy can often provide a connection to mental health professionals regardless of geographical location.  

With an online therapy platform like BetterHelp, you can get matched with a mental health professional based on your preferences. When you sign up for a platform, you may be led to a questionnaire to answer questions about your symptoms, treatment goals, and provider preferences. These platforms often work with thousands of providers with various specialties to ensure clients can be matched with someone trained in treating their concerns. 

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Can’t find a mental health professional near you?

Takeaway

Finding a psychologist can be an overwhelming process for some. To find a psychologist near you, consider looking online, asking for suggestions, and using local resources. You can also connect with a psychologist anytime through an online platform for at-home support.
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