Find Out The Difference Between A Therapist And A Psychologist

By: Sarah Fader

Updated July 03, 2020

Medically Reviewed By: Laura Angers

Content/Trigger Warning: Please be advised, the below article might mention trauma-related topics that include sexual assault & violence which could potentially be triggering.

When it comes to getting help for our problems and improving our lives, there are licensed mental health professionals who can help. If you are in the process of seeking therapy, knowing the differences between mental health care titles can be imperative to your success. Mental health professionals provide talk therapy in an environment where you can feel safe to begin resolving your issues. This article should help you clarify the difference between a therapist, a psychologist, and other behavioral health providers.

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Get the Right Provider For Your Needs

Finding the right licensed professional to help you begin your therapeutic process is no easy task. The good news is that there are mental health care professionals dedicated to providing good therapy and realistic solutions to dealing with life's daily problems. Most mental health care providers provide a free consultation to discuss your thoughts and feelings.

You have the right to see a mental health provider who suits your needs. Many people feel overwhelmed when it comes to the topic of dealing with their own mental health issues, which is completely understandable. Finding the right provider, taking time out of the workday to drive to an appointment, sitting in a waiting room full of strangers - these are all reasons people feel overwhelmed when thinking about seeking mental health care. This is where online therapy comes in (discussed in more detail later).

Common issues addressed by therapists and psychologists include:

  • Anger management issues
  • Binge eating disorders
  • Depression treatment
  • Stress management
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Sex therapy

Participating in professional therapy (with a licensed therapist) will help you to mitigate the pains associated with the issues above, and other problems including depression, anxiety, and stress. Finding the right therapist is critical to beginning to learn how to manage your thoughts and feelings to change your life.

A good therapist will explain the therapeutic process step-by-step along with their preferred method of therapy. When you begin to search for therapists, take note of what preferred methods that your chosen provider subscribes to. Verify that your health provider is licensed to practice by visiting your state licensing board online.

You can learn more about your chosen mental health care provider by paying attention to their online presence in the form of websites and social reviews when you go online to find a therapist.

What Can Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Do?

Many psychologists and therapists in the United States are professionally trained to practice Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, also known as CBT. This is a form of behavior therapy that teaches you to catch negative thought patterns and reframe them to more positive thoughts, which leads to positive behaviors. Talk therapy sessions for CBT can occur in a variety of settings, including counseling centers, hospitals, or private practices. Behavioral therapy can be life-changing for some people.

Regardless of the location of your sessions, a good therapist will create an environment where you can feel safe enough to begin resolving your issues. Participating in CBT can help people feel more empowered when dealing with issues like anger management, anxiety, trauma, and other issues. Below are a few things cognitive behavioral therapy can do for you.

Cope with Anxiety and Depression

Anxiety and depression. These two terms are thrown around a lot, to the point where it may seem like they are the same thing. This is usually because both are connected with self-defeating thoughts.

Anxiety disorder brings worry and irrational thoughts. Anxiety disorder tends to feed into itself, making it hard to break. Depression deals with negative thoughts, many of which will make you feel worse. It tends to be a tough cycle, because your depression can make you more upset by throwing you out of your routine. Cognitive behavioral deals with depression, anxiety, or both. Here's how.

  • You discard or dismiss the bad thoughts associated with anxiety and depression.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy helps the side effects of anxiety and depression as well, such as insomnia and going out of routine.
  • By practicing it regularly, CBT becomes your mindset. Depression, anxiety, and other mental health problems don't stand a chance.

Help with Your Confidence

If you're a licensed professional therapist, you can practice a wide range of mental health care. You might be using an integrative approach where you combine various techniques or theories. A psychologist can do that as well. You will learn more about the difference between a psychologist and a therapist as we delve deeper into these two professions in this article.

Seeking professional help can change your life for the better. It's critical to know the right steps to take when choosing a therapist or licensed professional counselor.


Psychologists have a degree in psychology, and often have taken advanced studies in the same field, including doctorate or Ph.D. study levels. They may also research topics that interest them, along with their colleagues or as faculty for higher education facilities. Their job is to diagnose patients and clients and determine treatments based on their observations.

One of the founding fathers of psychology is Carl Rodgers. He is known for changing therapy from being focused on the therapist as the expert to understanding the personality of the client and human relationships. Psychologists have a strong role in providing support and guidance and can help patients make decisions, understand what they're going through, and clarify their feelings to determine the next steps better. They often work as part of a team when it comes to tackling a patient's problems, commonly with a psychiatrist. While they can't prescribe medication, the psychiatrist can, so these professions complement each other well in treatment.


Therapists, on the other hand, can encompass any number of different professions including social work. The term therapist has often been used to encompass social workers, and a variety of counselors. Because of this, they may hold a degree in various fields including an MD, Ph.D. or Masters. 

There are many kinds of therapists out there. Some provide therapy with adults, while others work with young people. Children can benefit from therapy, and so can grownups. Therapy with adults is talked about more than pediatric counseling. However, both are valuable.

While they may also provide guidance and support, a therapist's function is different based on their area of expertise and their level of qualifications. Let's look at different types of therapists in more detail.

Types of Therapists

We should mention that there are many types of therapists, all of which cover different aspects of mental health. To find the right therapist, learn more about what methods are a good fit for your situation.

Don't be afraid to ask specific questions while you're in the process of finding the right therapist. Ask your prospective provider about their history of helping people overcome issues that you're struggling with. Inquire about their preferred treatment methods. You may learn that you perform better as a member of a therapy group vs. participating in one-on-one talk therapy sessions.

Below are a few examples of therapists that practice in the United States based on the types of therapy they provide.

Family Therapy

Family therapy or family counseling covers adults, couples, and families. Family therapy involves helping a family, or a group of people like a family, deal with the many issues they may have. Family therapists provide social work-related services, couple therapy, and couples counseling in family counseling centers. Examples of what family therapy covers include:

  • People feel overwhelmed at times when dealing with a mentally ill family member. The therapist may help the family member with mental illness learn how to control themselves better, or they may help the other family members with managing a mental illness.
  • Teaching adults, couples, and families ways they can manage conflict. Families are going to fight quite a lot, and a family therapist may be able to help fighting families manage their conflicts without resorting to domestic violence or other unhealthy coping mechanisms.
  • Family therapists may include social workers too. You may have an idea what a social worker is, but there are many misconceptions about them. Social workers tend to look at their families and see if any problems need to be managed. Social workers don't have to be someone who takes the kids away, despite what the social worker reputation tends to be. A social worker can be someone who helps the family grow stronger.

Overall, family therapists are great for any adults, couples, and families by providing new ways to implement acceptance and commitment therapy strategies into everyday life.

Marriage Family Therapist


A marriage family therapist (MFT), commonly known as a marriage counselor, helps couples deal with their relationship problems and provides marriage counseling services to resolve the issues. MFTs offers a wide variety of services to complement their marriage counseling efforts within their psychotherapy practice.

MFTs focus on providing talk therapy and commitment therapy in conjunction with the following:

  • Mental health. A marriage family therapist may help a couple handle one member's bipolar disorder, or if they both have bipolar disorder, the therapist can help each other manage it together.
  • Another thing a marriage family therapist may do is help solve communication problems. Often, relationships break apart not because of any malicious issue, but because both parties don't know how to communicate properly. When you misconstrue words, it can end up causing fights and other drama. A marriage family therapist helps the two parties with that and with any other problems they may face.
  • Finances may be covered. This is the king of relationship problems, with many couples breaking apart their marriage due to financial dishonesty or spending too much. While a marriage family therapist isn't an accountant, they can help people be more financially honest, from teaching how to save money, how to communicate spending, and dealing with any mental health issues that could cause excessive spending.
  • A marriage family therapist can help with other problems as well. Give couple's counseling a try today.

You may feel like your relationship is too toxic to even bother with hiring a marriage family therapist, but you'll be surprised. Relationships that are not just on the rocks but falling off the edge have seen amazing recoveries in the past thanks to finding the right clinical social work therapist or marriage family therapist.

Substance Abuse

Find a therapist that specializes in substance abuse to help you if you find yourself addicted to drugs or alcohol. A substance abuse therapist is someone who helps those addicted to substances that are ruining one's life. Many people believe there is shame in seeking a substance abuse therapist, but that's just not true.

Admitting you have a problem is the first step towards stopping it. Many people go to a substance abuse therapist so they can figure out where to go from there. Substance abuse can lead to many problems, such as ruining a family, eating disorders that can lead to dangerous weight loss and even death, depression, anxiety, and other mental problems. If you or a loved one is battling with substance abuse, talk to a therapist today. Their health services can help you.

Some people who have an addiction can manage that addiction through outpatient therapy, but those who have life-threatening drug or alcohol problems may benefit from checking into treatment centers.

Navigating treatment centers in the United States can be daunting, but they have therapists who are designed to guide you out of drugs and alcohol in the most comfortable way. Treatment centers allow the patient to detox from drugs or alcohol in the safest way possible. Often, detoxing is dangerous. This is why it is critical to find the right therapist that understands your unique situation. Also, treatment centers teach you ways to avoid alcohol and drugs and help you to identify any triggers you may have concerning them. If you're curious about getting rehab, try one out near you.

Grief and Loss Therapist

One of the many mental health services a therapist can offer is dealing with grief and loss. A therapist of this caliber can help you cope with losing your friends and family, be it an untimely death or a family member with a long battle with cancer or another fatal illness. You can learn more about the grieving process, including the realization that it's not so black and white, and you can learn not to "get over" the loss of your friend or family member, but learn how to continue without them. Find a therapist who specializes in dealing with grief and loss if you feel stuck or unable to move on in your grieving process.

Child and Adolescent Therapist

A child and adolescent therapist does just what the title says it does. They help children, adolescents, and their families cope with the many family problems and family conflicts one may face in the early years. For children, they may have behavioral issues such as borderline personality, learning disabilities, family problems, and dealing with schools and grades. For adolescents, there are many problems as well. Feeling anxious over growing pains, feeling anxious about what comes after high school, getting a job, managing relationships, and so much more.

Children, adolescents, and adults need a good talking to if they want to solve their behavioral health related problems. A therapist is skilled at helping people and can counsel young children to elderly adults. For many parents, empathizing with children, adolescents, or even a young adult is a challenge, and a therapist in this category knows how to do it.

Divorce Therapy

Another therapist one may talk to is a divorce therapist. Sometimes a marriage counselor or a family counselor isn't enough, and the couple has decided to divorce. Divorce therapists can give divorcing couples therapy and they are skilled at helping people navigate the rocky waters of divorce.

  • They may use the collaborative process. The collaborative process is a divorce method that involves working with a therapist or other pro to come up with an agreement. Settling things in court is expensive and emotionally exhausting. The collaborative process is designed to help everyone reach an amicable agreement. If you can control your dislike for your spouse, the collaborative process may be worth trying.
  • A divorce therapist can help you work out any trauma you may have had, such as domestic abuse.

Group Therapist

Group therapy involves helping people in a large group with others who have similar problems. You may find therapists through your insurance plan who provide group therapy. Group therapy can help participants feel free to discuss their issues and solutions for treatment with like-minded individuals.

  • Behavioral health problems. Group therapy may teach others how to manage how they talk to others, how they control their emotions, and all other aspects of behavioral health.
  • Relationship issues. You can feel free to vent to others about any relationship issues you may have. Then, the other parties may talk about theirs. Venting feels nice, and after you let it all out, you can help one another come up with solutions to any relationship issues you may have.
  • When you work with adults who are on the same page, you can come up with creative solutions.

Clinical Social Work Therapist

A clinical social work therapist, or social worker, is commonly associated with families, but they also work with groups of people, and the community at large. A clinical social work therapist can help everyone with their well-being and how they perform. Social work therapists are skilled at what they do. Clinical social work therapists provide services for many different populations. They often work in the community with families.

Everyone has a different social role or job, and a clinical social work therapist can help you enhance your life by quite a bit. Clinical social work therapists help patients cope with issues of depression, addiction, and provide coping skills for managing depressive disorders like post-traumatic stress. A social work therapist can work in a clinic, nonprofit or in private practice.

Related Health Care Issues

Brain Injury

A brain injury can make it harder to function in your daily life, but with just one phone call to the right professional counselor, you can begin to see positive changes. Sometimes, a brain injury can be reversed, but you need to talk to the right therapist and begin building a strong therapeutic alliance to make positive changes.

Contact your health insurance plan provider to find the right therapist in your price range who can help you deal with recovering from brain injury-related issues. Health insurance providers like Blue Cross offer mental health services as a part of their behavioral health plans.

Psychological Testing

You can request psychological testing from any of these behavioral health professionals. If you suspect you have a mental health condition, psychological testing can help. Often, there are criteria you must follow to request psychological testing. Sometimes, you may end up with a dual diagnosis, where mental health conditions overlap. A licensed therapist can help you choose the right method of therapy for managing a dual diagnosis.

Forensic Psychology

Forensic psychologists use psychology in conjunction with law enforcement proceedings and court cases. This is a field where psychologists apply psychology to the law, and the many court cases that can happen across the United States or the entire world. If you're interested in law, forensic psychology may be the solution for you.

Managed Care

This is a field that involves figuring out how to lower the cost of healthcare (that is for-profit) while being able to provide the same quality services. Lately, the cost of healthcare in the US has been a discussion many have had, and managed care is designed to fight back against costs that seem like they are too much. This may be a job that is worth pursuing if you're curious about how you can help the less fortunate in the world. Many people could grow if they just had the proper healthcare, but for many, that isn't feasible.

Psychotherapy Counseling

This is a form of therapy that is much longer than regular counseling or therapy. Psychotherapy counseling is for those who have bigger problems that require time. Often, a counselor in this field will work with their clients to make sure they are getting the right amount of care.

What Are the Main Differences Between a Therapist and a Psychologist?

The most significant difference between a therapist and a psychologist has to be the fact that a psychologist is a trained social scientist. Individuals who go onto study graduate-level psychology could pursue a PsyD or a Ph.D. In these programs, one can choose to focus on research, practice, or a combination of the two. While either can practice therapy, both a therapist and psychologist must still spend years under the supervision of other licensed practitioners before being granted a license to open their private practice.

An individual who has a PsyD doesn't do as much research training as a person who is in a psychology Ph.D. program. Someone who is studying in a Ph.D. program in psychology will have training in both research and practice. People with both PsyDs and PhDs are qualified to become licensed psychologists. 

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Therapists also undergo training and need to meet strict requirements to obtain their licenses. A therapist is someone who can counsel, advise and help you with feelings and decisions within a structured support network. As discussed above, therapists might include marriage or relationship counselors or those who work with social care to help people with disabilities adjust. You can also find specialists who work with certain methods like drama therapists or speech therapists under this banner.

A psychologist may also be involved with the APA, or American Psychological Association. This is one of the largest groups of psychologists in the United States. The APA has over 100,000 members and offers a find a therapist featured on their website.

Hopefully, this helps to clarify the difference between the two titles. There are so many initials and letters out there that it's often hard to know the difference between one type of therapist vs. another. When searching for the right professional for you, research is important; that way you know your therapist, psychologist, psychiatrist or counselor has the right tools to help you. Sites like BetterHelp give you a range of professionals to choose from, all from the comfort and privacy of your own home.

Who Can Prescribe Medication?

Neither psychologists nor therapists prescribe medications; however, in certain states, they can. Since psychiatrists can prescribe medication, both psychologists and therapists usually work alongside them in situations where treatment plans require both talk therapy and medication.

Except for the rare instances in which psychiatrists provide psychotherapy, visits with a psychiatrist are usually only 15-minute medication checks. During this short time, the psychologist or therapist can explain the client's symptoms succinctly, and in more clinical terms that the client can. This allows the client to get the most out of that brief visit and also feel heard and seen.


Cost is a critical factor to consider when seeking therapy. In fact, a psychologist's fee may be as high as that of an M.D. psychiatrist. Therapists may charge within a wide range of fees. Some therapists are affordable for anyone, while others may charge exorbitant fees. The therapists at BetterHelp charge fees that are about the same as typical co-pays through your insurance company, such as Blue Cross, Blue Shield.


Choosing Your Professional

You have a lot to consider as you make your selection of the type of professional you want to see. Your insurance may limit these choices, but otherwise, it's up to you to decide. The first thing you need to do is to think about the issues you want to address. Then, seek out both psychologists and therapists in your area who specialize in these issues. Make sure to consider the cost of treatment, as well as reviews from other clients, before pursuing the initial consultation.

This can take a lot of research and time if you plan to see someone in your local community. The information you need to compile to choose between all your options might be scattered across the Internet. However, if you decide to talk to a counselor on, each of these professionals has a profile that lists facts about their education, experience, interests, and specialties. Counselors on BetterHelp are licensed, trained, and accredited psychologists (Ph.D./PsyD), marriage and family therapists (MFTs), clinical social workers (LCSW/LMSW), or licensed professional counselors (LPCs). All of them have a Masters Degree or a Doctorate Degree in their field. They also all possess at least three years and 2,000 hours of hands-on experience. Read below for some reviews of BetterHelp counselors, from people experiencing different issues and life challenges.

Counselor Reviews

"Dr. Kogan amazingly knows how to respond to my concerns in a level of detail that I'm looking for without setting off any of my triggers. She has never, not once, made me more angry or upset about something than I already was initially. Many things irritate me, so this is not a feat to be taken lightly. I feel like I have more insight from a few months of working with her compared to my aggregate progress from years of working with various other therapists."

"Dr. Barriteau is extremely warm and easy to talk to as well as extremely professional. It seems to be that you get one or the other with many counselors: they're either very professional but closed off or impersonal, or they're very sympathetic and familiar but as a result seem unprofessional. I'm impressed by her ability to navigate that narrow middle ground where she can be both easy to talk to and also trustworthy and helpful. I am comfortable sharing my concerns with her and feel supported and understood. She is an excellent counselor."

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the difference between a therapist and a psychologist?

If you've been trying to find a therapist and wondering what the difference is between a psychologist and a therapist, you're not the only one. Both psychologists and therapists provide mental health treatments like cognitive behavioral therapy. While both are able to provide talk therapy, a licensed therapist has a few more years of clinical training than a psychologist.

Overall, the answer to “what is the difference between a therapist and a psychologist?” is, it depends. Psychologists go to school for a little longer and many choose to work in research instead of the clinical focus that therapists have.

A social worker is another type of professional that focuses on helping clients. They often address problems that people face in day to day life. Many work in locations such as healthcare or schools. Many licensed clinical social workers assist with things like helping clients to secure living arrangements or jobs. They often focus on making sure their clients’ basic needs are met. However, they can also do counseling for the people they’re working with.

What does a therapist do exactly?

A therapist is a mental health professional who supports and helps clients in improving their lives. Therapists are experts in mental health, and they help clients with a variety of challenges from conditions like Depression or Anxiety to grieving the loss of a loved one. A therapist can be supportive during mental health crises and through mental illness.

How much is a therapist?

Therapy can range in terms of price. If you're seeing a therapist in person, you could be paying $150.00 per session. Some therapists work on a sliding scale, which is typically income-based. You may be able to see a mental health provider for as low as 25 dollars per session, depending on how much money you make. Online therapy can range anywhere from 40-75 dollars per session. It depends on the type of treatment that you choose and what your insurance is willing to cover. Sometimes, people can access therapy through their school or community centers for a low price or even for free.

Can therapists diagnose?

You may make the choice to seek therapy because you are wondering if you have a mental illness. Some therapists can diagnose mental health conditions or mental illnesses. It depends on their qualifications. A psychiatrist, however, is typically more adept at diagnosing mental health disorders and is more likely to be the person to provide you with a diagnosis or screen you for one.

What questions do therapists ask?

The questions therapists ask depend on the particular issues that a client is coping with and what they need. If someone is dealing with depression, a therapist might ask what symptoms they're experiencing. Maybe, they'd like to know what's going on in their daily life. They might wonder if anything is exacerbating their symptoms. If a person is dealing with trauma, a therapist might want to know more about the traumatic experience so that they can help their clients work through it. The questions that a therapist asks are dependent on reasons that a person chooses to seek therapy.

Is therapy a treatment?

Therapy is a form of mental health treatment that can help people with a variety of mental health conditions. People who do not need treatment for a mental health condition, however, can still see a therapist or psychologist to cope with daily life stressors, family or relationship issues, and more. If you're working on your mental health, you will see an individual therapist.

What should I expect at my first therapy session?

Going to therapy for the first time might seem intimidating, but be assured that treatment is a safe space. In your first therapy session, you will likely tell the therapist about yourself and why you're there. They'll ask what you want to work on, and you'll get to see if the provider seems like a good fit for you.

What is the best therapy?

There's no right answer to this question. It's contingent on the type of treatment a person is seeking. Maybe, a person has Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and wants to work on their compulsive behaviors or intrusive thoughts in therapy. It could be that someone is diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, and they want to work on emotional regulation or distress tolerance. There are so many types of therapy to pursue. It depends on your diagnosis and the type of treatment or assistance that you need. Maybe you are looking for a family therapist so that you can work on issues with your family unit. If you are working on issues with your partner, you can do that in couples therapy. Relationship problems can be resolved with a trained couples therapist. Couples therapy is a great environment to work through complex issues such as intimacy problems, communication issues, and differences of opinion that come up in relationships. Couples therapy can be intense when partners disagree, and emotions run high. It's not easy to resolve relationship problems, especially if they have been going on for a long time. However, couples therapy is a safe place to discuss the issues in your relationship and speak your mind.

What are the types of therapists?

You may be at the point where you want to find a therapist. There are many different types of therapists who treat people. There are grief therapists, therapists that practice CBT or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Behavioral therapy can support individuals in changing their actions. There are also DBT therapists who can help people cope with their emotions. There are trauma therapists who support people in processing traumatic events. A licensed marriage and family therapist works with all members of the family to work together. Some people are fearful of seeing a family therapist because they're afraid that there's something wrong with their family. Perhaps they're afraid of conflict. However, family therapy can help all members of the unit. Depending on what you need for your mental health, you can find a therapist who is the right fit for you. When you look for a therapist, it's essential to have a rough idea of what kind of provider you're seeking. If you're going to see someone with a partner to work on your relationship, for example, you'll probably want to find a couple's counselor or therapist rather than someone who predominantly works on a one-on-one basis with specific conditions like eating disorders or anxiety disorders.

How do I find a therapist?

You can find a therapist in your local area by talking to your insurance company or getting a referral from your doctor. You can also try looking online at websites such as Psychology Today. If you decide to seek an online therapist, you can search for companies like BetterHelp, who have licensed mental health professionals that are available to see clients remotely.

What is required to be a therapist?

A therapist should have obtained a degree in psychology, and potentially, a Master's degree studying psychology or human behavior. The difference between a therapist and a psychologist is that psychologists typically complete more schooling. For a family therapist, there is specific coursework that they must complete to be qualified to work with families. For individual therapists, they are required to complete graduate coursework in psychology. A family therapist can work with couples or entire families, and their degree is typically an LMFT (Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. Therapists and psychologists are skilled professionals who can help people with mental illnesses, and they want to support you in your journey to heal.

What does a therapist do?

A good therapist helps mental health clients to identify and resolve key issues that have been keeping them from progressing in their lives. When you find the right therapist, you're giving yourself the advantage of having professional insight into yours and others' moods and behaviors. A therapist doesn't tell you what to do. During your therapy sessions, a therapist works to guide you through resolving tough issues using psychotherapy strategies.

Another way to answer the question “what does a therapist do?” is that it depends. There are different therapists that focus on helping clients in different areas. For example, professional counselors may focus on marriage and family relationships or certain mental health disorders. You may find it helpful to find out what type of clinical experience a therapist has to see if they are a good fit for you and your specific situation.

What are the 3 types of therapy?

There are many types of therapy available for dealing with mental health challenges. Talk therapy or psychotherapy may be the most widely recognized form of therapy. Along with talk therapy, there are additional options for medication therapy, group therapy, online therapy and more. If you're wondering what are the 3 types of therapy and trying to find a therapist that suits your needs, it’s important to remember there are many options available based on your circumstances.

The best way to find the best type of therapy for you is to explore the options with your therapist.

How much is a therapist?

Trying to find a therapist they can afford is one of the main reasons people don't get therapy. The good news is there are plenty of affordable options for finding talk therapy, family therapy or joining a therapy group online. The national average cost of therapy in the United States averages between $65.00 and $200.00 an hour.

When you find a therapist without insurance, this is the price you can expect to pay out-of-pocket. offers options for you to get talk therapy and find a therapist for less than the national average. When you find a therapist at BetterHelp you only pay $40.00 a week for 24-hour access to a board-certified therapist online.

Do I need a therapist?

There are many different reasons why you may benefit from working with a therapist. While many people think that therapist only work with mental and emotional disorders like anxiety, bipolar disorder, personality disorders, or other diagnosis, they do more than that. There are therapists that work with everything from bipolar disorder & depression to relationship troubles. A mental health counselor can help you with any mental or emotional problem that you’re facing. It doesn’t need to be a disorder that can be diagnosed.

If you feel that you’re struggling in an area of your life, or even if you just feel stuck, a mental health counselor may be able to help you identify where your issues are stemming from and what you can do to overcome them.

Should I go to a counselor or psychologist?

Trying to find the right therapist can be confusing if you're not sure what you're looking for. The best way to find a therapist to suit your needs is to outline them ahead of time (before you begin your search.) For example, if you're having trouble with depression, you'll want to find a therapist who has expertise in this area. Remember when you're trying to find a therapist -- clarity is key.

When should I see a counselor?

If you're struggling with individual issues, marital troubles, or you need to see a family therapist, you're not alone. Many people become overwhelmed with life's challenges and look for professional support and guidance. When you're feeling stuck, confused, depressed, or overwhelmed -- and you can't seem to find a solution on your own, these are all signs that you need to seek professional support.

Do I need a counselor or therapist?

While there are some things that both counselors and therapists can help with, there are differences between the two. Counselors don’t receive the same level of clinical experience in research as therapists. If you are interested in therapy, finding the right mental health professional can feel overwhelming. Remember to start by determining what area you feel like you may need help in. Then look for professionals that specialize in these areas. For example, you may end up at your primary care physician’s office if you’ve experienced a panic attack because of the physical symptoms that you experience. But you can ask the to refer you to a therapist or counselor.

What questions do therapists ask?

During sessions with your therapist, they will ask probing questions about your life and your experiences to learn more about you. Based on conversations about your early childhood, present life, and similar questions, your therapist is able to create a personality assessment or therapy treatment plan to help keep your life on track.

Is therapy a treatment?

Yes. Psychotherapy is a form of mental health treatment that helps people to eliminate behaviors that aren't giving them the results they want in their lives. Therapists apply mental and behavioral methodologies that help people improve the overall quality of their lives by applying new behaviors.

What happens during a therapy session?

During a typical therapy session, you and a licensed therapy provider will spend thirty to sixty minutes in a therapeutic conversation. Your therapist will ask you questions about your life, experiences, goals, likes and dislikes to learn more about you.

What should I expect from a therapist?

Helping clients is the goal of a therapist. Your therapist will work with you in person or through online therapy in whatever way is best to address the types of mental health challenges that you may be facing. This could include things like addressing day to day stress management, emotional problems, sleep disorders, depression, eating disorders or binge eating, or whatever challenges you’re facing.

Not all mental health counselors use the same types of therapy for helping clients. For example, Carl Rogers developed a method called Person-Centered therapy which shifted the focus of the session from the expertise of the therapist to the individual in the session. Your therapist will talk with you to learn more about you and will then determine the best way to move forward toward your desired direction. Some therapists, such as those doing online counseling, will allow you to contact them with unlimited messaging between sessions.

You can expect professional counselors to keep your information confidential. You can also expect them to listen to you without judging what you’re saying. It’s also not their job to lead you into a certain direction. Their goal is to support you in the way that’s best for you.

How long does a therapy session last?

The length of a therapy session will depend on the type of treatment that you’re receiving and professional that you’re working with. Many sessions are 45 minutes to an hour long, but there are other options as well. For example, couples therapy may be closer to 90-minutes and online therapy may provide you with the ability to communicate with your therapist in short timespans that occur on a more frequent basis.

The number of sessions that you will need to have will also depend on your specific situation. Helping clients with something like a panic attack or panic disorder may require a different number of session than helping clients that are struggling with self-esteem issues from social media use. Or, if you’re struggling with something like generalized anxiety disorder it may require a different session length or number of sessions than someone struggling with fear of heights.

If you have questions about the length of session or number of sessions, ask the therapist before you begin sessions. And if you’re looking for shorter sessions or to communicate with your therapist through messaging instead of in person, you may want to consider online therapy.

Does therapy help anxiety?

Psychotherapy has been proven to be effective at treating anxiety and a variety of other mental health conditions. Popular therapy modalities like cognitive-behavioral therapy are helping millions of mental health patients worldwide to find clarity and peace in their lives.

How do I pick a therapist?

Take the time to write down the things that have been bothering you so you can begin to put them into perspective. Once you have an idea of what you need, start looking for a therapist that can help. A good therapist will listen to what you have to say and communicate effective strategies for making positive changes in your life.

You may also want to check their credentials. For example, do they have a master’s degree or doctoral degree? What types of clients do they work with? And, you may find it helpful to see if they’re on social media so you can get a feel for their personality or the type of practice that they run.

You can also ask your primary care physician for a referral or check with your insurance company to see if they provide any coverage with certain individuals.

How do I start therapy?

Getting started with therapy online is as easy as contacting a leading therapy provider like BetterHelp. Online therapy is a convenient and affordable option that gives you the same benefits as in-office therapy. To get started with affordable therapy online, contact a therapist at today.

Why does therapy cost so much?

Until recently, therapy was seen as a luxury or something that financially out of reach for most people. With the advent of mental health awareness campaigns, the cost of therapy is steadily decreasing. This makes it possible for everyone to take better care of their mental health. Alternative options to expensive in-office therapy include therapy covered by health insurance, low-cost online therapy options like, and free counseling options available from local community services organizations.

Is therapy worth the cost?

The benefits of getting quality therapy definitely outweigh the costs. Learning new strategies and behaviors for achieving your goals is a heavy weight that many people are happy to leave behind in therapy. People who take part in regular therapy report a higher quality of life and relationship satisfaction.

How long should I stay in therapy?

The length of time each person spends in therapy is based on individual needs. For example, someone suffering from severe mental disorders like post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder, or borderline personality disorder will require more intensive monitoring and one-on-one therapy sessions than someone suffering from a mild case of depression. At BetterHelp, you and your therapist work together to come up with your individualized therapy treatment plan.

Why should I go to a therapist?

Working with a therapist can help you address mental health challenges or areas of your life where you may be struggling. Therapists want to help their clients improve in the areas where they are stuck so they can live the life they want. If you’re interested in trying therapy, finding the right mental health professional to work with is your first step. Don’t be afraid to talk to more than one to find the right match for you.


Whether you choose online or local counseling, the most important thing you need to do is get the care you deserve. Do it while you're motivated. Make a decision and get ready to change your life for the better; try taking the first step today.

If you need a crisis hotline phone number, please see below:

RAINN (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network) - 1-800-656-4673

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline - 1-800-273-8255

National Domestic Violence Hotline - 1-800-799-7233

NAMI Helpline (National Alliance on Mental Illness) - 1-800-950-6264


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