How To Find A Good Therapist

Updated November 25, 2022 by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Finding a therapist can be beneficial for your mental health, but finding a good therapist is an important part of the journey. You may be wondering what are the signs of a good therapist, and the answer can be determined by several factors. It’s important to verify your therapist’s qualifications, research their specialties, and determine if their area of expertise aligns with your needs. You may also prefer working with a therapist with similar morals, values, and experiences such as an LGBTQ+ therapist or a therapist of color. 

Finding A Good Therapist Is Possible

First Step: Verify Their License

The first thing to determine when you're trying to find a therapist is if they have a license. A good therapist has a valid license that can be easily verified. You can search for public records to do that. Depending on the state that the therapist is registered to practice in, you can look to see if their license is valid with their particular board. Search based on their credentials (i.e., LMFT, LPC, LCSW, etc.).

Remember that therapists must hold state licenses, as opposed to other professions such as "life coaches" who aren't therapists. Life coaches can be beneficial to people who are going through transitions. However, they probably don't have a license to practice therapy.

When you meet with a potential therapist, you will probably see their license and degrees displayed in a prominent place in their office. If you're meeting with an online therapist at BetterHelp, it's much easier to know if they're licensed. BetterHelp checks the certifications and licenses of all therapists listed.

What Is The Difference Between A Degree And A License?

A critical difference between a degree and a license is that schools give degrees, but professional governing bodies control licenses within their state. The most important distinction, however, is that degrees don't expire but licenses can. Psychology is changing all the time. A person who received their degree 40 years ago could seem outdated, but if they've been keeping their license up to date, they may be qualified to treat patients.

Many therapists have doctorates, some have master’s degrees, and others have mental health licenses such as an LPC (licensed professional counselor). These are all valid levels of education for a therapist to have, but in addition to their training, they need to hold a valid, up-to-date license.

Do Your Research

You can look for universities and licensing agencies in your search engine, but you can also do the same with the name of a prospective therapist. It can be a great way to find out information like whether they have written for or contributed to publications or belong to any other therapeutic organizations. Many therapists list their work histories on a personal website or professional sites like LinkedIn.

Consider Getting A Referral From Your Doctor

Many people who see therapists are referred by their primary care provider. Your primary care provider can be a great place to start if you're looking for a therapist. They may know someone they can refer you to and who other patients have had success with. 

Consider Online Therapy

Many people live in remote locations where there may not be local therapists or psychologists. New technologies are making it easier for people to talk to their therapists via internet-based counseling. 

There are many perks to online therapy. It’s an affordable option in comparison to in-person appointments because clients are not required to travel for an appointment. 

According to the World Psychiatry Association, there is “considerable support” for internet-based therapy when dealing with common mental health disorders. 


When you meet with an online therapist, it may be helpful to keep your regular primary care provider up to date on who you're seeing and what you're doing to manage your mental health.

Give Therapy A Chance

An important aspect of therapy is sticking with it. It can be painful to relive trauma, talk about emotions, and converse with a stranger about personal experiences. However, it can be essential for your mental health to receive support and guidance from a qualified professional. Sometimes, the road may be rough before it can be smooth but having the support of a patient, non-judgmental therapist, can be the avenue that strengthens your mental health.

Many people may come up with excuses to avoid therapy or to quit therapy once they have started. But these can be viewed as defense mechanisms that people use to avoid implementing changes in their lives or possibly avoid acknowledging that they may need help.

The Benefits Of BetterHelp

Finding A Good Therapist Is Possible

Here are some reviews by recent BetterHelp users about their counselors:

“Christie has been nothing short of amazing. I am new to therapy and she has made me incredibly comfortable. Easy to talk to, always available, and gives the right balance of letting you speak while providing probing questions and providing advice. Could not be happier with the experience.” Read more on Christie Fiori.

“I met with Debra to find a way to resolve a family conflict. I was new to counseling and was hesitant to reach out for help. Debra was a compassionate listener who immediately made me feel comfortable. She helped me gain insight and self-knowledge to incorporate new tools and behaviors that I could use to set boundaries and establish healthy communication with my family. I have found new confidence in setting boundaries in other areas of my life as well.” Read more on Deborah Keklak.

Takeaway

Finding a good therapist can seem daunting, but it doesn't have to be. With online therapy, you can search for a therapist that aligns with your needs and expectations.

For Additional Help & Support With Your Concerns

Speak with a Licensed Therapist
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.