If you've been wondering how to find a therapist, this is a sign that you are ready to seek professional help for resolving new or existing mental health issues like depression, anxiety, and other forms of mental health care. When you decide to seek out a therapist or counselor for support or marriage counseling, you've taken the first critical steps toward improving your mental health - even if it's just by making a phone call. And that deserves recognition.
How Do I Find Therapists Near Me?
By: Stephanie Kirby
Updated November 01, 2021
Medically Reviewed By: Rashonda Douthit , LCSW
This website is owned and operated by BetterHelp, who receives all fees associated with the platform.
How To Find A Therapist Near You
The first step to begin finding a therapist near you is, to be honest with yourself about what your mental health-related challenges are. Are you seeking individual therapy, couples, family therapy, or services like marriage counseling and anger management therapy? Perhaps you're looking for coping skills for managing anxiety from a therapist or counselor, or maybe you want some expert advice on how to communicate better in your relationship. If you don't know what you're specifically looking for, but you just have a feeling something's off - that's okay too.
Today's therapists and clinical social workers combing years of experience working in their fields with many types of therapy. No matter what you're experiencing, writing it down before you start looking for a therapist, counselor, or licensed clinical social worker to talk to will help ensure you get the most out of your sessions.
Before you start searching for a therapist near you, first it's important to determine which kind of therapy is right for you. If the issues that you're having revolve around you and your family, you probably want to look for someone who specializes in family therapy like a marriage family therapist or licensed clinical social worker. If you're having relationship issues, you'll want to see a therapist or counselor who provides therapy for both individuals and couples like a marriage family therapist.
The last thing to consider when you're looking to establish this new therapeutic relationship is if you want to work with a therapist in an in-person environment or if you'd prefer to work with a therapist online.
Online Vs. Traditional Therapy
When you're considering establishing a new relationship with a licensed clinical therapist, location is often a critical factor. Mental health services are now available online which makes it easier for people with mental health issues like substance abuse, anger management, anxiety, depression, and other mental health concerns to get help online.
Both online and offline mental health professionals have the same goal in mind - to help people struggling with relationship issues, personal issues, and family conflict to learn new coping skills. You can get help for depression, anxiety, trauma, managing stress, parenting problems, relationship issues, and other topics in both online and offline individual or group therapy.
You might like the idea of sitting in a therapist's office and meeting with them face-to-face. Many people prefer to speak to someone in person when they're talking about vulnerable topics. One benefit of meeting with a traditional therapist is you can read each other's body language. For people who have anxiety, seeing a therapist or counselor in private practice can help them practice interpersonal skills. Many of us are in front of screens all day long and miss out on interacting with other human beings face-to-face. There's something unique about being vulnerable in front of a physical human being.
That being said, for some people opening up and being transparent in front of their traditional therapist may not be easy while they could more easily be candid with an online therapist. Online therapy also allows different modes of communication such as phone calls and messaging, which can be a great benefit for those who either don't have the time for a traditional in-person session or who struggle with in-person interactions.
Licensed therapists on the BetterHelp.com platform have years of experience and over two thousand hours of hands-on clinical practice in their relevant field of specialty. Besides considering what you'll address during the healing process of therapy, you should think about whether to see a therapist or counselor in your local area or online. The decision depends on your personality, how busy you are, your comfort level, and how much access you have to mental health services in your area.
Questions To Ask Yourself
- Are there therapists in your area who specialize in what you're looking for? For example, tools to help people struggling with anxiety, PTSD, major depression, childhood trauma, or sexual abuse. Many people gravitate toward online therapy because it offers a network of licensed therapists and counselors who are experts in their fields, in cases where the same level of expertise isn't available nearby.
- How far would you have to travel to see your therapist? If you're struggling with anxiety, -- would you need to take time off of work to get to an appointment? Another reason some people choose online therapy is because of convenience. You may speak with a licensed therapist from the comfort and privacy of your own home (or wherever you have an internet connection).
- Are you social or shy? Some people prefer a traditional therapy practice because they want to speak with someone face-to-face. Others, however, may not want to make themselves vulnerable with someone in-person, so they choose online therapy. Online therapy providers can help with anxiety, depression, and relationship issues for children, adolescents, and adults. Therapists online practice the same popular therapy modalities like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) as offline counselors and therapists.
- Are you looking for a therapy provider who accepts insurance? Blue Cross is one of the major health insurance providers that offer access to both offline and online mental health services to its plan members. If you're unsure if your provider offers a similar benefit to the Blue Cross Blue Shield mental health benefits, you can contact your provider or Blue Cross directly to learn more.
Cost Of Therapy
The cost of counseling through BetterHelp ranges from $40 to $70 per week (billed monthly). You can cancel your membership at any time for any reason. Typically, traditional therapy costs $150 to $250 for a single session. However, some face-to-face therapists offer sliding scale therapy. This means that they will charge you what you can afford, based on your salary. Depending on where you live, it may be difficult to find a therapist or counselor who offers sliding scale therapy or one that accepts your health insurance plan. You should make sure to call the therapist's office to verify their prices and ask if they offer sliding scale therapy.
Brainstorming answers to all of these questions in advance will help you determine whether you should pursue in-person therapy or online therapy when it's time for you to find therapists. It's important to remember as you're reading this article, although it can get easy to be overwhelmed with many questions regarding the different types of therapists, these are all helpful questions to consider one at a time. These questions are all designed to get the most effective support for you.
- Clinical Psychologist (Psy. D, Ph.D.) - deal with more severe mental health issues like severe anxiety, depression, bipolar disorders, and eating disorders.
- Licensed Clinical Social Worker - A licensed social worker can provide therapeutic counseling services and resource and referral services for children, adolescents, and adults.
- Marriage, Family Therapist (LMFT) - Can support individuals and couples with mental health issues and relationship issues as a family therapist, or marriage counselor.
- Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC/LPCC) - Provide therapeutic counseling services for individuals and couples struggling with relationship issues and life challenges.
Types Of Therapy
There's no "right" form of therapy. There are several forms of therapy to choose from, and it's a matter of knowing what your individual needs are, and what you want to change in your mental health. You might want to work with a therapist who practices CBT (Cognitive Behavior Therapy). You can learn coping skills for anxiety and depression. You may be searching for a couple's counselor or couple's therapist, someone who is trained in dealing with couples as a therapist. You might be searching for a therapist who deals with those who have PTSD. That might be someone who practices trauma-informed therapy or EMDR. It depends on your individual needs as opposed to what kind of therapy is "right," because there is no right therapy. Maybe you're seeking a child psychologist or a family therapist. Whatever your needs are, you can find them, it's just a matter of searching in the right places.
Finding The Right Fit
You'll start to notice different credentials when you're looking for a therapist, whether it's a psychologist, who has a Ph.D. or PsyD, a counselor, a licensed marriage and family counselor, or other kinds of mental health professionals. It depends on what your individual needs are. Psychologists can diagnose mental health disorders or mental illnesses. Psychiatrists are a type of therapists that can both diagnose and treat mental illnesses with medications. It depends on what you're looking to get from a mental health professional as to whether you'd choose a psychiatrist or a psychologist or both.
A psychologist specializes in diagnosing and treating mental illnesses. They cannot prescribe medication, but they practice therapy and have a wide range of abilities, and different approaches they use to treat clients. They have thousands of hours of experience before they receive their doctorate and can treat patients or clients.
Licensed Professional Counselors
Licensed Professional Counselors have over 3,000 hours of experience, and they're certified to diagnose mental illnesses. Though they don't have a doctorate, they are experts in their fields. They can provide excellent treatment for people who are struggling with mental health challenges.
A clinical social worker is similar to an LPC. They have diverse backgrounds, and they typically work in social service settings and managed care settings. Social workers help people function in particular environments, such as residential treatment facilities. A person who has an MSW (Masters in Social Work) can also have a private practice and treat clients.
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
A Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) specializes in helping couples and can also provide family therapy. Whether they're providing couple's therapy to help preserve marriages or strengthen loving partnerships, an LMFT can be a great support to couples and families.
Child Or Adolescent Therapist
It can be challenging to find an excellent pediatric therapist. It can also be challenging to find someone competent who works with teens. However, there are great mental health providers out there who specialize in working with children and adolescents. You might want to start by asking your child's pediatrician for a referral to a therapist or counselor. After that, check with other parents who may have a lead to a good counselor. Then, you can search your insurance network to find one. Out-of-network therapists may also be an option, depending on your budget.
Before you decide on your therapist, it's important to make sure they have credentials that provide them the ability to practice therapy. Make sure that they're licensed and that the certification comes from the APA (American Psychological Association). Whether you're working with an online therapist or someone in your local area, they must be licensed. Check out their credentials and reviews online. And make sure that they have good reviews.
Be Specific In Your Search
Once you've narrowed down your list of therapist results, you want to make sure that they have the training to help you. If you want someone who specializes in anxiety, make sure they have that training. If you want a therapist or counselor who works with families, make sure they're Licensed Marriage and Family therapists (LMFT). Let's say you have Borderline Personality Disorder: you want to find a therapist who specializes in DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy). It's important to make sure you're getting the right therapist for the correct conditions.
Assess Your Potential Therapist
Before you grab a name from a list at random and set up your first appointment, look at each of the therapists on your list to sort out which might be the best fit. Some things to consider are their education, training, licensing, and years of practice. To find the therapist that suits your needs, issues, strengths, and personality the best, it is helpful to have information on the fields they specialize in and their treatment philosophy.
Practical matters are important, too. You need to find out about their office hours, how long sessions are, what fees they charge, and if they work with your insurance company. If the therapist has an online presence, you can often find this information on their website. You can also call their office and ask. But, remember that you aren't in therapy yet. You're on a fact-gathering mission, so limit your questions to facts you need to know before you begin sessions with your therapist.
Schedule An Initial Session
When it comes to finding a therapist, you have to start with a first meeting. It's important to schedule the first session with a therapist before you decide if you're going to see them for a long time. But before you even do that, talk to them on the phone. Make sure you feel comfortable with them, and they have slots available regularly. Ask them if they accept your health insurance. It's important to know this upfront. Get comfortable with their tone and who they are. You'll be talking with this person for the weeks to come, and you want to feel like you can open up to them.
What To Expect In The First Therapy Session
When you see a therapist for the first time, you'll get to talk about your problems, but you'll also get to know who they are and determine what you'll be able to get from therapy. During the first session, you're getting to know the new therapist, and deciding whether you like them and feel like you can continue opening up to them. The first session is sort of like a first date, except the therapist will be taking notes. You don't know the person, and you're figuring out if you want to keep seeing them. Meeting with a therapist isn't romantic, but you will develop a long-term partnership with them. They're going to be helping you with your mental health. That's why the first session is essential. You're deciding as to whether or not you're continuing with seeing them. In many ways, you're taking a risk. Therapy is an investment. You don't know what you're going to get out of it until longer down the line. They may provide you with homework after the first session if you choose to continue seeing them. That's a good sign.
Questions To Ask A New Therapist
Ask a potential therapist you're meeting for the first time about their training, license, and make sure that they have appropriate experience in the mental health field. You can ask what type of therapy they practice. You want to make sure they have relevant expertise in the area you want to get treatment in because otherwise, it's a waste of both of your time. If you need treatment for PTSD and you're seeing a therapist who doesn't treat survivors of trauma, that's not a good fit. You need to see a trauma-informed therapist or someone who is certified in EMDR.
Another thing to ask is how long you're expected to be in therapy, whether that's short-term or long-term. That's an important question to ask. You need to manage your expectations as to how long the process will last.
The benefit of online therapy is that there are many ways to communicate with your therapist. You can message them through text, talk to them on the phone, or video chat with your counselor. You get to decide which kind of communication works best for you. Whereas with a traditional therapist, you are limited in how you speak with one another. Many therapists who work in private practice don't offer phone or Skype sessions. Online therapy allows people who are too busy or people who struggle with certain issues like social anxiety, the ability to see a therapist in the comfort of their home or wherever is convenient for them.
People who live in remote areas and don't have access to many providers can also benefit from online therapy. BetterHelp's network of licensed therapists offers experts on hundreds of topics. Online treatment is growing in popularity, and since there are so many different providers to choose from, you'll likely find someone who meets your needs. Whether you're working with an individual therapist, a couple's counselor, or a family therapist you can get the right treatment for yourself. Read below for some reviews of BetterHelp therapists, from people experiencing a variety of life's challenges.
BetterHelp Therapist Reviews
"Stephanie has been beyond amazing to work with. She is so supportive of you, it's incredible. She is always patient and offers amazing help, advice, and perspectives. Before Stephanie, I had never done this type of service but ever since the beginning, everything felt so comfortable and friendly. Words don't do this justice, and I am beyond thankful to be paired with Stephanie."
"Over the past several weeks Dr. Conrad has helped me dive into my conflicts and concerns in a way that I have always expected from therapists but never before received. There is a level of personality and respect that Dr. Conrad has given me that allows me to feel comfortable and trusting during our therapy sessions. She isn't only listening to my concerns, but it looks as though she is one step ahead, thinking of what we need to focus on and what will help motivate the outcome to gain the most positive personal result possible. I'm personally looking forward to continuing therapy with Dr. Conrad and growing in my explorations of self-discovery."
Now that you know how to find a therapist, get connected with one right away. The best thing you can do is move forward while you're motivated to seek help. A truly fulfilling life is possible-all you need are the right tools. Take the first step today.
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